Contributing to libvirt

This page provides guidance on how to contribute to the libvirt project.

Contributions required

The libvirt project is always looking for new contributors to participate in ongoing activities. While code development is a major part of the project, assistance is needed in many other areas including documentation writing, bug triage, testing, application integration, website / wiki content management, translation, branding, social media and more. The only requirement is an interest in virtualization and desire to help.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of areas in which people can contribute to libvirt. If you have ideas for other contributions feel free to follow them.

  • Software development. The official upstream code are kept in various Git repositories. The core library / daemon (and thus the bulk of coding) is written in C, but there are language bindings written in Python, Perl, Java, Ruby, Php, OCaml and Go. There are also higher level wrappers mapping libvirt into other object frameworks, such GLib, CIM and SNMP. For those interested in working on the core parts of libvirt, the contributor guidelines are mandatory reading.

  • Translation. All the libvirt modules aim to support translations where appropriate. All translation is handling outside of the normal libvirt review process, using the Fedora instance of the Weblate tool. Thus people wishing to contribute to translation should join the Fedora translation team.

  • Documentation. There are docbook guides on various aspects of libvirt, particularly application development guides for the C library and Python, and a virsh command reference. There is thus scope for work by people who are familiar with using or developing against libvirt, to write further content for these guides. There is also a need for people to review existing content for copy editing and identifying gaps in the docs.

  • Website / wiki curation. The bulk of the website is maintained in the primary GIT repository, while the wiki site uses mediawiki. In both cases there is a need for people to both write new content and curate existing content to identify outdated information, improve its organization and target gaps.

  • Testing. There are a number of tests suites that can run automated tests against libvirt. The coverage of the tests is never complete, so there is a need for people to create new test suites and / or provide environments to actually run the tests in a variety of deployment scenarios.

  • Code analysis. The libvirt project has access to the coverity tool to run static analysis against the codebase, however, there are other types of code analysis that can be useful. In particular fuzzing of the inputs can be very effective at identifying problematic edge cases.

  • Security handling. Downstream (operating system) vendors who distribute libvirt may wish to propose a person to be part of the security handling team, to get early access to information about forthcoming vulnerability fixes.

  • Evangelism. Work done by the project is of no benefit unless the (potential) user community knows that it exists. Thus it is critically important to the health and future growth of the project, that there are a people who evangelize the work created by the project. This can take many forms, writing blog posts (about usage of features, personal user experiences, areas for future work, and more), syndicating docs and blogs via social media, giving user group and/or conference talks about libvirt.

  • User assistance. Since documentation is never perfect, there are inevitably cases where users will struggle to attain a deployment goal they have, or run into trouble with managing an existing deployment. While some users may be able to contact a software vendor to obtain support, it is common to rely on community help forums such as libvirt users mailing list, or sites such as stackoverflow. People who are familiar with libvirt and have ability & desire to help other users are encouraged to participate in these help forums.


For full details on contacting other project contributors read the contact page. There are two main channels that libvirt uses for communication between contributors:

Mailing lists

The project has a number of mailing lists for general communication between contributors. In general any design discussions and review of contributions will take place on the mailing lists, so it is important for all contributors to follow the traffic.

Instant messaging / chat

Contributors to libvirt are encouraged to join the IRC channel used by the project, where they can have live conversations with others members.

Student / outreach coding programs

Since 2016, the libvirt project directly participates as an organization in the Google Summer of Code program. Prior to this the project had a number of students in the program via a joint application with the QEMU project. People are encouraged to look at both the libvirt and QEMU programs to identify potentially interesting projects to work on.