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Thank you for your interest in contributing to Homebrew Science. The following guidelines are designed to help you write more efficient pull requests.

Formula Guidelines

IMPORTANT First read Homebrew's Formula Cookbook and Acceptable Formulae. If your formula installs or depends on Python modules read Python for Formula Authors as well.

Homebrew follows the GitHub Ruby Styleguide. Check brew style or brew audit --strict before submitting a new formula.


Homebrew provides DSL for applying diff patches appended to the end of formula file, or as remote files (e.g. a Gist). In most cases, patches should be submitted upstream and linked to in your comments.


All formulæ should be accompanied by tests. We greatly appreciate any submissions that improve individual tests and test coverage in Homebrew Science.

The test do block allows for a post-build test of software functionality sandboxed within a temporary testpath. For example, a test program may be written and compiled, and its output checked against an expected value. Meaningful tests are preferred over simple commands like system "foo", "-v".

make check or equivalent should be enabled if the package provides it:

option "without-test", "Skip build-time tests (not recommended)""
system "make"
system "make", "check" if build.with? "test"
system "make", "install"

If this target takes an inordinate amount of resources or is otherwise problematic the option can be switched to "with-test", disabling make check in the default build.


Adding or incrementing a formula revision forces a formula upgrade, for instance when breakage from an upgraded dependency necessitates rebuilding the downstream package. When upgrading a formula to a new version, however, any existing revision needs to be reset (i.e. removed).


Bottles are Homebrew's pre-compiled binary packages. Please avoid making any changes to the bottle block. Bottle checksums, URLs, and revisions are handled automatically by Brew Test Bot.

Submitting a Pull Request

First read core Homebrew's How To Open a Homebrew Pull Request (and get it merged). The Homebrew Science tap repository is located in $(brew --repository)/Library/Taps/homebrew/homebrew-science.

Check open pull requests before submitting a duplicate. We prefer one formula per PR.

Preface your commit message with the formula name, followed by a brief summary:

  • foo: add test
  • bar: make X11 optional Version upgrades should just be titled with their version:
  • baz 2.4.1
  • qux 0.1.2 (new formula)

Use the rest of the commit message to describe your changes and link to any relevant issues. When your submission is ready to merge, squash all your commits to a single commit and push to your remote branch, with --force if necessary.

Pull Request vs. Tap

Anyone can host their own tap (see Interesting Taps & Forks). Homebrew Science may give your formula wider visibility, but a tap is preferable when:

  • Your formula must be brewable urgently.
  • It is part of a group of specialized and/or related formulæ.
  • It is HEAD-only or lacks a stable tagged release.

Feel free to start your own tap and submit to Homebrew Science later.

Useful Snippets and Notes

Linking Dependencies

Avoid refering to HOMEBREW_PREFIX in a formula. If you need to refer to dependency libraries or header files, use stable opt paths: Formula["foo"].opt_prefix, Formula["foo"].opt_lib, Formula["foo"].opt_include, etc.


The current version of clang, Homebrew's default C/C++ compiler, does not support OpenMP, but GCC does.

If OpenMP support is obligatory, needs :openmp may be used to avoid building with clang/LLVM altogether. If it is optional, one may use

options "with-openmp", "Build with OpenMP support"
needs :openmp if build.with? "openmp"


Depending on :mpi is more flexible than depending directly on mpich2 or open-mpi. Remember that users could have installed either and the two conflict_with each other.

Checking What Options Were Used to Build a Dependency

nprocs = Tab.for_formula("foo").without?("mpi") ? 1 : Hardware::CPU.cores


Improvements to this guide are appreciated via issues or pull requests. If you're willing to add a new section to this documentation or the wiki, we would very much welcome your contribution.