Cryptography and SSL/TLS Toolkit

Policy for OpenSSL Committers

Who is a committer?

OpenSSL committers are contributors who have commit access to the OpenSSL source code repository. Committers review and commit their own patches as well as those of other contributors.

How to become a committer?

Commit access is granted by a vote of the OMC typically on the recommendation of the OTC (see the OpenSSL Bylaws).

We welcome contributors who become domain experts in some part of the library (for example, low-level crypto) as well as generalists who contribute to all areas of the codebase. All committers share the responsibility for the overall health of the project: aside from contributing quality features, committers are team players who fix bugs, address open issues, review community contributions, and improve tests and documentation. Committers are also shepherds of the OpenSSL community and its code of conduct.

To become a committer, start by contributing code. Read our coding style, and get to know our build and test system. Then, use the Github issue tracker, and our mailing lists to find impactful ideas to work on.

How to maintain committer status?

To maintain committer status, you must stay active in the project. Refer to the OpenSSL Bylaws for details.

In the unlikely and unfortunate event that your actions conflict with the project objectives or are otherwise disruptive, committer status may also be revoked by the OMC.

Approvals and code reviews

All submissions must be reviewed and approved by at least two committers, one of whom must also be an OTC member. Neither of the reviewers can be the author of the submission.

The sole exception to this is during the release process where the author’s review does count towards the two needed for the automated release process and NEWS and CHANGES file updates.

In the case where two committers make a joint submission, they can review each other’s code but not their own. A third reviewer will be required.

An OMC member may apply a hold: needs OMC decision label to a submission. An OTC member may apply a hold: needs OTC decision to a submission. A hold: needs OMC decision label may be removed by the member that put in place the hold or by a decision of the OMC. A hold: needs OTC decision label may be removed by the member that put in place the hold or by a decision of the OTC.

Approved submissions (outside of the automated release process and NEWS and CHANGES file updates) shall only be applied after a 24-hour delay from the approval. An exception to the delay exists for build and test breakage fix approvals which should be flagged with the severity: urgent label.

The use of the severity: urgent label should be limited to contexts where the breakage of the CI builds and tests (including buildbot) happened within the last 72 hours and the change is straightforward.

Contributors without commit rights cannot formally approve patches but are nevertheless welcome to comment on submissions and do technical reviews. We always value another pair of eyes, and volunteering for reviews counts favourably towards becoming a committer. As an author, we ask that you address all comments, even if you already have the necessary approvals.

If you have trouble finding consensus on a difficult review, reach out to the OTC at (private, moderated) or the project at (public, moderated). On GitHub, you can reach the OMC members with @openssl/omc, OTC members with @openssl/otc, or committers with @openssl/committers.

Commit workflow

Code changes are submitted on Github as pull requests, which are subject to peer review. The OpenSSL GitHub repository is a mirror, so we do not merge on GitHub. When you become a committer, we’ll send you instructions to get commit access to the main repository. To have handy links to review history, we record the reviewers and GitHub pull request IDs in commit headers. We have some helper scripts in the tools repo to add these headers automatically.

Some commits, created and signed by OpenSSL designated bots, may be reviewed by other means, and do not receive review records as described above.

We don’t use merge commits.

If at any point during development or review you discover a potential security issue, we ask that you report it to and don’t discuss it further in public. We review security issues privately, however acceptance of a submission for a security issue does not bypass the review process that applies to all submissions.


All authors, including committers, must have current CLAs on file. Refer to the Contributor Agreements page for further details.

Trivial submissions

A CLA is not required for trivial contributions (e.g. the fix of a spelling mistake). All reviewers and the submission author need to agree that a submission is trivial and the cla: trivial label should be applied to indicate this.