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Thanks for considering contributing to LaTeX2e: feedback, fixes and ideas are all useful. Here, we (The LaTeX3 Project) have collected together a few pointers to help things along.

Bugs

There are thousands of packages and tools and the LaTeX Project Team only supports a few dozen core packages beside the kernel code. We also don't maintain any tools or the TeX-engines themselves! So if a bug is due to code from a contributed third-party package then the LaTeX Project Team is not able to help or fix the code as that is maintained by others. As such, we ask you follow the procedure below as it will help to weed cases where we cannot help.

To report a bug it is important to provide a short test file that exhibits the issue. The latexbug package should be loaded at the very top of any such test file used to report a bug in LaTeX as follows:

\RequirePackage{latexbug}    % <- first line
\documentclass{article}      % or some other class
...                          % code showing the problem

If the latexbug package is not part of your distribution you can download it GitHub. In that case simply place it in the directory next to your test file (or place it into your local texmf tree so that it will be always found – how to do that depends on the installation you use).

If latexbug complains about third-party packages you should first remove those from your test file. If that is not possible, then the bug is most likely in one of these packages and you should report the problem to the maintainers of the package instead of opening an issue here. However, if you think the bug is in core LaTeX (as maintained by the LaTeX Team) even though you need the third-party packages to demonstrate the problem, then please continue and send the bug report to us but explain this explicitly in your description of the bug.

Font related issues

Problems that are clearly due to using a specific font setup or a specific font are normally out of scope as we do not maintain fonts for LaTeX and can't help with problems in that area. Especially with XeTeX and LuaTeX people may experience issues due to font usage that are either due to the font itself or to different versions or treatment on different platforms. So please use Computer Modern or Latin Modern fonts in the test files.

Layout and interface deficiencies

Upfront we should probably stress that 'deficiencies' in the design of of the standard document classes (article, report and book) as well a questionable but long established interface behavior of commands is something that we will normally not change, even if we can all agree that a different behavior or a different layout would have been a better choice. You are, of course, welcome to report issues in these areas, using the procedure explained below, but in all likelihood such reports will be marked as 'won't fix'.

The reason is is that the kernel interfaces and the document classes have been used for many years in essentially all documents (even documents using different classes often build them upon the standard classes in the background) and thus such changes would break or as a minimum noticeably change nearly all existing documents. See also the file LaTeX2e News Issue 07 with regard to this policy.

Code contributions

If you want to discuss a possible contribution before (or instead of) making a pull request, drop a line to the team.

The stability of LaTeX is very important and this means that change in the kernel is necessarily very conservative. It also means that a lot of discussion happens before any changes are made. If you do decide to post a pull request, please bear this in mind: we do appreciate ideas, but cannot always integrate them into the kernel.

If you are submitting a pull request, notice that

  • The first line of commit messages should be a short summary (up to about 50 chars); leave a blank line then give more detail if required
  • We use Travis-CI for (light) testing so add [ci skip] to documentation-only commit messages
  • We favour a single linear history so will rebase accepted pull requests
  • Where a commit fixes or closes an issue, please include this information in the first line of the commit message [(fixes #X) or similar]
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