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Contributing to Rust

Thank you for your interest in contributing to Rust! There are many ways to contribute, and we appreciate all of them. This document is a bit long, so here's links to the major sections:

If you have questions, please make a post on internals.rust-lang.org or hop on the Rust Discord server or Rust Zulip server.

As a reminder, all contributors are expected to follow our Code of Conduct.

The rustc-guide is your friend! It describes how the compiler works and how to contribute to it in more detail than this document.

If this is your first time contributing, the walkthrough chapter of the guide can give you a good example of how a typical contribution would go.

Feature Requests

To request a change to the way the Rust language works, please head over to the RFCs repository and view the README for instructions.

Bug Reports

While bugs are unfortunate, they're a reality in software. We can't fix what we don't know about, so please report liberally. If you're not sure if something is a bug or not, feel free to file a bug anyway.

If you believe reporting your bug publicly represents a security risk to Rust users, please follow our instructions for reporting security vulnerabilities.

If you have the chance, before reporting a bug, please search existing issues, as it's possible that someone else has already reported your error. This doesn't always work, and sometimes it's hard to know what to search for, so consider this extra credit. We won't mind if you accidentally file a duplicate report.

Similarly, to help others who encountered the bug find your issue, consider filing an issue with a descriptive title, which contains information that might be unique to it. This can be the language or compiler feature used, the conditions that trigger the bug, or part of the error message if there is any. An example could be: "impossible case reached" on lifetime inference for impl Trait in return position.

Opening an issue is as easy as following this link and filling out the fields. Here's a template that you can use to file a bug, though it's not necessary to use it exactly:

<short summary of the bug>

I tried this code:

<code sample that causes the bug>

I expected to see this happen: <explanation>

Instead, this happened: <explanation>

## Meta

`rustc --version --verbose`:

Backtrace:

All three components are important: what you did, what you expected, what happened instead. Please include the output of rustc --version --verbose, which includes important information about what platform you're on, what version of Rust you're using, etc.

Sometimes, a backtrace is helpful, and so including that is nice. To get a backtrace, set the RUST_BACKTRACE environment variable to a value other than 0. The easiest way to do this is to invoke rustc like this:

$ RUST_BACKTRACE=1 rustc ...

The Build System

For info on how to configure and build the compiler, please see this chapter of the rustc-guide. This chapter contains info for contributions to the compiler and the standard library. It also lists some really useful commands to the build system (./x.py), which could save you a lot of time.

Pull Requests

Pull requests are the primary mechanism we use to change Rust. GitHub itself has some great documentation on using the Pull Request feature. We use the "fork and pull" model described here, where contributors push changes to their personal fork and create pull requests to bring those changes into the source repository.

Please make pull requests against the master branch.

Rust follows a no merge policy, meaning, when you encounter merge conflicts you are expected to always rebase instead of merge. E.g. always use rebase when bringing the latest changes from the master branch to your feature branch. Also, please make sure that fixup commits are squashed into other related commits with meaningful commit messages.

GitHub allows closing issues using keywords. This feature should be used to keep the issue tracker tidy. However, it is generally preferred to put the "closes #123" text in the PR description rather than the issue commit; particularly during rebasing, citing the issue number in the commit can "spam" the issue in question.

Please make sure your pull request is in compliance with Rust's style guidelines by running

$ python x.py test src/tools/tidy

Make this check before every pull request (and every new commit in a pull request); you can add git hooks before every push to make sure you never forget to make this check.

All pull requests are reviewed by another person. We have a bot, @rust-highfive, that will automatically assign a random person to review your request.

If you want to request that a specific person reviews your pull request, you can add an r? to the pull request description. For example, Steve usually reviews documentation changes. So if you were to make a documentation change, add

r? @steveklabnik

to the end of the pull request description, and @rust-highfive will assign @steveklabnik instead of a random person. This is entirely optional.

After someone has reviewed your pull request, they will leave an annotation on the pull request with an r+. It will look something like this:

@bors r+

This tells @bors, our lovable integration bot, that your pull request has been approved. The PR then enters the merge queue, where @bors will run all the tests on every platform we support. If it all works out, @bors will merge your code into master and close the pull request.

Depending on the scale of the change, you may see a slightly different form of r+:

@bors r+ rollup

The additional rollup tells @bors that this change is eligible for to be "rolled up". Changes that are rolled up are tested and merged at the same time, to speed the process up. Typically only small changes that are expected not to conflict with one another are rolled up.

Speaking of tests, Rust has a comprehensive test suite. More information about it can be found here.

External Dependencies

Currently building Rust will also build the following external projects:

We allow breakage of these tools in the nightly channel. Maintainers of these projects will be notified of the breakages and should fix them as soon as possible.

After the external is fixed, one could add the changes with

git add path/to/submodule

outside the submodule.

In order to prepare your tool-fixing PR, you can run the build locally by doing ./x.py build src/tools/TOOL. If you will be editing the sources there, you may wish to set submodules = false in the config.toml to prevent x.py from resetting to the original branch.

Breakage is not allowed in the beta and stable channels, and must be addressed before the PR is merged.

Breaking Tools Built With The Compiler

Rust's build system builds a number of tools that make use of the internals of the compiler. This includes Clippy, RLS and rustfmt. If these tools break because of your changes, you may run into a sort of "chicken and egg" problem. These tools rely on the latest compiler to be built so you can't update them to reflect your changes to the compiler until those changes are merged into the compiler. At the same time, you can't get your changes merged into the compiler because the rust-lang/rust build won't pass until those tools build and pass their tests.

That means that, in the default state, you can't update the compiler without first fixing rustfmt, rls and the other tools that the compiler builds.

Luckily, a feature was added to Rust's build to make all of this easy to handle. The idea is that we allow these tools to be "broken", so that the rust-lang/rust build passes without trying to build them, then land the change in the compiler, wait for a nightly, and go update the tools that you broke. Once you're done and the tools are working again, you go back in the compiler and update the tools so they can be distributed again.

This should avoid a bunch of synchronization dances and is also much easier on contributors as there's no need to block on rls/rustfmt/other tools changes going upstream.

Here are those same steps in detail:

  1. (optional) First, if it doesn't exist already, create a config.toml by copying config.toml.example in the root directory of the Rust repository. Set submodules = false in the [build] section. This will prevent x.py from resetting to the original branch after you make your changes. If you need to update any submodules to their latest versions, see the section of this file about that for more information.
  2. (optional) Run ./x.py test src/tools/rustfmt (substituting the submodule that broke for rustfmt). Fix any errors in the submodule (and possibly others).
  3. (optional) Make commits for your changes and send them to upstream repositories as a PR.
  4. (optional) Maintainers of these submodules will not merge the PR. The PR can't be merged because CI will be broken. You'll want to write a message on the PR referencing your change, and how the PR should be merged once your change makes it into a nightly.
  5. Wait for your PR to merge.
  6. Wait for a nightly
  7. (optional) Help land your PR on the upstream repository now that your changes are in nightly.
  8. (optional) Send a PR to rust-lang/rust updating the submodule.

Updating submodules

These instructions are specific to updating rustfmt, however they may apply to the other submodules as well. Please help by improving these instructions if you find any discrepancies or special cases that need to be addressed.

To update the rustfmt submodule, start by running the appropriate git submodule command. For example, to update to the latest commit on the remote master branch, you may want to run:

git submodule update --remote src/tools/rustfmt
If you run ./x.py build now, and you are lucky, it may just work. If you see an error message about patches that did not resolve to any crates, you will need to complete a few more steps which are outlined with their rationale below.

(This error may change in the future to include more information.) `` error: failed to resolve patches forhttps://github.com/rust-lang/rustfmt`

Caused by: patch for rustfmt-nightly in https://github.com/rust-lang/rustfmt did not resolve to any crates failed to run: ~/rust/build/x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu/stage0/bin/cargo build --manifest-path ~/rust/src/bootstrap/Cargo.toml ```

If you haven't used the [patch] section of Cargo.toml before, there is some relevant documentation about it in the cargo docs. In addition to that, you should read the Overriding dependencies section of the documentation as well.

Specifically, the following section in Overriding dependencies reveals what the problem is:

Next up we need to ensure that our lock file is updated to use this new version of uuid so our project uses the locally checked out copy instead of one from crates.io. The way [patch] works is that it'll load the dependency at ../path/to/uuid and then whenever crates.io is queried for versions of uuid it'll also return the local version.

This means that the version number of the local checkout is significant and will affect whether the patch is used. Our manifest declared uuid = "1.0" which means we'll only resolve to >= 1.0.0, < 2.0.0, and Cargo's greedy resolution algorithm also means that we'll resolve to the maximum version within that range. Typically this doesn't matter as the version of the git repository will already be greater or match the maximum version published on crates.io, but it's important to keep this in mind!

This says that when we updated the submodule, the version number in our src/tools/rustfmt/Cargo.toml changed. The new version is different from the version in Cargo.lock, so the build can no longer continue.

To resolve this, we need to update Cargo.lock. Luckily, cargo provides a command to do this easily.

$ cargo update -p rustfmt-nightly

This should change the version listed in Cargo.lock to the new version you updated the submodule to. Running ./x.py build should work now.

Writing Documentation

Documentation improvements are very welcome. The source of doc.rust-lang.org is located in src/doc in the tree, and standard API documentation is generated from the source code itself. Documentation pull requests function in the same way as other pull requests.

To find documentation-related issues, sort by the T-doc label.

You can find documentation style guidelines in RFC 1574.

In many cases, you don't need a full ./x.py doc. You can use rustdoc directly to check small fixes. For example, rustdoc src/doc/reference.md will render reference to doc/reference.html. The CSS might be messed up, but you can verify that the HTML is right.

Additionally, contributions to the rustc-guide are always welcome. Contributions can be made directly at the rust-lang/rustc-guide repo. The issue tracker in that repo is also a great way to find things that need doing. There are issues for beginners and advanced compiler devs alike!

Issue Triage

Sometimes, an issue will stay open, even though the bug has been fixed. And sometimes, the original bug may go stale because something has changed in the meantime.

It can be helpful to go through older bug reports and make sure that they are still valid. Load up an older issue, double check that it's still true, and leave a comment letting us know if it is or is not. The least recently updated sort is good for finding issues like this.

Contributors with sufficient permissions on the Rust repo can help by adding labels to triage issues:

If you're looking for somewhere to start, check out the E-easy tag.

Out-of-tree Contributions

There are a number of other ways to contribute to Rust that don't deal with this repository.

Answer questions in the Get Help! channels from the Rust Discord server, on users.rust-lang.org, or on StackOverflow.

Participate in the RFC process.

Find a requested community library, build it, and publish it to Crates.io. Easier said than done, but very, very valuable!

Helpful Links and Information

For people new to Rust, and just starting to contribute, or even for more seasoned developers, some useful places to look for information are: