docs/submissions.pod - Parrot Submission Instructions


How to submit bug reports, patches and new files to Parrot.


If you encounter an error while working with Parrot and don't understand what is causing it, create a bug report using the parrotbug utility. The simplest way to use it is to run

    % ./parrotbug

in the distribution's root directory, and follow the prompts.

If you know how to fix the problem you encountered, then think about submitting a patch, or (see below) getting commit privileges.


If you encounter errors that appear intermittently, it may be difficult or impossible for Parrot developers to diagnose and solve the problem. It is therefore recommended to control the sources of randomness in Parrot in an attempt to eliminate the intermittency of the bug. There are three common sources of randomness that should be considered.

Pseudo-Random Number Generator
Direct use of a PRNG from within Parrot programs will lead to inconsistent results. If possible, isolate the bug from PRNG use, for example, by logging the random values which trigger the error and then hard coding them.
Address Space Layout Randomization
Several operating systems provide a security measure known as address space layout randomization. In bugs involving stray pointers, this can cause corruption in random Parrot subsystems. Temporarily disabling this feature may make this problem consistent and therefore debugable.
Hash Seed
Parrot's hash implementation uses randomization of its seed as a precaution against attacks based on hash collisions. The seed used can be directly controlled using parrot's --hash-seed parameter. To determine what seeds are causing the error, Parrot can be rebuilt with DEBUG_HASH_SEED set to 1, which will cause parrot to output the hash seed being used on every invocation.


Try to keep your patches specific to a single change, and ensure that your change does not break any tests. Do this by running make test. If there is no test for the fixed bug, please provide one.

In the following examples, parrot contains the Parrot distribution, and workingdir contains parrot. The name workingdir is just a placeholder for whatever the distribution's parent directory is called on your machine.

        +--> parrot
                +--> LICENSE
                +--> src
                +--> tools
                +--> ...
If you are working with a git repository of parrot then please submit your patch as a pull request on github. You can find instructions at
Single diff
If you are working from a released distribution of Parrot and the change you wish to make affects only one or two files, then you can supply a diff for each file. The diff should be created in parrot. Please be sure to create a unified diff, with diff -u.
    cd parrot
    diff -u docs/submissions.pod docs/ > submissions.patch
Win32 users will probably need to specify -ub.
Recursive diff
If the change is more wide-ranging, then create an identical copy of parrot in workingdir and rename it Modify and run a recursive diff on the two directories to create your patch. The diff should be created in workingdir.
    cd workingdir
    diff -ur --exclude='.git' parrot > docs.patch
Mac OS X users should also specify --exclude=.DS_Store.
Each and every patch is an important contribution to Parrot and it's important that these efforts are recognized. To that end, the CREDITS file contains an informal list of contributors and their contributions made to Parrot. Patch submitters are encouraged to include a new or updated entry for themselves in CREDITS as part of their patch.The format for entries in CREDITS is defined at the top of the file.


The preferrred method to submit matches to Parrot is as pull requests via github. Please follow the instructions at


You may wish to apply a patch submitted by someone else before the patch is incorporated into git

For single diff patches or git patches, copy the patch file to parrot, and run:

    cd parrot
    git apply some.patch

For recursive diff patches, copy the patch file to workingdir, and run:

    cd workingdir
    git apply some.patch

In order to be on the safe side run 'make test' before actually committing the changes.

Configuration of files to ignore

Sometimes new files will be created in the configuration and build process of Parrot. These files should not show up when checking the distribution with

    git status


    perl tools/dev/

In order to keep the two different checks synchronized, the MANIFEST and MANIFEST.SKIP file should be regenerated with:

    perl tools/dev/


If you created a new issue, you will be taken to the issue page and can check on the progress of discussion there. The issue number should be used in all out-of-band correspondence concerning the issue (e.g., in email to the parrot-dev mailing list). Otherwise, everyone on the parrot project can see the issue and can comment on it.

A developer with git commit privileges can merge your changes into the main parrot repository, once it is clear that this is the right thing to do. However your pull request may not be processed right away if the changes are large or complex, as we need time for peer review.

A list of open issues can be found here:


The website is hosted in a Drupal CMS. Submit changes through the usual ticket interface in Trac.


If you are interested in getting commit privileges to Parrot, here is the procedure:

  1. Obtain a github account at
  2. Submit several high quality patches (and have them committed) via the process described in this document. This process may take weeks or months.
  3. Submit a Parrot Contributor License Agreement; this document signifies that you have the authority to license your work to Parrot Foundation for inclusion in their projects. You may need to discuss this with your employer if you contribute to Parrot on work time or with work resources, or depending on your employment agreement.

  5. Request commit access via the parrot-dev mailing list, or via IRC (#parrot on The existing committers will discuss your request in the next couple of weeks.
  6. If approved, a metacommitter will update the permissions to allow you to commit to Parrot; see RESPONSIBLE_PARTIES for the current list. Welcome aboard!

Thanks for your help!