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OpenTelemetry Specification

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The OpenTelemetry specification describes the cross-language requirements and expectations for all OpenTelemetry implementations.

Table of Contents

Project Timeline

OpenTelemetry is currently under development. Check out our current milestones.

Notation Conventions and Compliance

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in the specification are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

An implementation of the specification is not compliant if it fails to satisfy one or more of the "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", or "SHALL NOT" requirements defined in the specification. Conversely, an implementation of the specification is compliant if it satisfies all the "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", and "SHALL NOT" requirements defined in the specification.


Changes to the specification are versioned according to Semantic Versioning 2.0 and described in Layout changes are not versioned. Specific implementations of the specification should specify which version they implement.

Changes to the change process itself are not currently versioned but may be independently versioned in the future.


The change process is still evolving. For the short term, please use issues to suggest changes and pull requests to suggest implementations of changes that have been discussed in a relevant issue.

We will be setting up a more complete RFC process to streamline the discussion of changes.

See for more details on contribution process.


By contributing to OpenTelemetry Specification repository, you agree that your contributions will be licensed under its Apache 2.0 License.

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