Chapter 1 Introduction

This guide is a comprehensive resource for contributing to base R1 – for both new and experienced contributors. It is maintained by the R Contribution Working Group. We welcome your contributions to base R!

1.1 Overview of different ways of contributing to the base R Project

Contributions to base R are possible in a number of different ways. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Contributing to bug fixing: Refer Bug Tracking and Reviewing Bugs.
  2. Contributing to translations: Refer Translations.
  3. Testing R before release: Refer Testing Pre-release R Versions.

1.2 Quick start to the guide

The guide is intended as a comprehensive resource for contributing to base R. The following chapter outline provides an overview with links to sections for getting started with contributing.

  1. The Getting Started covers the instructions on how to install R on the major operating systems (Windows, Linux and macOS), as well as the tools required to build R and R packages from source.
  1. The Bug Tracking and the Reviewing Bugs chapters discuss how to find bugs in R and how to review bug reports that are submitted to Bugzilla.

  2. The Finding the Source chapter provides an overview of the R codebase and helps with finding source code of base functions written in R and/or C.

  3. The Lifecycle of a Patch chapter discusses how to create a patch to propose a bug fix.

  4. The Documenting R chapter describes the format and style guide for help files in R, how to report and review issues in the existing documentation and how to propose changes.

  5. How to test pre-release versions of R is discussed in the chapter on Testing Pre-release R Versions.

  6. The R Core Developers chapter contains a list of the former and current members of the R Core team who have write access to the R source.

  7. For more information on how to engage with to community and ask for help, refer to the Where to Get Help chapter.

  8. To keep up with the developments in R refer to some of the resources available in the News and Announcements

  9. Resources and tools that may be relevant for R developers are available in the Developer Tools chapter.

1.3 How to contribute to this guide itself?

This guide is built using bookdown which makes editing it easier, provided you have a GitHub account (sign-up at After you log-in to GitHub, click on the ‘Edit’ icon highlighted with a red ellipse in the image below. This will take you to an editable version of the the source R Markdown file that generated the page you are on:

Screenshot of the toolbar in the HTML version of the guide, with the Edit button (pencil and paper icon) circled in red.
Screenshot of the toolbar in the HTML version of the guide, with the Edit button (pencil and paper icon) circled in red.

Use the issue tracker to raise an issue about the guide’s content or to make a feature request.

Maintainers and contributors are requested to follow this project’s code of conduct.

  1. The set of packages in the base R distribution that are maintained by the R Core Team.↩︎