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How to contribute

Note: contributing implies licensing those contributions under the terms of COPYING, which is an MIT-like license.

Opening issues

  • Make sure you have a GitHub account
  • Submit an issue - assuming one does not already exist.
    • Clearly describe the issue including steps to reproduce when it is a bug.
    • Include information what version of nixpkgs and Nix are you using (nixos-version or git revision).

Submitting changes

  • Format the commit messages in the following way:
  (pkg-name | nixos/<module>): (from -> to | init at version | refactor | etc)

  (Motivation for change. Additional information.)

For consistency, there should not be a period at the end of the commit message’s summary line (the first line of the commit message).


  • nginx: init at 2.0.1
  • firefox: 54.0.1 -> 55.0
  • nixos/hydra: add bazBaz option

    Dual baz behavior is needed to do foo.

  • nixos/nginx: refactor config generation

    The old config generation system used impure shell scripts and could break in specific circumstances (see #1234).

  • meta.description should:

    • Be capitalized.
    • Not start with the package name.
    • Not have a period at the end.
  • meta.license must be set and fit the upstream license.

    • If there is no upstream license, meta.license should default to stdenv.lib.licenses.unfree.
  • meta.maintainers must be set.

See the nixpkgs manual for more details on standard meta-attributes and on how to submit changes to nixpkgs.

Writing good commit messages

In addition to writing properly formatted commit messages, it’s important to include relevant information so other developers can later understand why a change was made. While this information usually can be found by digging code, mailing list/Discourse archives, pull request discussions or upstream changes, it may require a lot of work.

For package version upgrades and such a one-line commit message is usually sufficient.

Reviewing contributions

See the nixpkgs manual for more details on how to Review contributions.