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Contributing to Monero

A good way to help is to test, and report bugs. See How to Report Bugs Effectively (by Simon Tatham) if you want to help that way. Testing is invaluable in making a piece of software solid and usable.

General guidelines

  • Comments are encouraged.
  • If modifying code for which Doxygen headers exist, that header must be modified to match.
  • Tests would be nice to have if you're adding functionality.

Patches are preferably to be sent via a Github pull request. If that can't be done, patches in "git format-patch" format can be sent (eg, posted to with a long enough timeout and a link posted to #monero-dev on

Patches should be self contained. A good rule of thumb is to have one patch per separate issue, feature, or logical change. Also, no other changes, such as random whitespace changes, reindentation, or fixing typoes, spelling, or wording, unless user visible. Following the code style of the particular chunk of code you're modifying is encouraged. Proper squashing should be done (eg, if you're making a buggy patch, then a later patch to fix the bug, both patches should be merged).

If you've made random unrelated changes (either because your editor is annoying or you made them for other reasons), you can select what changes go into the coming commit using git add -p, which walks you through all the changes and asks whether or not to include this particular change. This helps create clean patches without any irrelevant changes. git diff will show you the changes in your tree. git diff --cached will show what is currently staged for commit. As you add hunks with git add -p, those hunks will "move" from the git diff output to the git diff --cached output, so you can see clearly what your commit is going to look like.

Commits and pull requests

Commit messages should be sensible. That means a subject line that describes the patch, with an optional longer body that gives details, documentation, etc.

When submitting a pull request on Github, make sure your branch is rebased. No merge commits nor stray commits from other people in your submitted branch, please. You may be asked to rebase if there are conflicts (even trivially resolvable ones).

PGP signing commits is strongly encouraged. That should explain why the previous paragraph is here.

Code of Conduct (22/C4.1)


Copyright (c) 2009-2015 Pieter Hintjens. Copyright (c) 2017-2018 The Monero Project.

This Specification is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This Specification is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, see


The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

The "Monero Maintainer Team" is defined in this document as the following users:

  • fluffypony
  • moneromooo
  • hyc


C4 is meant to provide a reusable optimal collaboration model for open source software projects. It has these specific goals:

  • To maximize the scale and diversity of the community around a project, by reducing the friction for new Contributors and creating a scaled participation model with strong positive feedbacks;
  • To relieve dependencies on key individuals by separating different skill sets so that there is a larger pool of competence in any required domain;
  • To allow the project to develop faster and more accurately, by increasing the diversity of the decision making process;
  • To support the natural life cycle of project versions from experimental through to stable, by allowing safe experimentation, rapid failure, and isolation of stable code;
  • To reduce the internal complexity of project repositories, thus making it easier for Contributors to participate and reducing the scope for error;
  • To enforce collective ownership of the project, which increases economic incentive to Contributors and reduces the risk of hijack by hostile entities.



  • The project MUST use the git distributed revision control system.
  • The project MUST be hosted on or equivalent, herein called the "Platform".
  • The project MUST use the Platform issue tracker.
    • Non-GitHub example:
      • "Platform" could be a vanilla git repo and Trac hosted on the same machine/network.
      • The Platform issue tracker would be Trac.
  • The project SHOULD have clearly documented guidelines for code style.
  • A "Contributor" is a person who wishes to provide a patch, being a set of commits that solve some clearly identified problem.
  • A "Maintainer" is a person who merges patches to the project. Maintainers are not developers; their job is to enforce process.
  • Contributors MUST NOT have commit access to the repository unless they are also Maintainers.
  • Maintainers MUST have commit access to the repository.
  • Everyone, without distinction or discrimination, MUST have an equal right to become a Contributor under the terms of this contract.

Licensing and ownership

  • The project MUST use a share-alike license, such as BSD-3, the GPLv3 or a variant thereof (LGPL, AGPL), or the MPLv2.
  • All contributions to the project source code ("patches") MUST use the same license as the project.
  • All patches are owned by their authors. There MUST NOT be any copyright assignment process.
  • The copyrights in the project MUST be owned collectively by all its Contributors.
  • Each Contributor MUST be responsible for identifying themselves in the project Contributor list.

Patch requirements

  • Maintainers MUST have a Platform account and SHOULD use their real names or a well-known alias.
  • Contributors SHOULD have a Platform account and MAY use their real names or a well-known alias.
  • A patch SHOULD be a minimal and accurate answer to exactly one identified and agreed problem.
  • A patch MUST adhere to the code style guidelines of the project if these are defined.
  • A patch MUST adhere to the "Evolution of Public Contracts" guidelines defined below.
  • A patch MUST NOT include non-trivial code from other projects unless the Contributor is the original author of that code.
  • A patch MUST compile cleanly and pass project self-tests on at least the principle target platform.
  • A patch commit message SHOULD consist of a single short (less than 50 character) line summarizing the change, optionally followed by a blank line and then a more thorough description.
  • A "Correct Patch" is one that satisfies the above requirements.

Development process

  • Change on the project MUST be governed by the pattern of accurately identifying problems and applying minimal, accurate solutions to these problems.
  • To request changes, a user SHOULD log an issue on the project Platform issue tracker.
  • The user or Contributor SHOULD write the issue by describing the problem they face or observe.
  • The user or Contributor SHOULD seek consensus on the accuracy of their observation, and the value of solving the problem.
  • Users MUST NOT log feature requests, ideas, or suggestions unrelated to Monero code or Monero's dependency code or Monero's potential/future dependency code or research which successfully implements Monero.
  • Users MUST NOT log any solutions to problems (verifiable or hypothetical) of which are not explicitly documented and/or not provable and/or cannot be reasonably proven.
  • Thus, the release history of the project MUST be a list of meaningful issues logged and solved.
  • To work on an issue, a Contributor MUST fork the project repository and then work on their forked repository.
  • To submit a patch, a Contributor MUST create a Platform pull request back to the project.
  • A Contributor MUST NOT commit changes directly to the project.
  • To discuss a patch, people MAY comment on the Platform pull request, on the commit, or elsewhere.
  • To accept or reject a patch, a Maintainer MUST use the Platform interface.
  • Maintainers SHOULD NOT merge their own patches except in exceptional cases, such as non-responsiveness from other Maintainers for an extended period (more than 30 days) or unless urgent as defined by the Monero Maintainers Team.
  • Maintainers MUST NOT make value judgments on correct patches unless the Maintainer (as may happen in rare circumstances) is a core code developer.
  • Maintainers MUST NOT merge pull requests in less than 168 hours (1 week) unless deemed urgent by at least 2 people from the Monero Maintainer Team.
  • The Contributor MAY tag an issue as "Ready" after making a pull request for the issue.
  • The user who created an issue SHOULD close the issue after checking the patch is successful.
  • Maintainers SHOULD ask for improvements to incorrect patches and SHOULD reject incorrect patches if the Contributor does not respond constructively.
  • Any Contributor who has value judgments on a correct patch SHOULD express these via their own patches.
  • Maintainers MAY commit changes to non-source documentation directly to the project.

Creating stable releases

  • The project MUST have one branch ("master") that always holds the latest in-progress version and SHOULD always build.
  • The project MUST NOT use topic branches for any reason. Personal forks MAY use topic branches.
  • To make a stable release someone MUST fork the repository by copying it and thus become maintainer of this repository.
  • Forking a project for stabilization MAY be done unilaterally and without agreement of project maintainers.
  • A patch to a stabilization project declared "stable" MUST be accompanied by a reproducible test case.

Evolution of public contracts

  • All Public Contracts (APIs or protocols) MUST be documented.
  • All Public Contracts SHOULD have space for extensibility and experimentation.
  • A patch that modifies a stable Public Contract SHOULD not break existing applications unless there is overriding consensus on the value of doing this.
  • A patch that introduces new features to a Public Contract SHOULD do so using new names.
  • Old names SHOULD be deprecated in a systematic fashion by marking new names as "experimental" until they are stable, then marking the old names as "deprecated".
  • When sufficient time has passed, old deprecated names SHOULD be marked "legacy" and eventually removed.
  • Old names MUST NOT be reused by new features.
  • When old names are removed, their implementations MUST provoke an exception (assertion) if used by applications.

Project administration

  • The project founders MUST act as Administrators to manage the set of project Maintainers.
  • The Administrators MUST ensure their own succession over time by promoting the most effective Maintainers.
  • A new Contributor who makes a correct patch MUST be invited to become a Maintainer.
  • Administrators MAY remove Maintainers who are inactive for an extended period of time, or who repeatedly fail to apply this process accurately.
  • Administrators SHOULD block or ban "bad actors" who cause stress and pain to others in the project. This should be done after public discussion, with a chance for all parties to speak. A bad actor is someone who repeatedly ignores the rules and culture of the project, who is needlessly argumentative or hostile, or who is offensive, and who is unable to self-correct their behavior when asked to do so by others.