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.
  2. Enable Travis CI by logging in the respective service with your GitHub account and enabling your newly created fork. We use Travis CI for Linux-based continuous integration checks. All contributions must pass these checks to be accepted.

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/master

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

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

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 master

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 the make pretty and make pretty-check targets to automatically reformat code and check for code-style compliance, respectively. OpenThread currently requires clang-format v6.0.0 for make pretty and make pretty-check.

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

make pretty-check

Make sure to include any code format changes in your commits.

Push and Test

# Checkout your branch
git checkout <branch-name>

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

This will trigger the Travis CI continuous-integration checks. You can view the results in the respective services. Note that the integration checks will report failures on occasion. If a failure occurs, you may try rerunning the test via the Travis web UI.

Submit Pull Request

Once you've validated the Travis CI results, 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.