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This document describes the way you can contribute to the restic project.

Ways to Help Out

Thank you for your contribution! Please open an issue first (or add a comment to an existing issue) if you plan to work on any code or add a new feature. This way, duplicate work is prevented and we can discuss your ideas and design first.

There are several ways you can help us out. First of all code contributions and bug fixes are most welcome. However even "minor" details as fixing spelling errors, improving documentation or pointing out usability issues are a great help also.

The restic project uses the GitHub infrastructure (see the project page) for all related discussions as well as the #restic channel on

If you want to find an area that currently needs improving have a look at the open issues listed at the issues page. This is also the place for discussing enhancement to the restic tools.

If you are unsure what to do, please have a look at the issues, especially those tagged minor complexity.

Reporting Bugs

You've found a bug? Thanks for letting us know so we can fix it! It is a good idea to describe in detail how to reproduce the bug (when you know how), what environment was used and so on. Please tell us at least the following things:

  • What's the version of restic you used? Please include the output of restic version in your bug report.
  • What commands did you execute to get to where the bug occurred?
  • What did you expect?
  • What happened instead?
  • Are you aware of a way to reproduce the bug?

Remember, the easier it is for us to reproduce the bug, the earlier it will be corrected!

In addition, you can compile restic with debug support by running go run -mod=vendor build.go -tags debug and instructing it to create a debug log by setting the environment variable DEBUG_LOG to a file, e.g. like this:

$ export DEBUG_LOG=/tmp/restic-debug.log
$ restic backup ~/work

For Go < 1.11, you need to remove the -mod=vendor option from the build command.

Please be aware that the debug log file will contain potentially sensitive things like file and directory names, so please either redact it before uploading it somewhere or post only the parts that are really relevant.

Development Environment

The repository contains several sets of directories with code: cmd/ and internal/ contain the code written for restic, whereas vendor/ contains copies of libraries restic depends on. The libraries are managed with the command go mod vendor.

Go >= 1.11

For Go version 1.11 or later, you should clone the repo (without having $GOPATH set) and cd into the directory:

$ unset GOPATH
$ git clone
$ cd restic

Then use the go tool to build restic:

$ go build ./cmd/restic
$ ./restic version
restic 0.9.2-dev (compiled manually) compiled with go1.11 on linux/amd64

You can run all tests with the following command:

$ go test ./...

Go < 1.11

In order to compile restic with Go before 1.11, it needs to be checked out at the right path within a GOPATH. The concept of a GOPATH is explained in "How to write Go code".

If you do not have a directory with Go code yet, executing the following instructions in your shell will create one for you and check out the restic repo:

$ export GOPATH="$HOME/go"
$ mkdir -p "$GOPATH/src/"
$ cd "$GOPATH/src/"
$ git clone
$ cd restic

You can then build restic as follows:

$ go build ./cmd/restic
$ ./restic version
restic compiled manually
compiled with go1.8.3 on linux/amd64

The following commands can be used to run all the tests:

$ go test ./...

Providing Patches

You have fixed an annoying bug or have added a new feature? Very cool! Let's get it into the project! The workflow we're using is also described on the GitHub Flow website, it boils down to the following steps:

  1. If you want to work on something, please add a comment to the issue on GitHub. For a new feature, please add an issue before starting to work on it, so that duplicate work is prevented.

  2. First we would kindly ask you to fork our project on GitHub if you haven't done so already.

  3. Clone the repository locally and create a new branch. If you are working on the code itself, please set up the development environment as described in the previous section. Especially take care to place your forked repository at the correct path (src/ within your GOPATH.

  4. Then commit your changes as fine grained as possible, as smaller patches, that handle one and only one issue are easier to discuss and merge.

  5. Push the new branch with your changes to your fork of the repository.

  6. Create a pull request by visiting the GitHub website, it will guide you through the process.

  7. You will receive comments on your code and the feature or bug that they address. Maybe you need to rework some minor things, in this case push new commits to the branch you created for the pull request (or amend the existing commit, use common sense to decide which is better), they will be automatically added to the pull request.

  8. If your pull request changes anything that users should be aware of (a bugfix, a new feature, ...) please add an entry to the file ''. It will be used in the announcement of the next stable release. While writing, ask yourself: If I were the user, what would I need to be aware of with this change.

  9. Once your code looks good and passes all the tests, we'll merge it. Thanks a lot for your contribution!

Please provide the patches for each bug or feature in a separate branch and open up a pull request for each.

The restic project uses the gofmt tool for Go source indentation, so please run

gofmt -w **/*.go

in the project root directory before committing. For each Pull Request, the formatting is tested with gofmt for the latest stable version of Go. Installing the script fmt-check from locally as a pre-commit hook checks formatting before committing automatically, just copy this script to .git/hooks/pre-commit.

For each pull request, several different systems run the integration tests on Linux, OS X and Windows. We won't merge any code that does not pass all tests for all systems, so when a tests fails, try to find out what's wrong and fix it. If you need help on this, please leave a comment in the pull request, and we'll be glad to assist. Having a PR with failing integration tests is nothing to be ashamed of. In contrast, that happens regularly for all of us. That's what the tests are there for.

Git Commits

It would be good if you could follow the same general style regarding Git commits as the rest of the project, this makes reviewing code, browsing the history and triaging bugs much easier.

Git commit messages have a very terse summary in the first line of the commit message, followed by an empty line, followed by a more verbose description or a List of changed things. For examples, please refer to the excellent How to Write a Git Commit Message.

If you change/add multiple different things that aren't related at all, try to make several smaller commits. This is much easier to review. Using git add -p allows staging and committing only some changes.

Code Review

The restic project encourages actively reviewing the code, as it will store your precious data, so it's common practice to receive comments on provided patches.

If you are reviewing other contributor's code please consider the following when reviewing:

  • Be nice. Please make the review comment as constructive as possible so all participants will learn something from your review.

As a contributor you might be asked to rewrite portions of your code to make it fit better into the upstream sources.