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Orion/Contributing Code

The Orion project welcomes code contributions from the public. This page details how to set up a work environment and submit code changes for review and inclusion by a committer. It also describes the process for accepting these changes if you are a committer.

For contributors

Welcome! Thanks for helping us out. We have an understood method for earning your commit rights to the Orion code base. Our overall description is as follows:

Potential committers must have at least 5 reasonable commits, reviewed by 3 different existing committers, over a minimum of 6 weeks of contributions. A review of potential committers will be carried out at the end of each Milestone and at the end of the current release cycle.

Even if you don't become a full-blown committer, you can always contribute on a case-by-case basis, whether by fixing a few bugs or helping us drive the technology forward by focusing on a particular component. Here are the basic steps for finding the most common type of contribution.

Identify an opportunity

For a list of currently-open Orion bugs see the Eclipse Bugzilla database. If a bug's Assignee is an "inbox" name (e.g. "") then it has not been assigned to anyone yet, and is a good candidate for investigation. If you plan to fix a bug in Orion that does not already have a bug report then be sure to first log a report, and in the initial comment specify that you are investigating a fix for it. This report should be logged up-front so that if the bug is not one that should be fixed (for example, it is actually working as designed, its component is in the midst of a re-write, etc.), then a committer can add a follow-up comment indicating that the bug is not worth investigating.

New features/enhancements can also be contributed, but for these it is important that a committer comment in its bug report indicate that the feature is desirable. The potential for feature work in any project is limitless, but not all features are good fits, so a feature that was not pre-approved by a committer risks not being ultimately accepted.

Set up a Git repository

The first step is to establish a Git repository. The remainder of this page assumes that GitHub is being used to host your repository, since it is a well-established Git hosting service and the Orion repository is mirrored there. However using GitHub is not a strict requirement.

Once you are logged in to your user account on GitHub, start by navigating to and then creating forks of the and/or repositories. These repositories will initially contain the latest Orion code in their "master" branch, and will eventually receive your code changes for submission.

Github Fork Screenshot

You should also update your GitHub profile with your picture by using an avatar from All your commits in the UI will contain your user image and you do not want to see a gray GitHub octocat mascot image in it's place.

Clone your GitHub repository

The next step is to clone your newly-created GitHub repositories into your work environment. For example, if you are planning to use Orion to develop Orion client-side code then you will clone the GitHub repository. Alternatively, if you will be developing Orion server-side code then you will likely use Eclipse as your development environment, and either EGit or command-line Git for cloning your GitHub repository locally.

You can follow Clone the client and server Git repositories into Eclipse

From the command line:

% git clone
% git clone

You can now load the retrieved project(s) from your cloned repository into your workspace.

Create a branch for your work

Before you begin hacking, be sure to create a new branch for your work on this particular task. This branch is where you will ultimately make your changes available from.

To create and switch to the branch in Orion, there is a New Branch link on the Git Repositories page. In Eclipse, select a project, right click and select Team > Switch To > New Branch.

From the command line:

% git branch <name_of_your_new_branch>
% git checkout <name_of_your_new_branch>

If you miss this step and start committing changes on the master branch, see Strange commit: Merge remote-tracking branch 'upstream/master'

Sign the Eclipse CLA

If you have not done it already, you must:

  1. Create an account at
  2. Log in, and sign the Contributor License Agreement (CLA) form.

The CLA must be signed before we can accept your contribution. But on the bright side, this only has to be done once.

Commit your changes

When your changes are ready for submission, you first commit them to your cloned Git repository in your branch. Your commit message should include the bug number and title at the beginning and must include a signoff line at the end, which looks like this:

Bug 439556 - nonnlsPlugin only does half the job

... any comments or descriptions about this change
... any comments or descriptions about this change

Signed-off-by: Your Name <>

The signoff line, and the Git Author field, must use the same email address as your Eclipse account.

Having done this, it's also a good idea to ensure that your changes are up to date with the ongoing development in the master branch. See Keeping up to date for information. Once your commit is up to date on the latest code and the fix is retested, then please push the commit to your GitHub repository. For detailed information on using Orion's Git facilities see the Orion User Guide.

Submit your changes to Gerrit

Now that Orion has moved all development to GitHub, Gerrit is no longer used to accept contributions.

Submit your changes through GitHub

Creating a pull request is the preferred method to contribute your code to Orion. If you are not quite sure how to do this, have a look at this page for a detailed description on doing so.

Once you have submitted your pull request, add a comment to the Orion bug report indicating that you have changes that you would like someone to review. Please make sure to also include a link to the PR in the bug report.

For Orion Committers

Finding bugs to review

You can locate all bugs awaiting review with the following bugzilla query. Edit this query to narrow down to specific contributors, dates, etc.

Hopefully this will get simpler in the future.

Accepting a contribution from GitHub pull request

These steps assume that the contributor sent out a valid pull request (in the following example we use the client repo, but the same steps apply for the server, node and electron repos).

  1. From the pull request, find the commit id.
  2. Use this format of URL : YourOrionServer/git/reviewRequest.html# and paste it in a browser. If it is a server code contribution, change the orion.client.git part to orion.server.git.
  3. Now you are in the Orion review request page. Expand the Attach the remote to one of your existing repositories section.
  4. Find your Orion repository and use Add a new remote to your repository command on the right hand side.
  5. Now you will see a new section The commit can be found in the following repositories. Expand it and you will see the contributor's commit is there.
  6. Use the Open Commit link on the right hand side, which brings you to the git commit page.
  7. Review and compare the changes. If the code is OK, then use the Cherry-Pick command to pick it up in your active branch.
  8. Go to git status page and push it into your Orion remote repository.
  9. In the future when bug 395824 is fixed, the above steps will be simpler.

Git tips

Keeping up to date

From time to time you will want to synchronize your forked repositories with the latest changes in the repositories at To do this, we need to add a remote that points to the upstream repository.

In Orion, you can add a remote to each clone using the button on the repositories page.

In Eclipse, each clone in the Git Repositories view has a list of remotes and you can add a remote by right clicking there.

From the command line:

% git remote add upstream
% git remote add upstream

Once complete, to verify you should see:

% cd ../orion.server/
% git remote -v
origin (fetch)
origin (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)
% cd ../orion.client/
% git remote -v
origin (fetch)
origin (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)

You can now bring in the latest changes. Using the command line: First make sure we are on the master branch:

% git checkout master
Switched to branch 'master'

Bring in the latest changes from both remotes:

% git fetch
% git fetch upstream


% git remote update -p

Then merge into your local branch:

git merge upstream/master

You can then push the changes to GitHub:

git push

Similarly from Orion and Eclipse the above fetch, merge and push commands are available on the repositories page in Orion and from the Team menu when selecting a project in Eclipse.

Strange commit: Merge remote-tracking branch 'upstream/master'

Suppose you have your clone of a repository on GitHub and you pushed changes to master rather than working in a branch. Subsequently, when you push to your clone, you will see in your commits log:

Merge remote-tracking branch 'upstream/master'

Git is downloading the other developer's commits and then merging them into your local branch.

This merge does not break anything, but it is desirable to have a clean master branch with only commits from the original repository and a clean commit log.

To fix, you can move any old commits to a new branch and then restore your master branch to be exactly the same as upstream/master:

Create a new branch containing all your work currently in master:

% git branch my-work-done master

Then reset master to upstream's view:

% git reset --hard origin/master

Using rebase, Git's expert mode

The Git rebase command can help you develop against a shared branch (like master), and keep your local branch up to date with other developers' changes, and avoid unpleasant merge commits. Rebase does it all.

Assume you have some commits in your local master branch that you haven't pushed yet, and you want to bring in changes from upstream. Do this:

% git fetch upstream
% git rebase upstream/master

Effectively, rebase will set aside any commits you have in your local copy of master, then reset master to upstream's master, then re-apply your commits on top.

You can even do this all in a single command:

% git pull --rebase origin master

("pull" is the equivalent of fetch followed by merge. "pull --rebase" is the equivalent of fetch followed by rebase.)

If a rebase runs into trouble, you can usually unroll the entire operation by doing

% git rebase --abort

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