Contributing to Alacritty

Thank you for your interest in contributing to Alacritty!

Table of Contents:

  1. Feature Requests
  2. Bug Reports
  3. Patches / Pull Requests
    1. Testing
    2. Performance
    3. Documentation
    4. Style
  4. Release Process
  5. Contact

Feature Requests

Feature requests should be reported in the Alacritty issue tracker. To reduce the number of duplicates, please make sure to check the existing enhancement and missing feature issues.

Bug Reports

Bug reports should be reported in the Alacritty issue tracker.

If a bug was not present in a previous version of Alacritty, providing the exact commit which introduced the regression helps out a lot.

Patches / Pull Requests

All patches have to be sent on Github as pull requests.

If you are looking for a place to start contributing to Alacritty, take a look at the help wanted and easy issues.

Please note that the minimum supported version of Alacritty is Rust 1.37.0. All patches are expected to work with the minimum supported version.


To make sure no regressions were introduced, all tests should be run before sending a pull request. The following command can be run to test Alacritty:

cargo test

Additionally if there‘s any functionality included which would lend itself to additional testing, new tests should be added. These can either be in the form of Rust tests using the #[test] annotation, or Alacritty’s ref tests.

To record a new ref test, a release version of the patched binary should be created and run with the --ref-test flag. After closing the Alacritty window, or killing it (exit and ^D do not work), some new files should have been generated in the working directory. Those can then be copied to the ./tests/ref/NEW_TEST_NAME directory and the test can be enabled by editing the ref_tests! macro in the ./tests/ file. When fixing a bug, it should be checked that the ref test does not complete correctly with the unpatched version, to make sure the test case is covered properly.


If changes could affect throughput or latency of Alacritty, these aspects should be benchmarked to prevent potential regressions. Since there are often big performance differences between Rust‘s nightly releases, it’s advised to perform these tests on the latest Rust stable release.

Alacritty mainly uses the vtebench tool for testing Alacritty's performance. Instructions on how to use it can be found in its README.

Latency is another important factor for Alacritty. On X11, Windows, and macOS the typometer tool allows measuring keyboard latency.


Code should be documented where appropriate. The existing code can be used as a guidance here and the general rustfmt rules can be followed for formatting.

If any change has been made to the file, these changes should also be documented in the example configuration file alacritty.yml.

Changes compared to the latest Alacritty release which have a direct effect on the user (opposed to things like code refactorings or documentation/tests) additionally need to be documented in the The existing entries should be used as a style guideline. The change log should be used to document changes from a user-perspective, instead of explaining the technical background (like commit messages). More information about Alacritty's change log format can be found here.


All Alacritty changes are automatically verified by CI to conform to its rustfmt guidelines. If a CI build is failing because of formatting issues, you can install rustfmt using rustup component add rustfmt and then format all code using cargo fmt.

Release Process

Alacritty's release process aims to provide stable and well tested releases without having to hold back new features during the testing period.

To achieve these goals, a new branch is created for every new release. Both the release candidates and the final version are only comitted and tagged in this branch. The master branch only tracks development versions, allowing us to keep the branches completely separate without merging releases back into master.

The exact steps for an exemplary 1.2.3 release might look like this:

  1. Initially, the version on the latest master is 1.2.3-dev
  2. A new v1.2.3 branch is created for the release
  3. On master, the version is bumped to 1.2.4-dev and the -dev is stripped from previous change log entries
  4. In the branch, the version is bumped to 1.2.3-rc1
  5. The new commit in the branch is tagged as v1.2.3-rc1
  6. A GitHub release is created for the v1.2.3-rc1 tag
  7. The changelog since the last release (stable or RC) is added to the GitHub release description
  8. Bug fixes are cherry-picked from master into the branch and steps 4-7 are repeated until no major issues are found in the release candidates
  9. In the branch, the version is bumped to 1.2.3
  10. The new commit in the branch is tagged as v1.2.3
  11. A GitHub release is created for the v1.2.3 tag
  12. The changelog since the last stable release (not RC) is added to the GitHub release description


If there are any outstanding questions about contributing to Alacritty, they can be asked on the Alacritty issue tracker.

As a more immediate and direct form of communication, the Alacritty IRC channel (#alacritty on Freenode) can be used to contact many of the Alacritty contributors.