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Community Contributions

We’re glad you want to contribute to a Chef project! This guide will help answer common questions you may have during your first contribution.

Submitting Issues

Not every contribution comes in the form of code. Submitting, confirming, and triaging issues is an important task for any project. At Chef we use GitHub to track all project issues.

If you are familiar with Chef projects and know the component that is causing you a problem, you can file an issue in the corresponding GitHub project. All of our Open Source Software can be found in our GitHub organizations. All projects include GitHub issue templates to help gather information needed for a thorough review. The Chef GitHub organizations are:

We ask you not to submit security concerns using GitHub. For details on submitting potential security issues please see our Security Issue Guidelines.

In addition to GitHub issues, we also use a feedback site that helps our product team track and rank feature requests. If you have a feature request, this is an excellent place to start.

The following repositories are the preferred locations for the creation of issues and bug reports:

Chef Automate
Chef Infra Server
Chef Documentation
Chef Workstation
Chef Desktop
Chef Effortless
Chef Habitat
Chef InSpec
Chef InSpec Alibaba Cloud Resources
Chef InSpec AWS Resources
Chef InSpec Azure Resources
Chef InSpec Kubernetes Resources
Chef License Service
Chef Supermarket

For additional support about Chef products, including documentation, learning, and opening tickets with the support team, see Chef Support .


If you require a response from Chef for each the terms of a support level agreement (SLA), please contact Chef Support directly.


Questions on how to use Chef Infra should be sent as Support Tickets if you have an SLA, or asked on the Chef Software Mailing List, or Chef Community Slack. Bug Trackers are not appropriate for general purpose questions that are not bugs.

Contribution Process

We have a 4 step process for contributions:

  1. Fork the project repository to your own GitHub account.
  2. Commit your changes to your fork, making sure to sign-off those changes for the Developer Certificate of Origin with git commit -s
  3. Create a GitHub Pull Request for your change, following the instructions in the pull request template.
  4. Perform a Code Review with the project maintainers on the pull request.

About the Apache License

Chef uses the Apache License Version 2 because it provides the same level of freedom for our users that we desire for ourselves. Based upon the Apache Licensing FAQ, it allows you to:

  • freely download and use Chef software, in whole or in part, for personal, company internal, or commercial purposes;
  • use Chef software in packages or distributions that you create.

It forbids you to:

  • redistribute any piece of Chef-originated software without proper attribution;
  • use any marks owned by Chef in any way that might state or imply that Chef endorses your distribution;
  • use any marks owned by Chef in any way that might state or imply that you created the Chef software in question.

It requires you to:

  • include a copy of the license in any redistribution you may make that includes Chef software;
  • provide clear attribution to Chef for any distributions that include Chef software; attribution can be done in the NOTICE file for an application, by adding yourself as an author/copyright holder to the HEADER for an individual file, and by placing text in a header file saying that new work is based on previous work
  • reuse work as long as the licensing terms of the reused work remains unchanged (that is, the Apache License Version 2 also applies to the reused work)

It does not require you to:

  • include the source of the Chef software itself, or of any modifications you may have made to it, in any redistribution you may assemble that includes it;
  • submit changes that you make to the software back to Chef (though such feedback is encouraged).

It is our goal to run a successful, truly open source business. To that end, we are protecting our own rights by making them explicit in our choice of licensing: you have the same rights to our open source software that we do.

Developer Certification of Origin (DCO)

To make a good faith effort to ensure the criteria of the Apache License are met, Chef requires the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) process to be followed.

The DCO is an attestation attached to every contribution made by every developer. In the commit message of the contribution, the developer simply adds a Signed-off-by statement and thereby agrees to the DCO, which you can find below or at

Developer's Certificate of Origin 1.1

By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:

(a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me and I
    have the right to submit it under the open source license
    indicated in the file; or

(b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the
    best of my knowledge, is covered under an appropriate open
    source license and I have the right under that license to
    submit that work with modifications, whether created in whole
    or in part by me, under the same open source license (unless
    I am permitted to submit under a different license), as
    Indicated in the file; or

(c) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other
    person who certified (a), (b) or (c) and I have not modified

(d) I understand and agree that this project and the contribution
    are public and that a record of the contribution (including
    all personal information I submit with it, including my
    sign-off) is maintained indefinitely and may be redistributed
    consistent with this project or the open source license(s)

Chef does not merge any pull requests made against a Chef-managed open source repository until each commit has been signed for the DCO, with three exceptions:

  • “Obvious Fixes” (as described below)
  • Pull requests made against the documentation repository (
  • Pull requests that contain only documentation updates made against projects where the documentation is embedded in the project’s repository (that is, the docs directory in the chef/inspec repository)

The “Obvious Fix” Rule

Chef’s contribution policy is aimed at encouraging broad participation from our community, and minimizing risks to Chef and our community due to inappropriate contributions of the intellectual property of others.

As a general standard, Chef requires every contribution to by signed for the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO).

HOWEVER, small contributions such as fixing spelling errors, where the content is small enough to not be considered intellectual property, can be submitted by a contributor as a patch, without a DCO sign-off. If you submit an obvious fix without a DCO sign-off, then you are agreeing that your submission is not independently copyrightable. The purpose of this exception is to lower the barrier for new contributors to make contributions while retaining the integrity of the project and our community.

How does the Obvious Fix Rule Work?

Any committer may commit fixes without a DCO sign-off for obvious typos, grammar mistakes, and formatting problems wherever they may be * in the web pages, API documentation, source code, etc.

Whenever you invoke the “obvious fix” rule, please say so in your commit message. For example:

commit 370adb3f82d55d912b0cf9c1d1e99b132a8ed3b5
Author: Haris Shefu <>
Date:   Wed Sep 18 11:44:40 2015 -0700

  Fix typo in the README.

  Obvious fix.


What qualifies as an Obvious Fix?

An obvious fix is a pull request that does not contain creative work. We rely on your judgment to determine what is “obvious”; if you’re not sure, just ask by sending an email to: oss AT getchef DOT com.

As a rule of thumb, changes are obvious fixes if they do not introduce any new functionality or creative thinking. As long as the change does not affect functionality, some likely examples include the following:

  • Spelling/grammar fixes;
  • Correcting typos;
  • Cleaning up comments in the code;
  • Changes to white space or formatting;
  • Bug fixes that change default return values or error codes stored in constants, literals, or simple variable types;
  • Adding logging messages or debugging output;
  • Changes to ‘metadata’ files like Gemfile, rebar.config, Makefile, app.config, sys.config, .gitignore, example configuration files, build scripts, etc.;
  • Changes that reflect outside facts, like renaming a build directory or changing a constant;
  • Changes in build or installation scripts;
  • Re-ordering of objects or subroutines within a source file (such as alphabetizing routines);
  • Moving source files from one directory or package to another, with no changes in code;
  • Breaking a source file into multiple source files, or consolidating multiple source files into one source file, with no change in code behavior;
  • Changes to words or phrases isolated from their context;
  • Changes to typeface.

Things that would still require a DCO sign-off before submitting would likely include stuff like the following:

  • Any of the above actions that result in a change in functionality;
  • A new feature;
  • A translation;
  • Extensive or creative comments.
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