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How to contribute

Development happens on GitHub and contributions in all forms are welcome. Please take a look at the architecture to get a better understanding of the high-level goals.

Developer Certificate of Origin

The Cilium project requires that all contributions to project repositories carry the Developer Certificate of Origin. This is as simple as appending a footer to your commits:

Signed-off-by: Your Name <>

Signing off your contributions this way means that you've read and understood the contents of the DCO.

Running the tests

Many of the tests require privileges to set resource limits and load eBPF code. The easiest way to obtain these is to run the tests with sudo.

Run all tests with the following command:

go test -exec sudo ./...

To test the current package with a different kernel version you can use vimto. Once you have installed vimto and its dependencies you can run all tests on a different kernel:

vimto -- go test ./...

Use one of the precompiled kernels like so:

vimto -kernel :mainline -- go test ./...

Regenerating testdata and source code

The library includes some binary artifacts which are used for tests and some generated source code. Run make in the root of the repository to start this process.


This requires Docker, as it relies on a standardized build environment to keep the build output stable. It is possible to regenerate data using Podman by overriding the CONTAINER_* variables:


Updating kernel dependencies

Syscall bindings and some parameters required to parse ELF sections are derived from upstream kernel versions. You can update them to the latest version by:

  1. Adjusting the KERNEL_VERSION variable in Makefile
  2. Running
    make update-kernel-deps

Finally, bump the tested kernels in .github/workflows/ci.yml

Project Roles

If you'd like to contribute to the library more regularly, one of the maintainers can add you to the appropriate team or mark you as a code owner. Please create an issue in the repository.

  • ebpf-go-contributors
    • Have "Triage" role
    • May be asked to review certain parts of code
    • May be asked to help with certain issues
  • ebpf-go-reviewers
    • Have "Write" role
    • CODEOWNER of a part of the code base
    • In-depth review of code, escalates to maintainers if necessary
      • For bugfixes: review within 1-2 days
      • Otherwise: review within a work week
      • When lacking time: escalate to maintainers, but don’t ignore
  • ebpf-lib-maintainers
    • Have "Admin" role
    • Manage releases
    • Triage incoming issues and discussions and pull in CODEOWNERS if needed
    • Maintain CI & project permissions
    • Maintain roadmap and encourage contributions towards it
    • Merge approved PRs

Last updated 2024-04-26
Authored by Lorenz Bauer