19 KB

Types of contributions

Every contribution to Org is very welcome. Here is a list of areas where your contribution will be useful:

  • you can submit bug reports -- Before sending a bug report, make
  • sure you have read this section of Org's manual: [[][Feedback]] You can also read this great text: "[[][How to Send Bug Reports Effectively]]"
  • you can submit feature requests -- Org is already mature, but new
  • ideas keep popping up. If you want to request a feature, it might be a good idea to have a look at the current [[][Issue tracking file]] which captures both bug reports and feature requests. Or dig into the mailing list for possible previous discussions about your idea. If you cannot find back your idea, formulate it as detailed as possible, if possible with examples, and send it to the mailing list.
  • you can submit patches -- You can submit patches to the mailing
  • list. See the [[For Org contributors: preferred way of submitting patches][Preferred way of submitting patches]] section for details. You can run =make test= to check that your patch does not introduce new bugs.

If your patch is against a file that is part of Emacs, then your total contribution (all patches you submit) should change less than 15 lines (See the etc/CONTRIBUTE file in GNU Emacs.) If you contribute more, you have to assign the copyright of your contribution to the Free Software Foundation (see below).

  • you can submit Org add-ons -- there are many Org add-ons.
  • The best way is to submit your code to the mailing list to discuss
  • it with people.
  • If it is useful, you might consider contributing it to the
  • =lisp/contrib/= directory in the git repository. It will be reviewed, and if it passes, it will be included. Ask help from [[][Eric Schulte]] for this step. The =lisp/contrib/= directory is somehow relaxed: it is not distributed with Emacs, and does not require a formal copyright assignment.
  • If you decide to sign the [[*Copyright issues when contributing to
  • Emacs Org mode][assignment contract with the FSF]], we might include your contribution in the distribution, and then in GNU Emacs.
  • you can submit material to the Worg website -- This website is
  • made of Org files that you can contribute to. Learn what Worg is [[][about]] and how to contribute to it [[][through git]].

Copyright issues when contributing to Emacs Org mode

Org is made of many files. Most of them are also distributed as part of GNU Emacs. These files are called the Org core, and they are all copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation, Inc. If you consider contributing to these files, your first need to grant the right to include your works in GNU Emacs to the FSF. For this you need to complete this form, and send it to The FSF will send you the assignment contract that both you and the FSF will sign. Please let the Org-mode maintainer know when this process is complete. Some people consider this assignment process a hassle. I don't want to discuss this in detail here - there are some good reasons for getting the copyright registered, an example is discussed in this FLOSS weekly podcast. Furthermore, by playing according to the Emacs rules, we gain the fantastic advantage that every version of Emacs ships with Org-mode already fully built in. So please consider doing this - it makes our work as maintainers so much easier, because we can then take your patches without any additional work.

If you want to learn more about why copyright assignments are collected, read this: Why the FSF gets copyright assignments from contributors?

By submitting patches to, or by pushing changes to the Org-mode repository, you are placing these changes under the same licensing terms as those under which GNU Emacs is published.

;; GNU Emacs 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.

If at the time you submit or push these changes you do have active copyright assignment papers with the FSF, for future changes to either Org-mode or to Emacs, this means that copyright to these changes is automatically transferred to the FSF. The Org-mode repository is seen as upstream repository for Emacs, anything contained in it can potentially end up in Emacs. If you do not have signed papers with the FSF, only changes to files in the contrib/ part of the repository will be accepted, as well as very minor changes (so-called /tiny changes/) to core files. We will ask you to sign FSF papers at the moment we attempt to move a contrib/ file into the Org core, or into Emacs.

For Org developers


  1. Send your public key to Bastien
  1. Wait for confirmation that your public key has been added to the
  2. server.

  • Clone org-mode.git repository like this:
    1. ~$ git clone
    1. Commit your changes.
    1. Run make test
    1. If the tests pass, push your changes.

    If you are undertaking big changes, please create a dedicated branch for them.

    For Org contributors: preferred way of submitting patches

    Coding conventions

    Org is part of Emacs, so any contribution should follow the GNU Emacs Lisp coding conventions described in Emacs manual.

    Sending patch with git

    Org-mode is developed using git as the version control system. Git provides an amazing framework to collaborate on a project. Git can be used to make patches and send them via email -- this is perfectly fine for major and minor changes.

    When sending a patch (either using git diff or git format-patch) please always add a properly formatted Emacs ChangeLog entry. See this section for details on how to create such a ChangeLog.

    Sending commits

    For every patch you send, we suggest to use git format-patch.

    This is easy for small patches and more consequent ones. Sometimes, you might even want to work in several steps and send each commit separately. Here is the suggested workflow:

      ~$ git pull                 # make sure your repo is up to date
      ~$ git branch my-changes    # create a new branch from master
      ~$ git checkout my-changes  # switch to this new branch

    ... make some changes (1) ...

      ~$ git commit -a -m "This is change (1)"  # Commit your change

    ... make another change (2) ...

      ~$ git commit -a -m "This is change (2)"  # Commit your change
      ~$ git format-patch master                # Creates two patches

    ... Then two patches for your two commits are ready to be sent to the list.

    Write useful commit messages: please provide 1) a reason for it in your email and 2) a ChangeLog entry in the commit message (see this section on how to format a ChangeLog entry.)

    Sending quick fixes for testing purpose

    If you want to send a quick fix that needs to be further tested by other people (before you submit a real patch), here is how you can do:

    This command will make a patch between the staging area (in your computer), and the file you modified:

    git diff -p org-whatever.el > org-whatever.el.diff

    If you already committed your changes to your index (staging area), then you should compare against a particular branch (in this example, origin/master):

    git diff -p origin/master org-whatever.el > org-whatever.el.diff

    You email the output to the mailing list, adding [PATCH] to the subject, and description of what you fixed or changed.

    Note that small patches sent like this still need to have a ChangeLog entry to be applied. If your patch looks good to you, it's always better to send a patch through git format-patch.

    Sharing changes from a public branch

    For more significant contributions, the best way to submit patches is through public branches of your repository clone.

    1. Clone our git repository at
    2. You can clone using any of the commands below.

    git clone git://

    git clone

    The url using the git protocol is preferred. If you are behind a firewall that blocks git://, you can use the http url.

    1. Create a repository that can be publicly accessed, for example on
    2. /GitHub/, /, or on your own server.
    1. Push your topic branches (and optionally the master branch) to your
    2. public repository.

    Define a remote for your public repository you push topics to.

    git remote add REMOTE URL-GOES-HERE

    Push branches to the remote

    git push REMOTE BRANCH1 [BRANCH2 BRANCH3 ...]


    git remote add github ssh://.../     # Done once to define the remote 'github'
    git push github my-topic
    1. Do your work on topic-specific branches, using a branch name that
    2. relates to what you are working on.
    1. Often do

    git remote update

    to pull commits from all defined remote repositories, in particular the org-mode master at

    1. When you have something workable, publish the git path and branch
    2. name on the mailing list, so that people can test it and review your work.
    1. After your topic has been merged to the project master branch you
    2. can delete the topic on your local and remote repositories.

    git branch -d NEWTOPIC

    git push REMOTE :NEWTOPIC

    The instructions above are generally useful to let people test new features before sending the patch series to the mailing list, but the patches remain the preferred way of receiving contributions.

    Commit messages and ChangeLog entries

    :PROPERTIES: :ID: c526dfd7-2b0c-4b66-9deb-6e442e4870 :END:

    We have decided to no longer keep a ChangeLog file to record changes to individual functions.

    A commit message should be constructed in the following way:

    • Line 1 of the commit message should always be a short description of
    • the overall change. Line 1 does /not/ get a dot at the end and does not start with a star. Generally, it starts with the filename that has been changed, followed by a colon.
    • Line 2 is an empty line.
    • In line 3, the ChangeLog entry should start. A ChangeLog entry
    • looks like [[][this]]:

    * org-timer.el (org-timer-cancel-timer, org-timer-stop): Enhance

    message. (org-timer-set-timer): Use the number of minutes in the Effort property as the default timer value. Three prefix arguments will ignore the Effort value property.
    • After the changelog, another empty line should come before any
    • additional information that the committer wishes to provide in order to explain the patch.
    • If the change is a minor change made by a committer without
    • copyright assignment to the FSF, the commit message should also contain the cookie =TINYCHANGE= (anywhere in the message). When we later produce the ChangeLog file for Emacs, the change will be marked appropriately.
    • Variables and functions names are quoted like `this' (backquote and
    • single quote).
    • Sentences should be separated by two spaces.
    • Sentences should start with an uppercase letter.
    • Avoid the passive form: i.e., use "change" instead of "changed".

    Here is an example for such a message:

    org-capture.el: Fix the case of using a template file

    ,* lisp/org-capture.el (org-capture-set-plist): Make sure txt is a string before calling `string-match'. (org-capture-templates): Fix customization type.

    ,* doc/org.texi (Capture): Document using a file for a template.

    The problem here was that a wrong keyword was given in the customization type. This let to a string-match against a list value.

    Modified from a patch proposal by Johan Friis.


    If you are using magit.el in Emacs, the ChangeLog for such entries are easily produced by pressing C in the diff listing.

    Another option to produce the entries is to use `C-x 4 a' in the changed function or in the diff listing. This will create entries in the ChangeLog file, and you can then cut and paste these to the commit message and remove the indentation.

    Copyrighted contributors to Org mode

    Here is the list of people who have contributed actual code to the Org-mode core. Note that the manual contains a more extensive list with acknowledgments, including contributed ideas! The lists below are mostly for house keeping, to help the maintainers keep track of copyright issues.

    Current contributors

    :PROPERTIES: :CUSTOM_ID: contributors_with_fsf_papers :END:

    Here is the list of people who signed the papers with the Free Software Foundation and can now freely submit code to Org files that are included within GNU Emacs:

    1. Aaron Ecay
    2. Abdó Roig-Maranges
    3. Achim Gratz
    4. Adam Elliott
    5. Adam Spiers
    6. Alan Schmitt
    7. Alexey Lebedeff
    8. Andreas Burtzlaff
    9. Andreas Leha
    10. Andrew Hyatt
    11. Andrzej Lichnerowicz
    12. Andy Steward
    13. Anthony John Day
    14. Anthony Lander
    15. Arni Magnusson
    16. Baoqiu Cui
    17. Barry Leonard Gidden
    18. Bastien Guerry
    19. Benjamin Andresen
    20. Bernd Grobauer
    21. Bernt Hansen
    22. Brian James Gough
    23. Brice Waegenire
    24. Carsten Dominik
    25. Charles Berry
    26. Charles Sebold
    27. Christian Egli
    28. Christian Moe
    29. Christopher League
    30. Christopher Miles Gray
    31. Christopher Schmidt
    32. Christopher Suckling
    33. Dan Davison
    34. Daniel M German
    35. Daniel M. Hackney
    36. David Arroyo Menéndez
    37. David Maus
    38. David O'Toole
    39. Dieter Schoen
    40. Dima Kogan
    41. Dmitry Antipov
    42. Eric Abrahamsen
    43. Eric S. Fraga
    44. Eric Schulte
    45. Erik Hetzner
    46. Erik Iverson
    47. Ethan Ligon
    48. Feng Shu
    49. Francesco Pizzolante
    50. Gary Oberbrunner
    51. Georg Lehner
    52. George Kettleborough
    53. Giovanni Ridolfi
    54. Grégoire Jadi (aka Daimrod)
    55. Gustav Wikström
    56. Henning Dietmar Weiss
    57. Ian Barton
    58. Ian Kelling
    59. Ilya Shlyakhter
    60. Ippei Furuhashi
    61. James TD Smith
    62. Jan Böcker
    63. Jan Malakhovski
    64. Jarmo Hurri
    65. Jason Riedy
    66. Jay Kerns
    67. Jeffrey Ryan Horn
    68. Joe Corneli
    69. Joel Boehland
    70. John Kitchin
    71. John Wiegley
    72. Jon Snader
    73. Jonas Bernoulli
    74. Jonathan Leech-Pepin
    75. Juan Pechiar
    76. Julian Gehring
    77. Julien Barnier
    78. Julien Danjou
    79. Justin Gordon
    80. Justus Piater
    81. Karl Fogel
    82. Kodi Arfer
    83. Konstantin Antipin
    84. Kyle Meyer
    85. Lawrence Mitchell
    86. Le Wang
    87. Lennart Borgman
    88. Leonard Avery Randall
    89. Luis Anaya
    90. Lukasz Stelmach
    91. Madan Ramakrishnan
    92. Magnus Henoch
    93. Manuel Giraud
    94. Marco Wahl
    95. Martin Pohlack
    96. Martyn Jago
    97. Matt Lundin
    98. Max Mikhanosha
    99. Michael Albinus
    100. Michael Brand
    101. Michael Gauland
    102. Michael Sperber
    103. Miguel A. Figueroa-Villanueva
    104. Mikael Fornius
    105. Moritz Ulrich
    106. Nathan Neff
    107. Nicholas Dokos
    108. Nicolas Berthier
    109. Nicolas Goaziou
    110. Nicolas Richard
    111. Niels Giessen
    112. Nikolai Weibull
    113. Noorul Islam K M
    114. Oleh Krehel
    115. Paul Sexton
    116. Pedro Alexandre Marcelino Costa da Silva
    117. Peter Jones
    118. Phil Jackson
    119. Philip Rooke
    120. Pieter Praet
    121. Piotr Zielinski
    122. Puneeth Chaganti
    123. Rainer M Krug
    124. Rasmus Pank Roulund
    125. Richard Klinda
    126. Richard Riley
    127. Rick Frankel
    128. Russel Adams
    129. Ryo Takaishi
    130. Rüdiger Sonderfeld
    131. Sacha Chua
    132. Samuel Loury
    133. Sebastian Rose
    134. Sebastien Vauban
    135. Sergey Litvinov
    136. Seweryn Kokot
    137. Stephen Eglen
    138. Steven Rémot
    139. Suvayu Ali
    140. T.F. Torrey
    141. Tassilo Horn
    142. Thierry Banel
    143. Thomas Baumann
    144. Thomas Holst
    145. Thomas S. Dye
    146. Thorsten Jolitz
    147. Tim Burt
    148. Titus von der Malsburg
    149. Toby Cubitt
    150. Tokuya Kameshima
    151. Tom Breton
    152. Tomas Hlavaty
    153. Tony Day
    154. Trevor Murphy
    155. Ulf Stegemann
    156. Vitalie Spinu
    157. Yann Hodique
    158. Yasushi Shoji
    159. Yoshinari Nomura
    160. Yuri D. Lensky
    161. Zhang Weize
    162. Zhuo Qingliang (Killy Draw)


    These people have been asked to sign the papers, and they are currently considering it or a request is being processed by the FSF.

    • Bill Wishon
    • Mats Kindahl (as of 2013-04-06) for this patch
    • Georg Lehner (as of 2013-06-27)
    • Kodi Arfer (as of 2013-06-29)

    Tiny Changes

    These people have submitted tiny change patches that made it into Org without FSF papers. When they submit more, we need to get papers eventually. The limit is a cumulative change of 20 non-repetitive change lines. Details are given in this document.

    1. Aman Yang
    2. Andrew Burgess
    3. Andy Lutomirski
    4. Anthony Cowley
    5. Arun Persaud
    6. Aurélien Aptel
    7. Austin Walker
    8. Craig Tanis
    9. Derek Feichtinger
    10. Federico Beffa
    11. Feng Zhou
    12. Fernando Varesi
    13. Florian Beck
    14. Greg Tucker-Kellogg
    15. Gregor Zattler
    16. Hiroshi Saito
    17. Ivan Vilata i Balaguer
    18. Jacob Gerlach
    19. Jacob Matthews
    20. Jan Seeger
    21. Joe Hirn
    22. John Foerch
    23. Jon Miller
    24. Jonas Hörsch
    25. Joost Diepenmaat
    26. Kodi Arfer
    27. Leslie Harlley Watter
    28. Luke Amdor
    29. Mario Frasca
    30. Matthew Gidden
    31. Matthew MacLean
    32. Michael O'Connor
    33. Michael Weylandt
    34. Mike McLean
    35. Miro Bezjak
    36. Moritz Kiefer
    37. Muchenxuan Tong
    38. Myles English
    39. Myq Larson
    40. Nathaniel Flath
    41. Nick Gunn
    42. Peter Feigl
    43. Peter Moresi
    44. Philip (Pip Cet)
    45. Rafael Laboissiere
    46. Richard Hansen
    47. Richard Lawrence
    48. Richard Y. Kim (Kim)
    49. Robert P. Goldman
    50. Roberto Huelga
    51. Ruben Maher
    52. Sami Airaksinen
    53. Saulius Menkevičius
    54. Sergey Gordienko
    55. Stefan-W. Hahn
    56. Sylvain Chouleur
    57. Teika Kazura
    58. Thierry Pellé
    59. Thomas Alexander Gerds
    60. Tom Hinton
    61. Vicente Vera Parra
    62. Viktor Rosenfeld
    63. Vladimir Lomov
    64. York Zhao
    65. Zane D. Purvis

    (This list may be incomplete - please help completing it.)

    No FSF assignment

    These people cannot or prefer to not sign the FSF copyright papers, and we can only accept patches that do not change the core files (the ones that are also in Emacs).

    Luckily, this list is still empty.