CAcert Software Development Team

How to start

This very much depends on your previous knowledge, and on what you want to do. First of all you should create yourself an account on the Mantis Bug Tracking system, and try to get a bit aquainted to it. This is the primary channel to communicate on specific tasks.

More generic communication is done on the mailinglist You'll probably have to subscribe to the mailinglist on the mailinglist server before being allowed to post messages to the list.

There's also an IRC channel #cacert-devel on the CAcert IRC server, but you have to be a bit lucky to find someone active there.


Testing bugfixes is often considered an easy task for newcomers, but you should not underestimate its complexities.

If you want to play around with the CAcert software without ruining your real account (or CAcert's productive database), our Testserver Management System allows you to set up your own account on the CAcert testserver.

If you need extended access, like the support console, an Org Admin's interface or something like this, ask on the mailinglist or contect one of the Software Assessors directly.

Keep in mind that there are many different ways of testing:

Of course testing is made a bit difficult by the widespread absence of specifications and user manuals, so it's sometimes hard to say if a symptom is a bug or a feature. If you stumble over such a symptom, the best way would be to create or improve the documentation, see below.

... ToBeExtended ...


The very basic documentation about the current progress of specific cases is done directly in the Mantis Bug Tracking System, but we also need documentation with a wider scope, like specifications and descriptions of software modules, user and sysop manuals and much more HowTos about the development process.

This kind of documentation is mostly done here in then WiKi. So especially if you're interested in documentation you should ask for an account1 with write access to the wiki at Note: I have not verified this, and it is a long time abo when I got my account. So, if they tell you to ask somewhere else, it you be your first edit in the WiKi to correct this paragraph! :-)

Which leads to the next thing, probably noone is better for writing HowTos for newbies than an ambitioned newbie! If you're new, there are thousands of things that all the veterans take for granted, but are still a total mystery to you. You can make life for the next generation much easier if you just collect the problems you are running into and put them into FAQs or HowTo. It's a bonus if you also find a solution to your problem, but even if you don't, maybe someone else does.

If you are in for the bigger things, the structure of information here in the WiKi is probably not ideal (if you allow me this euphemism). Many people have tried to find better structures, but usually with only small or very localised effects. You could bring the Software Team a big step forward, and maybe CAcert as a whole, if you had a good idea to organise the present information in a way which is easily maintained and allows easy recovery of knowledge. But expect to encounter some big difficulties here. And even small or localised effects can bring us a little step forward.

Writing code

Before starting to write code it would be great if you have some basic knowledge about Git. You should know how to clone a project from a Git server (like GitHub), create a new branch or checkout and existing one, commit changes and push them back to the server.

At the moment we primarily use GitHub for "public" source management. Therefor, while not absolutely essential2, it makes some things easier if you have an account with GitHub, and know some basics about GitHub's Pull Requests.

Though in theory it is possible to work directly on GitHub without installing software locally3 it's probably better to use a local installation of Git on your own computer. Together with tools like for example KDiff or GitExtensions life's much easier...

Once you are somewhat familiar with Git, Software/WorkingWithGit shows you how we use Git in the CAcert development process.

You can find things to work on in the next paragraph, but you can also ask on the mailinglist or just browse the Bug Tracking System.

Current topics

... ToBeExtended ...


Some of the more "prominent" members, which you may contact personally if you are too shy to try the mailinglist.


Have a look

You can have a look at the development environment by yourself. The development workflow is described at the Development Workflow.


  1. Of course, every community member is encouraged to ask for auch a WiKi account! We just had too many problems with spammers while write access to the WiKi was open to self-registration. (1)

  2. If you have another Git server where you can publish your own changes for the rest of the CAcert dev team this would be an alternative, if you don't like GitHub. (2)

  3. I did not try it, if you know it does not work please tell me or adjust this paragraph. :-) (3)

Software/DevelopmentTeam (last edited 2019-09-15 15:43:53 by BernhardFröhlich)