Find file
113 lines (67 sloc) 7.47 KB

Contributing to Chef Projects

We're glad you want to contribute to a Chef project! This document will help answer common questions you may have during your first contribution.

Submitting Issues

Not every contribution comes in the form of code. Submitting, confirming, and triaging issues is an important task for any project. At Chef we use Github to track all project issues.

If you are familiar with Chef and know the component, that is causing you a problem, you can file an issue in the corresponding Github project. All of our Open Source Software can be found in our Github organization. All projects include Github issue templates to help gather information needed for a thorough review.

We ask you not to submit security concerns via Github. For details on submitting potential security issues please see

In addition to Github issues, we also utilize a feedback site that helps our product team track and rank feature requests. If you have a feature request, this is an excellent place to start

Contribution Process

We have a 3 step process for contributions:

  1. Sign or be added to an existing Contributor License Agreement (CLA).
  2. Create a Github Pull Request for your change.
  3. Perform a Code Review with the project maintainers on the pull request.

Pull Request Requirements

Chef Projects are built to last. We strive to ensure high quality throughout the experience. In order to ensure this, we require that all pull requests to Chef projects meet these specifications:

  1. Tests: To ensure high quality code and protect against future regressions, we require all the code in Chef Projects to have at least unit test coverage. We use RSpec for unit testing.
  2. Green CI Tests: We use Travis CI and AppVeyor CI systems to test all pull requests. We require these test runs to succeed on every pull request before being merged.

Code Review Process

Code review takes place in Github pull requests. See this article if you're not familiar with Github Pull Requests.

Once you open a pull request, Chef engineers will review your code and respond to your pull request with any feedback they might have. The process at this point is as follows:

  1. 2 thumbs-ups are required from project maintainers or core contributors. See the master maintainers document for Chef projects at
  2. When ready, your pull request will be tagged with label Ready For Merge.
  3. Your change will be merged into the project's master branch and will be noted in the project's at the time of release.

If you would like to learn about when your code will be available in a release of Chef, read more about Chef Release Cycles.

Contributor License Agreement (CLA)

Licensing is very important to open source projects. It helps ensure the software continues to be available under the terms that the author desired.

Chef uses the Apache 2.0 license to strike a balance between open contribution and allowing you to use the software however you would like to.

The license tells you what rights you have that are provided by the copyright holder. It is important that the contributor fully understands what rights they are licensing and agrees to them. Sometimes the copyright holder isn't the contributor, such as when the contributor is doing work for a company.

To make a good faith effort to ensure these criteria are met, Chef requires an Individual CLA or a Corporate CLA for contributions. This agreement helps ensure you are aware of the terms of the license you are contributing your copyrighted works under, which helps to prevent the inclusion of works in the projects that the contributor does not hold the rights to share.

It only takes a few minutes to complete a CLA, and you retain the copyright to your contribution.

You can complete our Individual CLA online. If you're contributing on behalf of your employer and they retain the copyright for your works, have your employer fill out our Corporate CLA instead.

Chef Obvious Fix Policy

Small contributions, such as fixing spelling errors, where the content is small enough to not be considered intellectual property, can be submitted without a CLA.

As a rule of thumb, changes are obvious fixes if they do not introduce any new functionality or creative thinking. Assuming the change does not affect functionality, some common obvious fix examples include the following:

  • Spelling / grammar fixes
  • Typo correction, white space and formatting changes
  • Comment clean up
  • Bug fixes that change default return values or error codes stored in constants
  • Adding logging messages or debugging output
  • Changes to 'metadata' files like Gemfile, .gitignore, build scripts, etc.
  • Moving source files from one directory or package to another

Whenever you invoke the "obvious fix" rule, please say so in your commit message:

commit 370adb3f82d55d912b0cf9c1d1e99b132a8ed3b5
Author: danielsdeleo <>
Date:   Wed Sep 18 11:44:40 2013 -0700

  Fix typo in config file docs.

  Obvious fix.


Release Cycles

Our primary shipping vehicle is operating system specific packages that includes all the requirements of Chef. We call these Omnibus packages

We also release our software as gems to Rubygems but we strongly recommend using Chef packages since they are the only combination of native libraries & gems required by Chef that we test throughly.

Our version numbering roughly follows Semantic Versioning standard. Our standard version numbers look like X.Y.Z which mean:

  • X is a major release, which may not be fully compatible with prior major releases
  • Y is a minor release, which adds both new features and bug fixes
  • Z is a patch release, which adds just bug fixes

After shipping a release of Chef we bump the Minor version by one to start development of the next minor release. All merges to master trigger an increment of the Patch version, and a build through our internal testing pipeline. We do a Minor release approximately every month, which consist of shipping one of the already auto-incremented and tested Patch versions. For example after shiping 12.10.24, we incremented Chef to 12.11.0. From there 18 commits where merged bringing the version to 12.11.18, which we shipped as an omnibus package.

Announcements of releases are made to the chef mailing list when they are available.

Chef Community

Chef is made possible by a strong community of developers and system administrators. If you have any questions or if you would like to get involved in the Chef community you can check out:

Also here are some additional pointers to some awesome Chef content: