Contribution workflow

What follows is an outline of the end-to-end contribution workflow for getting changes made in the KubeVirt project. In general terms, it applies to all the GIT repositories associated with the project, however, some steps may be omitted with certain repositories for expediency. In addition to these guidelines, also read any file that is present in the GIT repository being modified. This will contain any important instructions that are specific to the repository.

Process summary

The quick summary of contribution process is as follows

Issue tracking

Each of the project’s GIT repositories has a corresponding issue tracker associated with it. The issues serve to record work that needs to be done on the code, and identify who (if anybody) is known to be working on it. An issue may represent one of a number of different types of work item, including a bug report, a identified feature gap, a feature wishlist item. When dealing with features, the issue is not the place to write up a full design for the implementation. Instead it just serves as a place to consider the acceptability of the feature request at a high level.

If a person is actively working on an issue, it is expected that they set themselves as the assignee for it, to prevent others accidentally duplicating effort. If a contributor does not have permission to set themselves as assignee, they can add a comment to the issue asking to be made the assignee. Similarly if an assignee has to stop their work for whatever reason, it is polite to either unassign themselves from the issue, or put a comment on it mentioning the pause in activity. This gives a chance for other interested contributors to pick up the work.

When fixing an issue, the commit message of the patch that provides the fix must mention the issue tracker number. The pull request may also mention the issue tracker number, but this is not mandatory. The issue tracker number must be listed in the [format defined by github](, in order to ensure that the issue is automatically closed when the code is merged.

If no issue currently exists for the work being planned / undertaken, it is recommended to file a new issue. This is primarily to alert other contributors to the fact that the work is being done.

Design documents

In some cases, particularly with new features, it may be desirable to write up a semi-formal design for the work to be done. By convention design documents are to be submitted as patches to the docs/ directory in the GIT repository that will later contain the implementation. Documents should be written in github markdown format unless there is a compelling reason to use an alternate format.

The design documents will serve many purposes, including

Design documents are typically only used in GIT repositories that are focused on software deliverables, such as the primary “kubevirt” repository and the “project-infra” repository. Repositories serving other purposes such as the “” website content or the “community” content, do not make use of design documentation.

There is no mandatory requirement to get a design document approved and merged before starting on the code development. Contributors can choose to submit a design doc upfront and get it reviewed and merged before starting coding. This is particularly recommended for complicated or potentially controversial code changes. Alternatively it is acceptable to submit the design doc as the first commit in a series of commits that implement the desired feature. The former will reduce the risk of code development taking an approach that is later rejected, while the later may allow faster development. Even once a design document is reviewed and merged, it is not mandatory to blindly follow it. If changes come to light during development that invalidate some of the design decisions, contributors should simply include an update to the design doc in one of the commits, to reflect the changed reality.

Developer certification

All patches submitted for merge to any of the project’s GIT repositories are required to be signed off in accordance with the following:

Developer Certificate of Origin Version 1.1

Copyright (C) 2004, 2006 The Linux Foundation and its contributors. 1 Letterman Drive Suite D4700 San Francisco, CA, 94129

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

Developer’s Certificate of Origin 1.1

By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:

(a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me and I have the right to submit it under the open source license indicated in the file; or

(b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best of my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate open source license and I have the right under that license to submit that work with modifications, whether created in whole or in part by me, under the same open source license (unless I am permitted to submit under a different license), as indicated in the file; or

(c) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other person who certified (a), (b) or (c) and I have not modified it.

(d) I understand and agree that this project and the contribution are public and that a record of the contribution (including all personal information I submit with it, including my sign-off) is maintained indefinitely and may be redistributed consistent with this project or the open source license(s) involved.

Assuming the author accepts the statement above, they can certify compliance by adding the following line to each GIT commit message:

Signed-off-by: Your Name <>

This can be automatically added in the correct format by passing the -s argument when running git commit.

This simple signoff process removes the need for the project to have any more formal contributor license agreement.

Code submission

All changes to the project must be submitted as pull requests against the relevant GIT repository for code review prior to approval for merge

Depending on the repository, a number of automated tests will be performed on the submission, including a check that every commit has been signed off in accordance with the developer certificate of origin. Results of these automated tests will be displayed on the pull request summary page. If any failures are identified, the author is generally expected to resolve them and submit an updated pull request, unless the failure is caused by a flaw in the automated test system.

Anyone with a github account is able to make comments and requests changes on pull requests, however, only members of the maintainers team are able to merge the code. Unless the author is very lucky, it is usual to receive feedback that will require one or more rounds of code updates. When submitting updated commits to review, always reuse the existing pull request by pushing to the same branch that was originally used. It is rarely appropriate to open a new pull request, after addressing review feedback, as that throws away record of the previous comments.