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How to contribute

Third-party patches are essential for keeping Puppet great. We simply can't access the huge number of platforms and myriad configurations for running Puppet. We want to keep it as easy as possible to contribute changes that get things working in your environment. There are a few guidelines that we need contributors to follow so that we can have a chance of keeping on top of things.

Puppet Core vs Modules

New functionality is typically directed toward modules to provide a slimmer Puppet Core, reducing its surface area, and to allow greater freedom for module maintainers to ship releases at their own cadence, rather than being held to the cadence of Puppet releases. With Puppet 4's "all in one" packaging, a list of modules at specific versions will be packaged with the core so that popular types and providers will still be available as part of the "out of the box" experience.

Generally, new types and new OS-specific providers for existing types should be added in modules. Exceptions would be things like new cross-OS providers and updates to existing core types.

If you are unsure of whether your contribution should be implemented as a module or part of Puppet Core, you may visit #puppet-dev on slack, or ask on the puppet-dev mailing list for advice.

Getting Started

  • Make sure you have a Jira account.
  • Make sure you have a GitHub account.
  • Submit a Jira ticket for your issue if one does not already exist.
    • Clearly describe the issue including steps to reproduce when it is a bug.
    • Make sure you fill in the earliest version that you know has the issue.
    • A ticket is not necessary for trivial changes
  • Fork the repository on GitHub.

Making Changes

  • Create a topic branch from where you want to base your work.

    • This is usually the main branch.
    • Only target release branches if you are certain your fix must be on that branch.
    • To quickly create a topic branch based on main, run git checkout -b fix/main/my_contribution main. Please avoid working directly on the main branch.
  • Make commits of logical and atomic units.

  • Check for unnecessary whitespace with git diff --check before committing.

  • Make sure your commit messages are in the proper format. If the commit addresses an issue filed in the Puppet Jira project, start the first line of the commit with the issue number in parentheses.

        (PUP-1234) Make the example in CONTRIBUTING imperative and concrete
        Without this patch applied the example commit message in the CONTRIBUTING
        document is not a concrete example. This is a problem because the
        contributor is left to imagine what the commit message should look like
        based on a description rather than an example. This patch fixes the
        problem by making the example concrete and imperative.
        The first line is a real-life imperative statement with a ticket number
        from our issue tracker. The body describes the behavior without the patch,
        why this is a problem, and how the patch fixes the problem when applied.
  • Make sure you have added the necessary tests for your changes.

  • For details on how to run tests, please see the quickstart guide

Writing Translatable Code

We use gettext tooling to extract user-facing strings and pull in translations based on the user's locale at runtime. In order for this tooling to work, all user-facing strings must be wrapped in the _() translation function, so they can be extracted into files for the translators.

When adding user-facing strings to your work, follow these guidelines:

  • Use full sentences. Strings built up out of concatenated bits are hard to translate.
  • Use string formatting instead of interpolation. Use the hash format and give good names to the placeholder values that can be used by translators to understand the meaning of the formatted values. For example: _('Creating new user %{name}.') % { name: }
  • Use n_() for pluralization. (see gettext gem docs linked above for details)

It is the responsibility of contributors and code reviewers to ensure that all user-facing strings are marked in new PRs before merging.

Making Trivial Changes

For changes of a trivial nature, it is not always necessary to create a new ticket in Jira. In this case, it is appropriate to start the first line of a commit with one of (docs), (maint), or (packaging) instead of a ticket number.

If a Jira ticket exists for the documentation commit, you can include it after the (docs) token.

    (docs)(DOCUMENT-000) Add docs commit example to CONTRIBUTING

    There is no example for contributing a documentation commit
    to the Puppet repository. This is a problem because the contributor
    is left to assume how a commit of this nature may appear.

    The first line is a real-life imperative statement with '(docs)' in
    place of what would have been the PUP project ticket number in a
    non-documentation related commit. The body describes the nature of
    the new documentation or comments added.

For commits that address trivial repository maintenance tasks or packaging issues, start the first line of the commit with (maint) or (packaging), respectively.

Submitting Changes

  • Sign the Contributor License Agreement.
  • Push your changes to a topic branch in your fork of the repository.
  • Submit a pull request to the repository in the puppetlabs organization.
  • Update the related Jira ticket to mark that you have submitted code and are ready for it to be reviewed (Status: Ready for Merge).
  • The core team looks at pull requests on a regular basis in a weekly triage meeting.
  • After feedback has been given we expect responses within two weeks. After two weeks we may close the pull request if it isn't showing any activity.

Revert Policy

By running tests in advance and by engaging with peer review for prospective changes, your contributions have a high probability of becoming long lived parts of the the project. After being merged, the code will run through a series of testing pipelines on a large number of operating system environments. These pipelines can reveal incompatibilities that are difficult to detect in advance.

If the code change results in a test failure, we will make our best effort to correct the error. If a fix cannot be determined and committed within 24 hours of its discovery, the commit(s) responsible may be reverted, at the discretion of the committer and Puppet maintainers. This action would be taken to help maintain passing states in our testing pipelines.

The original contributor will be notified of the revert in the Jira ticket associated with the change. A reference to the test(s) and operating system(s) that failed as a result of the code change will also be added to the Jira ticket. This test(s) should be used to check future submissions of the code to ensure the issue has been resolved.


  • Changes resulting in test pipeline failures will be reverted if they cannot be resolved within one business day.

Additional Resources