Contributing to Rayleigh#

Rayleigh is a community project that lives by the participation of its members — i.e., including you! It is our goal to build an inclusive and participatory community so we are happy that you are interested in participating!

Getting started with git and GitHub#

GitHub provides a helpful guide on the process of contributing to an open-source project here.

Asking and answering questions about Rayleigh#

The Rayleigh community maintains an active forum hosted by CIG here.

Bug reports#

It is a great help to the community if you report any bugs that you may find. We keep track of all open issues related to Rayleigh here.

Please follow these simple instructions before opening a new bug report:

  • Do a quick search in the list of open and closed issues for a duplicate of your issue.

  • Do a google search in the archived mailing list discussions for a duplicate of your issue by searching for

    your search term site:

  • If you did not find an answer, open a new issue and explain your problem in as much detail as possible.

  • Attach as much as possible of the following information to your issue:

    • a minimal parameter file that reproduces the issue,

    • the error message you saw on your screen,

    • any information that helps us understand why you think this is a bug, and how to reproduce it.

Making Rayleigh better#

Rayleigh is a community project, and we are encouraging all kinds of contributions. Much appreciated contributions are new examples (cookbooks, tests, or benchmarks), extended documentation (every paragraph helps), and in particular fixing typos or updating outdated documentation. Obviously, we also encourage contributions to the core functionality in any form! If you consider making a larger contribution to the core functionality, please open a new issue first, to discuss your idea with one of the maintainers. This allows us to give you early feedback and prevents you from spending much time on a project that might already be planned, or that conflicts with other plans.

To make a change to Rayleigh you should:

  • Create a fork (through GitHub) of the code base.

  • Create a separate branch (sometimes called a feature branch) on which you do your modifications.

  • You can propose that your branch be merged into the Rayleigh code by opening a pull request. This will give others a chance to review your code.

If you want to modify the documentation and preview your changes locally, you can find instructions for compiling the documentation in the INSTALL file.

We follow the philosophy that no pull request (independent of the author) is merged without a review from one other member of the community, and approval of one of the maintainers. This applies to maintainers as well as to first-time contributors. We know that a review can be a daunting process, but pledge to keep all comments friendly and supportive! We are as interested in making Rayleigh better as you are!

While this seems very formal, keeping all of the code review in one place makes it easier to coordinate changes to the code (and there are usually several people making changes to the code at once). Please do not hesitate to ask questions about the workflow on the mailing list if you are not sure what to do.

If you add new Fortran files or change the module structure of Rayleigh, the dependencies in the makefile have to be updated. This is done by running make fdeps from the main repository directory, which modifies the file src/Makefile.fdeps. Commit this file along with your changes. You need the makedepf90 tool on your development machine to perform this update. makedepf90 is available in most package managers.

This is a placeholder for a paragraph about coding conventions

If you are new to the project then we will work with you to ensure your contributions are formatted with this style, so please do not think of it as a road block if you would like to contribute some code.

Acknowledgment of contributions#

While we are grateful for every contribution, there are also several official ways how your contribution will be acknowledged by the Rayleigh community:

  • Every commit that was merged into the Rayleigh repository will make you part of the growing group of Rayleigh contributors.

  • If you contributed a significant part of the manual (such as a new cookbook, benchmark, or subsection), you will be listed as one of the contributing authors of the manual.

  • Regularly, the Principal Developers of Rayleigh come together and discuss based on the contributions of the last years who should be invited to join the group of Principal Developers. Criteria that Principal Developers should match are:

    • A profound understanding of Rayleigh’s structure and vision,

    • A proven willingness to further the project’s goals and help other users,

    • Significant contributions to Rayleigh (not necessarily only source code, also mailing list advice, documentation, benchmarks, tutorials),

    • Regular and active contributions to Rayleigh for more than one year, not restricted to user meetings.

    The group of current Principal Developers is listed in the AUTHORS file in the main repository.


Rayleigh is published under the GPL v3 or newer; while you will retain copyright on your contributions, all changes to the code must be provided under this common license.