Find and claim an issue

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

As a contributor, you can work on any open issue you want. You can view issues in the Issues tab in every repository. If you are new to contributing, use the filter option to find suitable issues. You can filter issues by Author, Labels, Milestones, and Assignee or sort by time such as newest and oldest.

Understand the issue types

To help you identify the different types of issues, our maintainers assign labels to issues. Labels are color-coded and help you categorize and filter issues. There are four labels categories: kind, area, experience, and priority. You can filter using one or more labels. The kind and experience labels are useful for new contributors.

The following table describes the kind labels.

Kind LabelDescription
kind/bugThese issues contain bugs. The cause may or may not be known at triage time so debugging should be taken account into the time estimate.
kind/docsThese issues contain documentation, man pages, articles, blogs, or other significant word-driven task.
kind/enhancementThese issues contain enhancements that are not bugs or new features but can improve usability or performance of a project component.
kind/featureThese issues contain new features, functionality, and elements that the project does not currently support.
kind/questionThese issues contain a user or contributor question that requires a response.

The following table describes the experience level guidelines.

Exp LabelDescription
exp/beginnerYou are new to Docker and Golang and want to start contributing to the project. These issues are for beginners who want to learn the basics. We encourage new contributors to start with exp/beginner issues.
exp/intermediateYou understand the core concepts of Docker and are comfortable with Golang. These issues are for intermediates who want to dive deeper into the project.
exp/expertYou are proficient with Docker and Golang and are actively involved in the community. These issues are for experts who understand the rationale behind design decisions and where the project is headed.

As stated, these labels are guidelines. You might have written a whole plugin for Docker in a personal project and never contributed to Docker. With that kind of experience, you could take on an exp/expert issue.

Claim a beginner issue

To claim an issue:

  1. Go to the docker/docker repository.

  2. Click the Issues tab.

    A list of the open issues appears.

    Open issues

  3. From the Labels drop-down, select exp/beginner.

    The system filters to show only open exp/beginner issues.

  4. Open an issue that interests you.

    The comments on the issues describe the problem and can provide information for a potential solution.

  5. When you find an open issue that both interests you and is unclaimed, add a #dibs comment. Make sure that no other user has chosen to work on the issue.

    The project does not permit external contributors to assign issues to themselves. Read the comments to find if a user claimed the issue by leaving a #dibs comment on the issue.

  6. Your issue # will be different depending on what you claimed. After a moment, Gordon the Docker bot, changes the issue status to claimed. The following example shows issue #11038.

    Easy issue

  7. Make a note of the issue number; you will need it for later.

Sync your fork and create a new branch

If you have followed along in this guide, you forked the docker/docker repository. Maybe that was an hour ago or a few days ago. In any case, before you start working on your issue, sync your repository with the upstream docker/docker master. Syncing ensures your repository has the latest changes.

To sync your repository:

  1. Open a terminal on your local host.

  2. Change directory to the docker-fork root.

     $ cd ~/repos/docker-fork
  3. Checkout the master branch.

     $ git checkout master
     Switched to branch 'master'
     Your branch is up-to-date with 'origin/master'.

    Recall that origin/master is a branch on your remote GitHub repository.

  4. Make sure you have the upstream remote docker/docker by listing them.

     $ git remote -v
     origin (fetch)
     origin (push)
     upstream (fetch)
     upstream (push)

    If the upstream is missing, add it.

     $ git remote add upstream
  5. Fetch all the changes from the upstream master branch.

     $ git fetch upstream master
     remote: Counting objects: 141, done.
     remote: Compressing objects: 100% (29/29), done.
     remote: Total 141 (delta 52), reused 46 (delta 46), pack-reused 66
     Receiving objects: 100% (141/141), 112.43 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
     Resolving deltas: 100% (79/79), done.
      * branch            master     -> FETCH_HEAD
  6. Rebase your local master with the upstream/master.

     $ git rebase upstream/master
     First, rewinding head to replay your work on top of it...
     Fast-forwarded master to upstream/master.

    This command applies all the commits from the upstream master to your local master.

  7. Check the status of your local branch.

     $ git status
     On branch master
     Your branch is ahead of 'origin/master' by 38 commits.
       (use "git push" to publish your local commits)
     nothing to commit, working directory clean

    Your local repository now has all the changes from the upstream remote. You need to push the changes to your own remote fork which is origin master.

  8. Push the rebased master to origin master.

     $ git push origin master
     Username for '': moxiegirl
     Password for '':
     Counting objects: 223, done.
     Compressing objects: 100% (38/38), done.
     Writing objects: 100% (69/69), 8.76 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
     Total 69 (delta 53), reused 47 (delta 31)
        8e107a9..5035fa1  master -> master
  9. Create a new feature branch to work on your issue.

    Your branch name should have the format XXXX-descriptive where XXXX is the issue number you are working on. For example:

     $ git checkout -b 11038-fix-rhel-link
     Switched to a new branch '11038-fix-rhel-link'

    Your branch should be up-to-date with the upstream/master. Why? Because you branched off a freshly synced master. Let’s check this anyway in the next step.

  10. Rebase your branch from upstream/master.

     $ git rebase upstream/master
     Current branch 11038-fix-rhel-link is up to date.

    At this point, your local branch, your remote repository, and the Docker repository all have identical code. You are ready to make changes for your issue.

Where to go next

At this point, you know what you want to work on and you have a branch to do your work in. Go onto the next section to learn how to work on your changes.

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