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Contributing Guide

Welcome! We are glad that you want to contribute to our project! đź’–

As you get started, you are in the best position to give us feedback on areas of our project that we need help with including:

  • Problems found during setting up a new developer environment
  • Gaps in our Quickstart Guide or documentation
  • Bugs in our automation scripts

If anything doesn't make sense, or doesn't work when you run it, please open a bug report and let us know!

Ways to Contribute

We welcome many different types of contributions including:

  • New features
  • Builds, CI/CD
  • Bug fixes
  • Documentation
  • Issue Triage
  • Answering questions on Slack/Mailing List
  • Web design
  • Communications / Social Media / Blog Posts
  • Release management

Not everything happens through a GitHub pull request. Please come to our meetings or contact us and let's discuss how we can work together.

Come to Meetings

Absolutely everyone is welcome to come to any of our meetings. You never need an invite to join us. In fact, we want you to join us, even if you don’t have anything you feel like you want to contribute. Just being there is enough!

You can find out more about our meetings here. You don’t have to turn on your video. The first time you come, introducing yourself is more than enough. Over time, we hope that you feel comfortable voicing your opinions, giving feedback on others’ ideas, and even sharing your own ideas, and experiences.

Find an Issue

We have good first issues for new contributors and help wanted issues suitable for any contributor. good first issue has extra information to help you make your first contribution. help wanted are issues suitable for someone who isn't a core maintainer and is good to move onto after your first pull request.

Sometimes there won’t be any issues with these labels. That’s ok! There is likely still something for you to work on. If you want to contribute but you don’t know where to start or can't find a suitable issue, you can reach out to us on Slack and we will be happy to help.

Once you see an issue that you'd like to work on, please post a comment saying that you want to work on it. Something like "I want to work on this" is fine.

Ask for Help

The best way to reach us with a question when contributing is to ask on:

  • The original github issue
  • Our Slack channel

Pull Request Lifecycle

Pull requests are managed by Mergify.

Our process is currently as follows:

  1. When you open a PR a maintainer will automatically be assigned for review
  2. Make sure that your PR is passing CI - if you need help with failing checks please feel free to ask!
  3. Once it is passing all CI checks, a maintainer will review your PR and you may be asked to make changes.
  4. When you have received at least one approval from a maintainer, your PR will be merged automatically.

In some cases, other changes may conflict with your PR. If this happens, you will get notified by a comment in the issue that your PR requires a rebase, and the needs-rebase label will be applied. Once a rebase has been performed, this label will be automatically removed.

Development Environment Setup

See Setup and Building bpfman

Signoff Your Commits


Licensing is important to open source projects. It provides some assurances that the software will continue to be available based under the terms that the author(s) desired. We require that contributors sign off on commits submitted to our project's repositories. The Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) is a way to certify that you wrote and have the right to contribute the code you are submitting to the project.

You sign-off by adding the following to your commit messages. Your sign-off must match the git user and email associated with the commit.

This is my commit message

Signed-off-by: Your Name <>

Git has a -s command line option to do this automatically:

git commit -s -m 'This is my commit message'

If you forgot to do this and have not yet pushed your changes to the remote repository, you can amend your commit with the sign-off by running

git commit --amend -s

Logical Grouping of Commits

It is a recommended best practice to keep your changes as logically grouped as possible within individual commits. If while you're developing you prefer doing a number of commits that are "checkpoints" and don't represent a single logical change, please squash those together before asking for a review. When addressing review comments, please perform an interactive rebase and edit commits directly rather than adding new commits with messages like "Fix review comments".

Commit message guidelines

A good commit message should describe what changed and why.

  1. The first line should:

  2. contain a short description of the change (preferably 50 characters or less, and no more than 72 characters)

  3. be entirely in lowercase with the exception of proper nouns, acronyms, and the words that refer to code, like function/variable names
  4. be prefixed with the name of the sub crate being changed


  • bpfman: validate program section names
  • bpf: add dispatcher program test slot

  • Keep the second line blank.

  • Wrap all other lines at 72 columns (except for long URLs).
  • If your patch fixes an open issue, you can add a reference to it at the end of the log. Use the Fixes: # prefix and the issue number. For other references use Refs: #. Refs may include multiple issues, separated by a comma.


  • Fixes: #1337
  • Refs: #1234

Sample complete commit message:

subcrate: explain the commit in one line

Body of commit message is a few lines of text, explaining things
in more detail, possibly giving some background about the issue
being fixed, etc.

The body of the commit message can be several paragraphs, and
please do proper word-wrap and keep columns shorter than about
72 characters or so. That way, `git log` will show things
nicely even when it is indented.

Fixes: #1337
Refs: #453, #154

Pull Request Checklist

When you submit your pull request, or you push new commits to it, our automated systems will run some checks on your new code. We require that your pull request passes these checks, but we also have more criteria than just that before we can accept and merge it. We recommend that you check the following things locally before you submit your code:

  • Verify that Rust code has been formatted and that all clippy lints have been fixed:
  • Verify that Go code has been formatted and linted
  • Verify that Yaml files have been formatted (see Install Yaml Formatter)
  • Verify that Bash scripts have been linted using shellcheck

    cd bpfman/
    cargo xtask lint
  • Verify that unit tests are passing locally (see Unit Testing):

    cd bpfman/
    cargo xtask unit-test
  • Verify any changes to the bpfman API have been "blessed". After running the below command, any changes to any of the files in bpfman/xtask/public-api/*.txt indicate changes to the bpfman API. Verify that these changes were intentional. CI uses the latest nightly Rust toolchain, so make sure the public-apis are verified against latest.

    cd bpfman/
    rustup update nightly
    cargo +nightly xtask public-api --bless
  • Verify that integration tests are passing locally (see Basic Integration Tests):

    cd bpfman/
    cargo xtask integration-test
  • If developing the bpfman-operator, verify that bpfman-operator unit and integration tests are passing locally:

    See Kubernetes Operator Tests.