Developer FAQ

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How can I get involved in Octave development?

  • Be around. Be social.

    Participate in our mailing lists and Find things about Octave you don't like, and start thinking about how to fix them. But do not send an email to the mailing lists listing your skills and offering to help.

    Many people who now contribute to Octave first spent several years helping in the mailing list before they started to delve into the code. A good way to learn Octave is to understand the problems other people are having with it, so being helpful in the mailing lists not only helps Octave as a whole, but it also prepares you to be a better Octave contributor.

  • Kill the bugs.

    Accurate bug reporting is also very useful. Find and report bugs, making an attempt to diagnose them. Eventually, you will also know how to fix them. If you want to help with bug reports or patches, subscribe to the bug tracker mailing list. You'll get updates on all bug activity, and you can jump in when you see something you can help with.

  • Getting hands dirty.

    See #How can I contribute code to Octave? below. We lack volunteers and we do need your help, but because of that, we also lack the time to provide good guidance and mentoring. If there is a specific short-term project you would like to work on, say so, and just do it. Then ask for help or advice when you're doing it. It is a lot more important that you do something that you're actually interested on than something we suggested because it only matches your skills.

  • Octave needs more documentation.

    If you like documenting software or have great ideas for Octave, please get in contact with us. Additionally, see Project - Documentation for details.

How can I contribute code to Octave?

In general you can contribute code to Octave in form of patches (changesets). Those have to be uploaded to the bug or patch tracker.

  • In Building is described, how you get and build the latest Octave source code on your system.
  • In Mercurial we describe, how you create a patch (changeset) from your modifications.
  • Our Contribution guidelines should be read and followed as well, to ensure acceptance of your contribution.

How can I find which file implements a given command?

From within Octave, use which:

>> which help
 'help' is a function from the file /some/path/m/help/help.m

If the desired function is a m-file, one can simply edit it inside the GUI, just type:

>> edit help

Some functions are already compiled (a.k.a. built-in functions), for example:

>> which addpath
 'addpath' is a built-in function from the file libinterp/corefcn/

This function is to be found in Octave's source code, in this case at [1].

If the source code is cloned to a local machine, you can edit the repective file and search for something like " (addpath,".