util/vendor.py: Vendor-in Components

Not all code contained in this repository is actually developed within this repository. Code which we include from external sources is placed in vendor sub-directories (e.g. hw/vendor) and copied over from upstream sources. The process of copying the upstream sources is called vendoring, and it is automated by the util/vendor tool.

The util/vendor tool can go beyond simply copying in source files: it can patch them, it can export patches from commits in a Git repository, and it can commit the resulting changes with a meaningful commit message.

Tool usage overview

usage: vendor [-h] [--refresh-patches] [--commit] [--verbose] file

vendor, copy source code from upstream into this repository

positional arguments:
  file               vendoring description file (*.vendor.hjson)

optional arguments:
  -h, --help         show this help message and exit
  --update, -U       Update locked version of repository with upstream changes
  --refresh-patches  Refresh the patches from the patch repository
  --commit, -c       Commit the changes
  --verbose, -v      Verbose

The vendor description file

For each vendored-in component a description file must be created, which serves as input to the util/vendor tool. The vendor description file is stored in vendor/<vendor>_<name>.vendor.hjson. By convention all imported code is named <vendor>_<name>, with <vendor> typically being the GitHub user or organization name, and <name> the project name. It is recommended to use only lower-case characters.

A full commented example of a vendor description file is given below. All relative paths are relative to the description file. Optional parts can be removed if they are not used.

// Copyright lowRISC contributors.
// Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0, see LICENSE for details.
// SPDX-License-Identifier: Apache-2.0
  // Name of the vendored-in project
  name: "pulp_riscv_dbg",

  // Target directory: typically equal to the name
  // All imported code is copied into this directory
  target_dir: "pulp_riscv_dbg",

  // Git upstream source code repository
  upstream: {
    // Upstream Git repository URL. HTTPS URLs are preferred.
    url: "https://github.com/pulp-platform/riscv-dbg",
    // Upstream revision or branch. Can be a commit hash or a branch name.
    rev: "pulpissimo_integration",

  // Optional: Pick specific files or subdirectories from upstream and
  // specify where to put them.
  mapping: [
    {from: 'src', to: 'the-source'},
    {from: 'doc', to: 'some/documentation', patch_dir: 'doc_patches'}

  // Optional: Apply patches from the following directory to the upstream
  // sources
  patch_dir: "patches/pulp_riscv_dbg",

  // Optional: Update patches in |patch_dir| from a Git repository
  // If util/vendor is run with --refresh-patches, all commits in the repository
  // at |url| between |rev_base| and |rev_patched| are exported into the
  // |patch_dir|, replacing all existing patches.
  patch_repo: {
    url: "git@github.com:lowRISC/riscv-dbg.git",
    rev_base: "pulpissimo_integration",
    rev_patched: "ot",

  // Optional: Exclude files or directories from the upstream sources
  // The standard glob wildcards (*, ?, etc.) are supported.
  exclude_from_upstream: [

If only the contents of a single subdirectory (including its children) of an upstream repository are to be copied in, the optional only_subdir key of can be used in the upstream section to specify the subdirectory to be copied. The contents of that subdirectory will populate the target_dir directly (without any intervening directory levels).

For a more complicated set of copying rules (“get directories A/B and A/C but not anything else in A”), use a mapping list. Each element of the list should be a dictionary with keys from and to. The value of from should be a path relative to the source directory (either the top of the cloned directory, or the only_subdir subdirectory, if set). The value of to should be a path relative to target_dir.

If patch_dir is supplied, it names a directory containing patches to be applied to the vendored code. If there is no mapping list, this directory's patches are applied in lexicographical order relative to target_dir. If there is a mapping list, each element of the list may contain a patch_dir key. The value at that key is a directory, relative to the global patch_dir and patches in that directory are applied in lexicographical order relative to the target directory of the mapping, to.

In the example vendor description file below, the mpsse directory is populated from the chromiumos platform2 repository, extracting just the few files in the trunks/ftdi subdirectory.

// Copyright lowRISC contributors.
// Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0, see LICENSE for details.
// SPDX-License-Identifier: Apache-2.0
  name: "mpsse",
  target_dir: "mpsse",

  upstream: {
    url: "https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromiumos/platform2/",
    rev: "master",
    only_subdir: "trunks/ftdi",

Updating and The Vendor Lock File

In order to document which version of a repositoy has been cloned and committed to the repository with the vendor tool, a vendor lock file is stored in vendor/<vendor>_<name>.lock.hjson. This contains only the upstream information, including the URL and the exact git revision that was cloned.

Beyond just documentation, this enables users to re-clone the previously-cloned upstream repository – including re-applying patches, choosing subdirectories, and excluding additional files – without having to integrate any upstream changes. Indeed the default behaviour of the vendor tool is to use the upstream information from <vendor>_<name>.lock.hjson if this file exists.

Once the lock file exists, the vendor tool will only use the upstream information in <vendor>_<name>.vendor.json if the --update command-line option is used.


Re-clone code and apply new file exclusions or patches

$ cd $REPO_TOP
$ ./util/vendor.py hw/vendor/google_riscv-dv.vendor.hjson -v

Update code and commit the new code

This will generate a commit message based off the git shortlog between the previously cloned revision and the newly cloned revision of the repository.

$ cd $REPO_TOP
$ ./util/vendor.py hw/vendor/google_riscv-dv.vendor.hjson -v --update --commit