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I've made a 4-line bug fix to a minor issue in a library on github. The project is actively maintained with changes every few days.

What is the ideal way to submit a fix that small? Is it to fork, fix and submit a pull request; file an issue and a pull request; or just file the issue with my fix copy-pasted? (Or something else?)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

See if the project has guidelines about this.

Traditionally, you'd file a bug report, with a diff for your intended fix; the maintainer would then look at the diff and decide whether it's worth including.

Recently, the rise of distributed SCMs such as git, has spawned a different attitude where you're encouraged to just fork the project and post a link (or pull request); since forking and pulling are now cheap, the effort for the maintainer is often smaller in this scenario.

Of course, you can always do both: fork the project, apply your changes, dump a diff, and send a bug report containing both the diff and a URI to pull from.

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I went ahead and made a pull request. That was apparently okay to the library maintainer even for a tiny patch, though I needed to make some modifications. (Fantastic, I messed up a 4-line patch.) Also, a pull request automatically adds an issue associated with the pull request, so another issue would be redundant. This seems to be the best solution for smaller projects; larger projects might have different policies.

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