There is a great need for contributions to Salt and patches are welcome! The goal here is to make contributions clear, make sure there is a trail for where the code has come from, and most importantly, to give credit where credit is due!

There are a number of ways to contribute to Salt development.

For details on how to contribute documentation improvements please review Writing Salt Documentation.

Salt Coding Style

SaltStack has its own coding style guide that informs contributors on various coding approaches. Please review the Salt Coding Style documentation for information about Salt's particular coding patterns.

Within the Salt Coding Style documentation, there is a section about running Salt's .pylintrc file. SaltStack recommends running the .pylintrc file on any files you are changing with your code contribution before submitting a pull request to Salt's repository. Please see the Linting documentation for more information.

Sending a GitHub pull request

Sending pull requests on GitHub is the preferred method for receiving contributions. The workflow advice below mirrors GitHub's own guide and is well worth reading.

  1. Fork saltstack/salt on GitHub.

  2. Make a local clone of your fork.

    git clone
    cd salt
  3. Add saltstack/salt as a git remote.

    git remote add upstream
  4. Create a new branch in your clone.


    A branch should have one purpose. For example, "Fix bug X," or "Add feature Y". Multiple unrelated fixes and/or features should be isolated into separate branches.

    If you're working on a bug or documentation fix, create your branch from the oldest release branch that contains the bug or requires the documentation update. See Which Salt Branch?.

    git fetch upstream
    git checkout -b fix-broken-thing upstream/2015.5

    If you're working on a feature, create your branch from the develop branch.

    git fetch upstream
    git checkout -b add-cool-feature upstream/develop
  5. Edit and commit changes to your branch.

    vim path/to/file1 path/to/file2
    git diff
    git add path/to/file1 path/to/file2
    git commit

    Write a short, descriptive commit title and a longer commit message if necessary.


    If your change fixes a bug or implements a feature already filed in the issue tracker, be sure to reference the issue number in the commit message body.

    fix broken things in file1 and file2
    Fixes #31337.  The issue is now eradicated from file1 and file2.
    # Please enter the commit message for your changes. Lines starting
    # with '#' will be ignored, and an empty message aborts the commit.
    # On branch fix-broken-thing
    # Changes to be committed:
    #       modified:   path/to/file1
    #       modified:   path/to/file2

    If you get stuck, there are many introductory Git resources on

  6. Push your locally-committed changes to your GitHub fork,


    You may want to rebase before pushing to work out any potential conflicts.

    git fetch upstream
    git rebase upstream/2015.5 fix-broken-thing
    git push --set-upstream origin fix-broken-thing


    git fetch upstream
    git rebase upstream/develop add-cool-feature
    git push --set-upstream origin add-cool-feature
  7. Find the branch on your GitHub salt fork.

  8. Open a new pull request.

    Click on Pull Request on the right near the top of the page,

    1. If your branch is a fix for a release branch, choose that as the base branch (e.g. 2015.5),

      If your branch is a feature, choose develop as the base branch,

    2. Review that the proposed changes are what you expect.

    3. Write a descriptive comment. Include links to related issues (e.g. 'Fixes #31337.') in the comment field.

    4. Click Create pull request.

  9. Salt project members will review your pull request and automated tests will run on it.

    If you recognize any test failures as being related to your proposed changes or if a reviewer asks for modifications:

    1. Make the new changes in your local clone on the same local branch.
    2. Push the branch to GitHub again using the same commands as before.
    3. New and updated commits will be added to the pull request automatically.
    4. Feel free to add a comment to the discussion.



Pull request against saltstack/salt are automatically tested on a variety of operating systems and configurations. On average these tests take 30 minutes. Depending on your GitHub notification settings you may also receive an email message about the test results.

Test progress and results can be found at

Which Salt branch?

GitHub will open pull requests against Salt's main branch, develop, by default. Ideally, features should go into develop and bug fixes and documentation changes should go into the oldest supported release branch affected by the bug or documentation update. See Sending a GitHub pull request.

If you have a bug fix or doc change and have already forked your working branch from develop and do not know how to rebase your commits against another branch, then submit it to develop anyway and we'll be sure to back-port it to the correct place.

The current release branch

The current release branch is the most recent stable release. Pull requests containing bug fixes should be made against the release branch.

The branch name will be a date-based name such as 2015.5.

Bug fixes are made on this branch so that minor releases can be cut from this branch without introducing surprises and new features. This approach maximizes stability.

The Salt development team will "merge-forward" any fixes made on the release branch to the develop branch once the pull request has been accepted. This keeps the fix in isolation on the release branch and also keeps the develop branch up-to-date.


Closing GitHub issues from commits

This "merge-forward" strategy requires that the magic keywords to close a GitHub issue appear in the commit message text directly. Only including the text in a pull request will not close the issue.

GitHub will close the referenced issue once the commit containing the magic text is merged into the default branch (develop). Any magic text input only into the pull request description will not be seen at the Git-level when those commits are merged-forward. In other words, only the commits are merged-forward and not the pull request.

The develop branch

The develop branch is unstable and bleeding-edge. Pull requests containing feature additions or non-bug-fix changes should be made against the develop branch.

The Salt development team will back-port bug fixes made to develop to the current release branch if the contributor cannot create the pull request against that branch.

Keeping Salt Forks in Sync

Salt is advancing quickly. It is therefore critical to pull upstream changes from upstream into your fork on a regular basis. Nothing is worse than putting hard work into a pull request only to see bunches of merge conflicts because it has diverged too far from upstream.

The following assumes origin is the name of your fork and upstream is the name of the main saltstack/salt repository.

  1. View existing remotes.

    git remote -v
  2. Add the upstream remote.

    # For ssh github
    git remote add upstream
    # For https github
    git remote add upstream
  3. Pull upstream changes into your clone.

    git fetch upstream
  4. Update your copy of the develop branch.

    git checkout develop
    git merge --ff-only upstream/develop

    If Git complains that a fast-forward merge is not possible, you have local commits.

    • Run git pull --rebase origin develop to rebase your changes on top of the upstream changes.
    • Or, run git branch <branch-name> to create a new branch with your commits. You will then need to reset your develop branch before updating it with the changes from upstream.

    If Git complains that local files will be overwritten, you have changes to files in your working directory. Run git status to see the files in question.

  5. Update your fork.

    git push origin develop
  6. Repeat the previous two steps for any other branches you work with, such as the current release branch.

Posting patches to the mailing list

Patches will also be accepted by email. Format patches using git format-patch and send them to the salt-users mailing list. The contributor will then get credit for the patch, and the Salt community will have an archive of the patch and a place for discussion.

Backporting Pull Requests

If a bug is fixed on develop and the bug is also present on a currently-supported release branch it will need to be back-ported to all applicable branches.


Most Salt contributors can skip these instructions

These instructions do not need to be read in order to contribute to the Salt project! The SaltStack team will back-port fixes on behalf of contributors in order to keep the contribution process easy.

These instructions are intended for frequent Salt contributors, advanced Git users, SaltStack employees, or independent souls who wish to back-port changes themselves.

It is often easiest to fix a bug on the oldest supported release branch and then merge that branch forward into develop (as described earlier in this document). When that is not possible the fix must be back-ported, or copied, into any other affected branches.

These steps assume a pull request #1234 has been merged into develop. And upstream is the name of the remote pointing to the main Salt repo.

  1. Identify the oldest supported release branch that is affected by the bug.

  2. Create a new branch for the back-port by reusing the same branch from the original pull request.

    Name the branch bp-<NNNN> and use the number of the original pull request.

    git fetch upstream refs/pull/1234/head:bp-1234
    git checkout bp-1234
  3. Find the parent commit of the original pull request.

    The parent commit of the original pull request must be known in order to rebase onto a release branch. The easiest way to find this is on GitHub.

    Open the original pull request on GitHub and find the first commit in the list of commits. Select and copy the SHA for that commit. The parent of that commit can be specified by appending ~1 to the end.

  4. Rebase the new branch on top of the release branch.

    • <release-branch> is the branch identified in step #1.
    • <orig-base> is the SHA identified in step #3 -- don't forget to add ~1 to the end!
    git rebase --onto <release-branch> <orig-base> bp-1234

    Note, release branches prior to 2015.5 will not be able to make use of rebase and must use cherry-picking instead.

  5. Push the back-port branch to GitHub and open a new pull request.

    Opening a pull request for the back-port allows for the test suite and normal code-review process.

    git push -u origin bp-1234

Issue and Pull Request Labeling System

SaltStack uses several labeling schemes to help facilitate code contributions and bug resolution. See the Labels and Milestones documentation for more information.