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+# Contributing Guidelines
+This document attempts to outline some basic rules to follow when contributing
+to OpenBMC's IPMI stack. It does *not* outline coding style; we follow the
+[OpenBMC C++ style guide](
+for that.
+## Organizing Commits
+A good commit does exactly one thing. We prefer many small, atomic commits to
+one large commit which makes many functional changes.
+ - Too large: "convert foo to new API; also fix CVE 1234 in bar"
+ - Too small: "move abc.h to top of include list" and "move xyz.h to bottom of
+ include list"
+ - Just right: "convert foo to new API" and "convert foo from tab to space"
+Often, creating small commits this way results in a number of commits which are
+dependent on prior commits; Gerrit handles this situation well, so feel free to
+push commits which are based on your change still in review. However, when
+possible, your commit should stand alone on top of master - "Fix whitespace in
+bar()" does not need to depend on "refactor foo()". Said differently, ensure
+that topics which are not related to each other semantically are also not
+related to each other in Git until they are merged into master.
+When pushing a stack of patches (current branch is >1 commits ahead of
+origin/master), these commits will show up with that same relationship in
+gerrit. This means that each patch must be merged in order of that relationship.
+So if one of the patches in the middle needs to be changed, all the patches from
+that point on would need to be pushed to maintain the relationship. This will
+effectively rebase the unchanged patches, which would in turn trigger a new CI
+build. Ideally, changes from the entire patchset could be done all in one go to
+reduce unnecessary rebasing.
+When someone makes a comment on your commit in Gerrit, modify that commit and
+send it again to Gerrit. This typically involves `git rebase --interactive` or
+`git commit --amend`, for which there are many guides online. As mentioned in
+the paragraph above, when possible you should make changes to multiple patches
+in the same stack before you push, in order to minimize CI and notification
+churn from the rebase operations.
+Commits which include changes that can be tested by a unit test should also
+include a unit test to exercise that change, within the same commit. Unit tests
+should be clearly written - even moreso than production code, unit tests are
+meant primarily to be read by humans - and should test both good and bad
+behaviors. Refer to the
+[testing documentation](
+for help writing tests, as well as best practices.
+## Formatting Commit Messages
+Your commit message should explain:
+ - Concisely, *what* change are you making? e.g. "docs: convert from US to UK
+ spelling" This first line of your commit message is the subject line.
+ - Comprehensively, *why* are you making that change? In some cases, like a
+ small refactor, the why is fairly obvious. But in cases like the inclusion of
+ a new feature, you should explain why the feature is needed.
+ - Concisely, *how* did you test? This comes in the form of a "Tested:" footer
+ in your commit message and is required for all code changes in the IPMI
+ stack. It typically consists of copy-pasted ipmitool requests and responses.
+ When possible, use the high-level ipmitool commands (e.g. "ipmitool sensor
+ read 0x1"). In cases where that's not possible, or when testing edge or error
+ cases, it is acceptable to use "ipmitool raw" - but an explanation of your
+ output is appreciated. If the change can be validated entirely by running
+ unit tests, say so in the "Tested:" tag.
+Try to include the component you are changing at the front of your subject line;
+this typically comes in the form of the class, module, handler, or directory you
+are modifying. e.g. "apphandler: refactor foo to new API"
+Loosely, we try to follow the 50/72 rule for commit messages - that is, the
+subject line should not exceed 50 characters and the body should not exceed 72
+characters. This is common practice in many projects which use Git.
+All commit messages must include a Signed-off-by line, which indicates that you
+the contributor have agreed to the Developer Certificate of Origin. This line
+must include the name you commonly use, often a given name and a family name or
+surname. (ok: A. U. Thor, Sam Samuelsson, robert a. heinlein; not ok:
+xXthorXx, Sam, RAH)
+## Sending Patches
+Like most projects in OpenBMC, we use Gerrit to review patches. Please check
+the MAINTAINERS file to determine who needs to approve your review in order for
+your change to be merged. Submitters will need to manually add their reviewers
+in Gerrit; reviewers are not currently added automatically. Maintainers may not
+see the commit if they have not been added to the review!
+## Pace of Review
+Contributors who are used to code reviews by their team internal to their own
+company, or who are not used to code reviews at all, are sometimes surprised by
+the pace of code reviews in open source projects. Try to keep in mind that those
+reviewing your patch may be contributing to OpenBMC in a volunteer or
+partial-time capacity, may be in a timezone far removed from your own, and may
+have very deep review queues already of patches which have been waiting longer
+than yours.
+If you feel your patch has been missed entirely, of course it's
+alright to email the maintainers (addresses available in MAINTAINERS file) - but
+a reasonable timeframe to do so is on the order of a week, not on the order of
+Additionally, the IPMI stack has a set of policies for when and how changes can
+be approved; please check the MAINTAINERS file for the full list ("Change
+approval rules").
+The maintainers' job is to ensure that incoming patches are as correct and easy
+to maintain as possible. Part of the nature of open source is attrition -
+contributors can come and go easily - so maintainers tend not to put stock in
+promises such as "I will add unit tests in a later patch" or "I will be
+implementing this proposal by the end of next month." This often manifests as
+reviews which may seem harsh or exacting; please keep in mind that the community
+is trying to collaborate with you to build a patch that will benefit the project
+on its own.
+## Code of Conduct
+We enthusiastically adhere to the same
+[Code of Conduct](
+as the rest of OpenBMC. If you have any concerns, please check that document for
+guidelines on who can help you resolve them.
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