blob: b8a8f19423c61262317fee1732d519392a3fbe49 [file] [log] [blame]
.. _external-contributions:
Contributing External Components
In some cases it is desirable to leverage existing, external source code in
order to avoid re-implementing basic functionality or features that are readily
available in other open source projects.
This section describes the circumstances under which external source code can be
imported into Zephyr, and the process that governs the inclusion.
There are three main factors that will be considered during the inclusion
process in order to determine whether it will be accepted. These will be
described in the following sections.
Software License
.. note::
External source code licensed under the Apache-2.0 license is not subject to
this section.
Integrating code into the Zephyr Project from other projects that use a license
other than the Apache 2.0 license needs to be fully understood in
context and approved by the `Zephyr governing board`_, as described in the
`Zephyr project charter`_. The board will automatically reject licenses that
have not been approved by the `Open Source Initiative (OSI)`_. See the
:ref:`external-src-process` section for more details.
.. _Zephyr governing board:
.. _Zephyr project charter:
.. _Open Source Initiative (OSI):
By carefully reviewing potential contributions and also enforcing a :ref:`DCO`
for contributed code, we ensure that the Zephyr community can develop products
with the Zephyr Project without concerns over patent or copyright issues.
Just like with any other regular contribution, one that contains external code
needs to be evaluated for merit. However, in the particular case of code that
comes from an existing project, there are additional questions that must be
answered in order to accept the contribution.
More specifically, the following will be considered by the Technical Steering
Committee and evaluated carefully before the external source code is accepted
into the project:
- Is this the most optimal way to introduce the functionality to the project?
Both the cost of implementing this internally and the one incurred in
maintaining an externally developed codebase need to be evaluated.
- Is the external project being actively maintained? This is particularly
important for source code that deals with security or cryptography.
- Have alternatives to the particular implementation proposed been considered?
Are there other open source project that implement the same functionality?
Mode of integration
There are two ways of integrating external source code into the Zephyr Project,
and careful consideration must be taken to choose the appropriate one for each
particular case.
Integration in the main tree
The first way to integrate external source code into the project is to simply
import the source code files into the main ``zephyr`` repository. This
automatically implies that the imported source code becomes part of the
"mainline" codebase, which in turn requires that:
- The code is formatted according to the Zephyr :ref:`coding_style`
- The code adheres to the project's :ref:`coding_guidelines`
- The code is subject to the same checks and verification requirements as the
rest of the code in the main tree, including static analysis
- All files contain an SPDX tag if not already present
- An entry is added to the `licensing page <zephyr_licensing>`
This mode of integration can be applicable to both small and large external
codebases, but it is typically used more commonly with the former.
Integration as a module
The second way of integrating external source code into the project is to import
the whole or parts of the third-party open source project into a separate
repository, and then include it under the form of a :ref:`module <modules>`.
With this approach the code is considered as being developed externally, and
thus it is not automatically subject to the requirements of the previous
Ongoing maintenance
Regardless of the mode of integration, external source code that is integrated
in Zephyr requires regular ongoing maintenance. The submitter of the proposal to
integrate external source code must therefore commit to maintain the integration
of such code for the foreseeable future.
This may require adding an entry in the :file:`MAINTAINERS.yml` as part of the
.. _external-src-process:
Submission and review process
Before external source code can be included in the project, it must be reviewed
and accepted by the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) and, in some cases, by
the Zephyr governing board.
A request for external source code integration must be made by creating a new
issue in the Zephyr project issue tracking system on GitHub with details
about the source code and how it integrates into the project.
Follow the steps below to begin the submission process:
#. Make sure to read through the :ref:`external-contributions` section in
detail, so that you are informed of the criteria used by the TSC and board in
order to approve or reject a request
#. Use the :github:`New External Source Code Issue
<new?assignees=&labels=RFC&>` to open an issue
#. Fill out all required sections, making sure you provide enough detail for the
TSC to assess the merit of the request. Optionally you can also create a Pull
Request that demonstrates the integration of the external source code and
link to it from the issue
#. Wait for feedback from the TSC, respond to any additional questions added as
GitHub issue comments
If, after consideration by the TSC, the conclusion is that integrating external
source code is the best solution, and the external source code is licensed under
the Apache-2.0 license, the submission process is complete and the external
source code can be integrated.
If, however, the external source code uses a license other than Apache-2.0,
then these additional steps must be followed:
#. The TSC chair will forward the link to the GitHub issue created during the
early submission process to the Zephyr governing board for further review
#. The Zephyr governing board has two weeks to review and ask questions:
- If there are no objections, the matter is closed. Approval can be
accelerated by unanimous approval of the board before the two
weeks are up
- If a governing board member raises an objection that cannot be resolved
via email, the board will meet to discuss whether to override the
TSC approval or identify other approaches that can resolve the
#. On approval of the Zephyr TSC and governing board the submission process is
The flowchart below shows an overview of the process:
.. figure:: media/ext-src-flowchart.svg
:align: center
Submission process