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D.1 How to Contribute

The mailing list for Octave development discussion and sending contributions is This concerns the development of Octave core, i.e., code that goes to Octave directly. You may consider developing and publishing a package instead; a great place for this is the allied Octave-Forge project ( Note that the Octave project is inherently more conservative and follows narrower rules.

The preferable form of contribution is creating a Mercurial changeset and sending it via e-mail to the octave-maintainers mailing list. Mercurial is the source code management system currently used to develop Octave. Other forms of contributions (e.g., simple diff patches) are also acceptable, but they slow down the review process. If you want to make more contributions, you should really get familiar with Mercurial. A good place to start is There you will also find help how to install Mercurial.

A simple contribution sequence could look like this:

hg clone
                             # make a local copy of the octave 
                             # source repository
cd octave
# change some sources…
hg commit -m "make Octave the coolest software ever"
                             # commit the changeset into your
                             # local repository
hg export -o ../cool.diff tip
                             # export the changeset to a diff
                             # file
# send ../cool.diff via email

You may want to get familiar with Mercurial queues to manage your changesets. Here is a slightly less simple example using Mercurial queues, where you work on two unrelated changesets in parallel and update one of the changesets after discussion in the maintainers mailing list:

hg qnew nasty_bug            # create a new patch 
# change sources…
hg qref                      # save the changes into the patch
# change even more…
hg qref -m "solution to nasty bug!"
                             # save again with commit message
hg export -o ../nasty.diff tip
                             # export the patch
# send ../nasty.diff via email
hg qpop                      # undo the application of the patch
                             # and remove the changes from the
                             # source tree
hg qnew doc_improvements     # create an unrelated patch 
# change doc sources…
hg qref -m "could not find myfav.m in the doc"
                             # save the changes into the patch
hg export -o ../doc.diff tip
                             # export the second patch
# send ../doc.diff tip via email
hg qpop
# discussion in the maintainers mailing list …
hg qpush nasty_bug           # apply the patch again
# change sources yet again …
hg qref
hg export -o ../nasty2.diff tip
# send ../nasty2.diff via email

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