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Revision as of 18:26, 26 May 2020 by Dmulder (talk | contribs) (Improve statement on the Samba Copyright Policy)

How to contribute to Samba?

Like all OpenSource projects, Samba is reliant on volunteers. You don't need special skill to help this project. Everybody can help! :-)

There are several category groups you can work on, e.g.:

Submitting Patches via GitLab

The preferred method for submitting patches to samba is via the official mirror on GitLab. For more information see Samba on GitLab.

Prepare your development environment

Check out a copy of Samba locally:

git clone

You should develop new Samba features and fix bugs first in the master branch before attempting any backports.

Run the script for your operating system from bootstrap/generated-dists/ to install build dependencies and prepare your system to build samba.

First Merge Request

Making your first merge request is straight-forward, provided you follow these steps carefully.

Obtain a account

Samba development is done on so you will need to Register a new user account. You can sign in with you GitHub account if you have one

Fork the Samba repo (just until we get to know you)

First fork the samba official mirror.

In the git checkout you made earlier, add a remote for your new gitlab fork (the URL will be in the GitLab UI under the blue Clone button):

$ git remote add gitlab-$USER$USER/samba.git

Change the 1hr default CI timeout

By default projects on have a 1 hour timeout set on pipelines. This must be changed in the project settings. We suggest using a timeout of 3 hours, which is still permitted on the free runners.

Otherwise, once you push your changes back, you will see errors like this:

ERROR: Job failed: execution took longer than 1h0m0s seconds
The script exceeded the maximum execution time set for the job

Prepare your patches

Samba has coding standards, please read README.Coding in your source checkout.

Whenever participating in the Samba community, please follow and respect the guidelines in How to do Samba: Nicely

Samba Copyright Policy

Samba has a Copyright Policy that requires mandatory tags on every git commit. When preparing your patches please ensure you add Signed-off-by tags to your commits.

Samba is a project with distributed copyright ownership, which means we prefer the copyright on parts of Samba to be held by individuals rather than corporations if possible. There are historical legal reasons for this, but one of the best ways to explain it is that it's much easier to work with individuals who have ownership than corporate legal departments if we ever need to make reasonable compromises with people using and working with Samba.

A good commit message

Good commit messages are very important. Commits should always be separated in meaningful pieces. Please make sure that your commit messages include at least the following information:


s3:smbd: Add new funky shiny and groovy feature

The funky shiny and groovy feature has been added to
be able to do whatever you like. A typical usecase is the


Signed-off-by: Author <>

Include tests

Most changes to Samba should have a test to demonstrate the bug being fixed, or test the feature being added. Most tests are run using 'make test' from a Samba source tree.

Push back to GitLab and make your first merge request

Push to your repo (rather than, which will be origin) with:

$ git push gitlab-$USER -f

After pushing back to your fork on you can submit a merge request. (The push will give a URL for you to click).

The merge request will be listed for review by Samba Team members who will post comments on your merge request.

Subsequent Merge Requests (and complex first requests)

Because the Samba Team operates additional GitLab runners to support the full testsuite, we have a slightly unusual process with a single shared sandbox shared development repository, rather than the per-user fork you will have just created.

  • After your first merge request has been reviewed, and now we know you are a genuine contributor, you may be granted access to the samba devel gitlab repo.
  • If your first MR is complex, it is likely that your reviewer will push it again there (and link to the pipeline), or ask you to.
  • If you do so, just close the original MR and open a new one, saying This replaces #123 submitted from a private fork.

Likewise, subsequent merge requests should also be made from this repository.

Shared development repo: Code of conduct

Use our shared development repository only to develop Samba. Don't overwrite the work of others. Prefix branches with your gitlab username, eg:


In return you get a full CI run using Samba Team provided resources. That in turn makes it easier for Samba Team members doing Code Review as your patches will work the first time, and they can see proof of that.

If you describe your work in the branch name, this will make generating a merge request easier, as the branch name becomes the template title and allows ongoing distinct merge requests.

Step by step instructions

Add a git reference to the gitlab remote repository:

$ git remote add gitlab-ci

Name your branch for our shared repo:

$ git checkout -b $USER/foo

Push the current branch, overwriting any other changes there:

$ git push gitlab-ci -f

Pipelines, Successful tests and Debugging CI failures

Pushing branches to samba devel gitlab repo will initiate a full CI build test.

Code Review and using autobuild to merge into master

Once submitted, Samba Team members (in particular) will review your changes, and post comments to you on your merge request. Broader discussions happen on the list, so please ensure you are subscribed to samba-technical also.

Patches from non-samba team members require a minimum of 2 reviews from samba team members prior to patches being merged.

Outside contributors are welcome to review patches also, this is a good way to learn more about Samba!

Merging patches from GitLab (for Samba Team members)

If the developer has created a merge request, then to merge, download the patch with (eg)

Add review tags and then git autobuild locally. The merge button sadly doesn't work.

After the autobuild completes, please close the merge request using the git hash finally assigned in's git master in the comment like:

Merged into master as <git hash> for Samba <next version>.

See for example this closed merge request.

Mailing patches to samba-technical

A very small number of patches to Samba are contributed directly via the mailing list. To submit patches, use git format-patch and mail your patches to the samba-technical mailing list.

Please include your Signed-off-by tag per the Samba copyright policy.

The required format for patch sets is a single-file bundle attached to the email you send to the list. Bundling can be automated by invoking:

git format-patch --stdout origin/master > master-featureX-01.patches.txt

The advantages to this approach is that:

The disadvantages to this approach are that:

  • This is essentially a manual process at our end.
  • Your patches risk being missed by an interested samba team member.
  • No instant feedback to you is possible regarding compilation errors and test failures
  • CI testing is still required: A Samba developer will submit the patch to GitLab for you and advise you of the (URL to the) results.

Please submit a merge request if you can, because the latest version of your patches become persistent in our list of outstanding merge requests and so will not be forgotten.

git send-email

Using git send-email in the Samba project is not permitted. Doing so will cause, without manual work by the recipient, your patch to be credited to samba-technical@... not your own e-mail address.


We prefer that new patches for master are not submitted to Bugzilla alone, for similar reasons. Please submit the patches to GitLab instead (note the merge request in the URL on the bug).

Bugzilla is used however for the Release Branch Check-in Procedure.