Contributing back

Kenneth Hoste edited this page Jul 5, 2017 · 14 revisions
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We'd love you to contribute back to EasyBuild, and here's how you can do it: the branch - hack - pull request cycle.

Note: Needs to fix text below w.r.t. different EasyBuild repos and develop vs version branches.


GitHub account

If you do not have a (free) GitHub account yet, you'll need to get one via .

Fork EasyBuild

First, you'll need to fork the EasyBuild repository on GitHub you want to work with. For example: go to, and click the grey 'Fork' button (top right).

SSH public key @ GitHub

You also need to register an SSH public key, so you can easily clone, push to and pull from your repository. This can be done via if you're logged in on GitHub.

In the following it is assumed that an SSH public key has been registered, since it is a requirement for cloning/pushing via the git protocol.

Clone your EasyBuild repository

Clone your fork of the EasyBuild repository to your favorite workstation.

git clone<GITHUB_LOGIN>/easybuild-easyconfigs.git

Pull in the develop branch

Pull the develop branch from the main EasyBuild repository:

cd easybuild-easyconfigs
git remote add github_hpcugent
git fetch github_hpcugent
git branch develop github_hpcugent/develop
git checkout develop
git pull github_hpcugent develop

Keep develop up-to-date

The develop branch hosts the latest bleeding-edge version of EasyBuild, and is merged into master regularly (after thorough testing).

Make sure you update it every time you create a feature branch (see below):

git checkout develop
git pull github_hpcugent develop


Pick a branch name

Pick a branch name for your work that makes sense, so you can track things easily and make sense if you end up having several branches in flight at once (each PR is a new branch).


  • bug_fix_foo
  • new_intel_toolchain
  • contrib_bio_pkgs

Create branch

Create a feature branch for your work, and check it out

git checkout develop
git branch <BRANCH_NAME>
git checkout <BRANCH_NAME>

Make sure to always base your features branches on develop, not on master!


After creating the branch, implement your contributions: new features, new easyblocks for non-supported software, enhancements or updates to existing easyblocks, bug fixes, or rewriting the whole thing in Fortran, whatever you like.

Make sure you commit your work, and try to do it in bite-size chunks, so the commit log remains clear.

For example:

git add easybuild/easyconfigs/l/LinuxFromScratch.eb
git commit -m "support for Linux From Scratch"

If you are working on several things at the same time, try and keep things isolated in seperate branches, to keep it manageable (both for you, and for reviewing your contributions, see below).

Pull request

When you've finished the implementation of a particular contribution, here's how to get it into the main EasyBuild repository (also see

Push your branch

Push your branch to your EasyBuild repository on GitHub:

git push origin <BRANCH_NAME>

Issue a pull request

Issue a pull request for your branch into the main EasyBuild repository, as follows:

  • go to, and make sure the branch you just pushed is selected (not master, but <BRANCH_NAME>)

  • issue a pull request (see button at the top of the page) for your branch to the develop branch of the main EasyBuild repository; note: don't issue a pull request to the master branch, as it will be simply closed by the EasyBuild team

  • make sure to reference the corresponding issue number in the pull request, using the notation # followed by a number, e.g. #83

Issue pull request for existing ticket (from command line)

If you're contributing code to an existing issue you can also convert the issue to a pull request by running

GITHUBUSER=your_username && PASSWD=your_password && BRANCH=branch_name && ISSUE=issue_number && \
curl --user "$GITHUBUSER:$PASSWD" --request POST \
--data "{\"issue\": \"$ISSUE\", \"head\": \"$GITHUBUSER:$BRANCH\", \"base\": \"develop\"}" \

This is currently only supported by github from the command line and not via the web interface. You might also want to look into hub for more command line features.

Review process

A member of the EasyBuild team will then review your pull request, paying attention to what you're contributing, how you implemented it and [code style](Code style). See Review process for contributions for more details.

Most likely, some remarks will be made on your pull request. Note that this is nothing personal, we're just trying to keep the EasyBuild codebase as high quality as possible. Even when an EasyBuild team member makes changes, the same public review process is followed.

Try and act on the remarks made, either by commiting additional changes to your branch, or by replying to the remarks to clarify your work.


Once your pull request has been reviewed and remarks have been processed, your contribution will be merged into the develop branch of the main EasyBuild repository.

On frequent occasions, the develop branch is merged into the master branch and a new version is tagged, and your contribution truly becomes part of EasyBuild.