Contributing to OpenThread

We would love for you to contribute to OpenThread and help make it even better than it is today! As a contributor, here are the guidelines we would like you to follow.

Code of Conduct

Help us keep OpenThread open and inclusive. Please read and follow our Code of Conduct.


If you find a bug in the source code, you can help us by submitting a GitHub Issue. The best bug reports provide a detailed description of the issue and step-by-step instructions for predictably reproducing the issue. Even better, you can submit a Pull Request with a fix.

New Features

You can request a new feature by submitting a GitHub Issue.

If you would like to implement a new feature, please consider the scope of the new feature:

  • Large feature: first submit a GitHub Issue and communicate your proposal so that the community can review and provide feedback. Getting early feedback will help ensure your implementation work is accepted by the community. This will also allow us to better coordinate our efforts and minimize duplicated effort.

  • Small feature: can be implemented and directly submitted as a Pull Request.

Contributing Code

The OpenThread Project follows the “Fork-and-Pull” model for accepting contributions.

Initial Setup

Setup your GitHub fork and continuous-integration services:

  1. Fork the OpenThread repository by clicking “Fork” on the web UI.

Setup your local development environment:

# Clone your fork
git clone<username>/openthread.git

# Configure upstream alias
git remote add upstream

Contributor License Agreement (CLA)

Contributions to this project must be accompanied by a Contributor License Agreement. You (or your employer) retain the copyright to your contribution; this simply gives us permission to use and redistribute your contributions as part of the project. Head over to to see your current agreements on file or to sign a new one.

You generally only need to submit a CLA once, so if you‘ve already submitted one (even if it was for a different project), you probably don’t need to do it again.

Submitting a Pull Request


For each new feature, create a working branch:

# Create a working branch for your new feature
git branch --track <branch-name> origin/main

# Checkout the branch
git checkout <branch-name>

Create Commits

# Add each modified file you'd like to include in the commit
git add <file1> <file2>

# Create a commit
git commit

This will open up a text editor where you can craft your commit message.

Upstream Sync and Clean Up

Prior to submitting your pull request, you might want to do a few things to clean up your branch and make it as simple as possible for the original repo's maintainer to test, accept, and merge your work.

If any commits have been made to the upstream main branch, you should rebase your development branch so that merging it will be a simple fast-forward that won't require any conflict resolution work.

# Fetch upstream main and merge with your repo's main branch
git checkout main
git pull upstream main

# If there were any new commits, rebase your development branch
git checkout <branch-name>
git rebase main

Now, it may be desirable to squash some of your smaller commits down into a small number of larger more cohesive commits. You can do this with an interactive rebase:

# Rebase all commits on your development branch
git checkout
git rebase -i main

This will open up a text editor where you can specify which commits to squash.

Coding Conventions and Style

OpenThread uses and enforces the OpenThread Coding Conventions and Style on all code, except for code located in third_party. Use script/make-pretty and script/make-pretty check to automatically reformat code and check for code-style compliance, respectively. OpenThread currently requires clang-format v9.0.0 for C/C++ and yapf v0.31.0 for Python.

As part of the cleanup process, you should also run script/make-pretty check to ensure that your code passes the baseline code style checks.

Push and Test

# Checkout your branch
git checkout <branch-name>

# Push to your GitHub fork:
git push origin <branch-name>

This will trigger continuous-integration checks using GitHub Actions. You can view the status and logs via the “Actions” tab in your fork.

Submit Pull Request

Once you've validated that all continuous-integration checks have passed, go to the page for your fork on GitHub, select your development branch, and click the pull request button. If you need to make any adjustments to your pull request, just push the updates to GitHub. Your pull request will automatically track the changes on your development branch and update.

Checks fail

Once you've submitted a pull request, all continuous-integration checks are triggered again. If some of these checks fail, it could be either problems with the pull request or an intermittent failure of some test cases. For more information on the failure, check the output and download artifacts. (After all jobs in one group are completed, an Artifacts button appears beside the Re-run jobs button.) If the failure is intermittent, the check will usually pass after rerunning once or twice.

We want to eliminate intermittent failures as well, so when you experience such a failure, please log an issue and attach any relevant artifacts. If the artifacts are too big, provide the link of the failed run (do not rerun checks again, or it will be overwritten). Alternatively, upload the artifacts to a file-sharing service like Google Drive and share a link to it.

Analyze core dumps in failed checks

For some checks, core dumps for crashed programs are uploaded as artifacts in a failed check. Besides core dumps, binaries and shared libraries are also uploaded so that we can analyze the dumps locally. To analyze the dumps, download the artifact core-xxx and unzip it. The package is in the following format:

|-- build
|   `-- cmake
|       `-- openthread-simulation-1.2
|           `-- examples
|               `-- apps
|                   `-- cli
|                       |-- ot-cli-ftd
|                       `-- ot-cli-mtd
|-- ot-core-dump
|   `-- corefile-ot-cli-ftd-11323-1606274703
`-- so-lib

Once unzipped:

  1. cd to the unzipped directory
  2. Run gdb build/cmake/openthread-simulation-1.2/examples/apps/cli/ot-cli-ftd ./ot-core-dump/corefile-ot-cli-ftd-XXX.
  3. Set the absolute path of so-lib. In gdb, run set solib-absolute-prefix /ABSOLUTE/PATH/TO/so-lib/, then run set solib-search-path /ABSOLUTE/PATH/TO/so-lib/.
  4. In gdb, run backtrace or bt. Then you should see the stack of the crashed program. Find and fix the problem!

Contributing Documentation

Documentation undergoes the same review process as code and contributions may be mirrored on our website.

Codelabs and Guides

To review and contribute to OpenThread Codelabs and Guides, refer to the following GitHub repositories:

For information on how to author and format documentation for contribution, refer to the Documentation Style Guide.

API Reference topics

API Reference topics use Doxygen comment blocks to render the HTML output on OpenThread scripts support the following Doxygen special commands:

  • @file
  • @brief
  • @param
  • @returns

You can find most of these comments in the OpenThread header files. To review an example, refer to border_agent.h. The Doxygen comments in border_agent.h output the Border Agent reference topic on For more information, refer to Comments in the OpenThread Coding Conventions and Style guide.