Project governance

The libvirt project operates as a meritocratic, consensus-based community. Anyone with an interest in the project can join the community, contributing to the ongoing development of the project's work. This pages describes how that participation takes place and how contributors earn merit, and thus influence, within the community.

Code of conduct

The libvirt project community covers people from a wide variety of countries, backgrounds and positions. This global diversity is a great strength of the project, but can also lead to communication issues, which may in turn cause unhappiness. To maximise happiness of the project community taken as a whole, all members (whether users, contributors or committers) are expected to abide by the project's code of conduct. At a high level the code can be summarized as "be excellent to each other". Expanding on this:

Roles and responsibilities


The users are anyone who has a need for the output of the project. There are no rules or requirements to become a user of libvirt. Even if the software does not yet work on their OS platform, a person can be considered a potential future user and welcomed to participate.

Participation by users is key to ensuring the project moves in the right direction, satisfying their real world needs. Users are encouraged to participate in the broader libvirt community in any number of ways:

The above is not an exhaustive list of things users can do to participate in the project. Further ideas and suggestions are welcome. Users are encouraged to take their participation further and become contributors to the project in any of the ways listed in the next section.


The contributors are community members who have some concrete impact to the ongoing development of the project. There are many ways in which members can contribute, with no requirement to be a software engineer. Many users can in fact consider themselves contributors merely by engaging in evangelism for the project.

The above is not an exhaustive list of things members can do to contribute to the project. Further ideas and suggestions are welcome.

There are no special requirements to becoming a contributor other than having the interest and ability to provide a contribution. The libvirt project does not require any "Contributor License Agreement" to be signed prior to engagement with the community. However for contributing patches, providing a 'Signed-off-by' line with the author's legal name and e-mail address to demonstrate agreement and compliance with the Developer Certificate of Origin is required.

In making a non-patch contribution to the project, the community member is implicitly stating that they accept the terms of the license under which the work they are contributing to is distributed. They are also implicitly stating that they have the legal right to make the contribution, if doing so on behalf of a broader organization / company. Most of the project's code is distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License, version 2.1 or later. Details of the exact license under which contributions will be presumed to be covered are found in the source repositories, or website in question.


The committers are the subset of contributors who have direct access to commit code to the project's primary source code repositories, which are currently using the GIT software. The committers are chosen based on the quality of their contributions over a period of time. This includes both the quality of code they submit, as well as the quality of reviews they provide on other contributors' submissions and a demonstration that they understand day-to-day operation of the project and its goals. There is no minimum level of contribution required in order to become a committer, though 2-3 months worth of quality contribution would be a rough guide.

There are no special requirements to becoming a committer other than to have shown a willingness and ability to contribute to the project over an extended period of time. Proposals for elevating contributors to committers are typically made by existing committers, though contributors are also welcome to make proposals. The decision to approve the elevation of a contributor to a committer is made through "rough consensus" between the existing committers.

The aim in elevating contributors to committers is to ensure that there is a broad base of experience and expertize across all areas of the project's work. Committers are not required to have knowledge across all areas of the project's work. While an approved committer has the technical ability to commit code to any area of the project, by convention they will only commit to areas they feel themselves to be qualified to evaluate the contribution. If in doubt, committers will defer to the opinion of other committers with greater expertize in an area.

The committers hold the ultimate control over what contributions are accepted by the project, however, this does not mean they have the right to do whatever they want. Where there is debate and disagreement between contributors, committers are expected to look at the issues with an unbiased point of view and help achieve a "rough consensus". If the committer has a conflict of interest in the discussion, for example due to their position of employment, they are expected to put the needs of the community project first. If they cannot put the community project first, they must declare their conflict of interest, and allow other non-conflicted committers to make any final decision.

The committers are expected to monitor contributions to areas of the project where they have expertize and ensure that either some form of feedback is provided to the contributor, or to accept their contribution. There is no formal minimum level of approval required to accept a contribution. Positive review by any committer experienced in the area of work is considered to be enough to justify acceptance in normal circumstances. Where one committer explicitly rejects a contribution, however, other committers should not override that rejection without first establishing a "rough consensus" amongst the broader group of committers.

Being a committer is a privilege, not a right. In exceptional circumstances, the privilege may be removed from an active contributor. Such decisions will be taken based on "rough consensus" amongst other committers. In the event that a committer is no longer able to participate in the project, after some period of inactivity passes, they may be asked to confirm that they wish to retain their role as a committer.

Security team

The security team consists of a subset of the project committers along with representatives from vendors shipping the project's software. The subset of project committers is chosen to be the minimal size necessary to provide expertise spanning most of the project's work. Further project committers may be requested to engage in resolving specific security issues on a case by case basis. Any vendor who is shipping the project's software may submit a request for one or more of their representatives to join the security team. Such requests must by approved by existing members of the team vouching for the integrity of the nominated person or organization.

Members of the security team are responsible for triaging and resolving any security issues that are reported to the project. They are expected to abide by the project's documented security process. In particular they must respect any embargo period agreed amongst the team before disclosing a private issue.

Rough consensus

A core concept for governance of the project described above is that of "rough consensus". To expand on this, it is a process of decision making that involves the following steps

To put this into words, any contributor is welcome to make a proposal for consideration. Any contributor may participate in the discussions around the proposal. The discussion will usually result in agreement between the interested parties, or at least agreement between the committers. Only in the very exceptional circumstance where there is disagreement between committers, would a vote be considered. Even in these exceptional circumstances, it is usually found to be obvious what the majority opinion of the committers is. In the event that even a formal vote is tied, the committers will have to hold ongoing discussions until the stalemate is resolved or the proposal withdrawn.

The overall goal of the "rough consensus" process is to ensure that decisions can be made within the project, with a minimum level of bureaucracy and process. Implicit in this is that any person who does not explicitly reject to a proposal is assumed to be supportive, or at least agnostic.