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Galaxy Core Governance

This document informally outlines the organizational structure governing the Galaxy core code base hosted at https://github.com/galaxyproject/galaxy . This governance extends to code-related activities of this repository such as releases and packaging. This governance does not include infrastructure such as Galaxy’s Trello board, the Galaxy mailing lists, etc… or other Galaxy- related projects belonging to the galaxyproject organization on GitHub.

Procedure Documents

The documents whose modification requires the special process specified below are:


The committers group is the group of trusted developers and advocates who manage the core Galaxy code base. They assume many roles required to achieve the project’s goals, especially those that require a high level of trust.

Galaxy Project committers are the only individuals who may commit to the core Galaxy code base. All commits must be made in accordance with procedures outlined below. In particular, in most cases direct commit access is not allowed and this access is restricted to merging pull requests issued by others.

Committers may participate in all formal votes, including votes to modify team membership, merge pull requests, and modify the Procedure Documents listed above.


  • Enis Afgan (@afgane)
  • Dannon Baker (@dannon)
  • Matthias Bernt (@bernt-matthias)
  • Daniel Blankenberg (@blankenberg)
  • Dave Bouvier (@davebx)
  • Martin Čech (@martenson)
  • John Chilton (@jmchilton)
  • Dave Clements (@tnabtaf)
  • Nate Coraor (@natefoo)
  • Jeremy Goecks (@jgoecks)
  • Sergey Golitsynskiy (@ic4f)
  • Björn Grüning (@bgruening)
  • Aysam Guerler (@guerler)
  • Jennifer Hillman Jackson (@jennaj)
  • Anton Nekrutenko (@nekrut)
  • Helena Rasche (@erasche)
  • Nicola Soranzo (@nsoranzo)
  • James Taylor (@jxtx)
  • Marius van den Beek (@mvdbeek)


The committers group was seeded with the group of active developers and advocates with commit access to the repository as of May 2015. This group subsequently voted in new members.

Any member of the committers group may nominate an individual for membership to the committers group. Such individuals must have demonstrated:

  • Good grasp of the design of Galaxy core project.
  • Solid track record of being constructive and helpful.
  • Significant contributions to the project.
  • Willingness to dedicate some time to improving Galaxy.

The above list of people is the canonical source used to determine membership to the committers group - as such new members may be added to this group by opening a pull request adding a qualified person to this list. Pull requests modifying the membership of this list are subject to the normal rules for pull requests that modify governance procedures outlined below - with one exception - a committer may not vote against their own removal from the group (for obvious reasons).

Given the responsibilities and power invested in this group - it is important that individuals not actively working on Galaxy in some fashion are removed from the group. If individuals in this group intend to change jobs or reallocate volunteer activities and will no longer be active in the Galaxy community, they should withdraw from membership of this group. Periodically, active members may review this group and request inactive members are removed - this should not be interpreted as a condemnation of these inactive members but merely as a reflection of a desire to keep this group focused enough to remain effective.

Direct Commit Access

A committer may only commit directly to the Galaxy repository (i.e. outside of a pull request and not following the procedures described below) the following four categories of changes:

  • Patches for serious security vulnerabilities.
  • Cherry-picking and/or merging of existing approved commits to other branches.
  • Everything under packages/.
  • Release notes and changelogs.

Release branches

A release branch is created every few months from the dev branch of the Galaxy repository. A newly created release branch is in a freezed state until the committers decide that it is ready for public consumption. At this point, a release tag will be assigned to a commit in the branch, changing the release state to tagged.

Handling Pull Requests

Everyone is encouraged to express opinions and issue non-binding votes on pull requests, but only members of the committers group may issue binding votes on pull requests.

Votes on pull requests should take the form of +1, 0, -1, and fractions as outlined by the Apache Software Foundation voting rules. The following are equivalent to a +1 vote:

The latter is the preferred method because it is integrated in GitHub, it allows tracking the moment when the review was submitted, and it sends a notification to subscribers.

Pull requests changing or clarifying the Procedure Documents (listed above):

  • Must be made to the dev branch of this repository.
  • Must remain open for at least 192 hours (unless every qualified committer has voted).
  • Require binding +1 votes from at least 25% of qualified committers with no -1 binding votes.
  • Should be titled with the prefix [PROCEDURES] and tagged with the procedures tag in Github.
  • Should not be modified once open. If changes are needed, the pull request should be closed, re-opened with modifications, and votes reset.
  • Should be restricted to just modifying the procedures and generally should not contain code modifications.
  • If the pull request adds or removes committers, there must be a separate pull request for each person added or removed.

Any other pull request requires at least 1 +1 binding vote from someone other than the author of the pull request. A member of the committers group merging a pull request is considered an implicit +1.

Pull requests modifying freezed and tagged release branches should be restricted to bug fixes.

Pull requests marked [WIP] (i.e. work in progress) in the title by the author(s), or tagged WIP via GitHub tags, may not be merged without coordinating the removal of that tag with the pull request author(s), and completing the removal of that tag from wherever it is present in the open pull request.


Except in the case of pull requests modifying governance procedures, there are generally no objective guidelines defining how long pull requests must remain open for comment. Subjectively speaking though - larger and more potentially controversial pull requests containing enhancements should remain open for a at least a few days to give everyone the opportunity to weigh in.


A note on vetoes (-1 votes), taken verbatim from the Apache Software Foundation voting rules:

“A code-modification proposal may be stopped dead in its tracks by a -1 vote by a qualified voter. This constitutes a veto, and it cannot be overruled nor overridden by anyone. Vetoes stand until and unless withdrawn by their casters.

To prevent vetoes from being used capriciously, they must be accompanied by a technical justification showing why the change is bad (opens a security exposure, negatively affects performance, etc. ). A veto without a justification is invalid and has no weight.”

For votes regarding non-coding issues such as procedure changes, the requirement that a veto is accompanied by a technical justification is relaxed somewhat, though a well reasoned justification must still be included.


A -1 vote on any recently merged pull request requires an immediate reversion of the merged pull request. The backout of such a pull request invokes a mandatory, minimum 72 hour, review period.

  • Recently merged pull requests are defined as a being within the past 168 hours (7 days), so as to not prevent forward progress, while allowing for reversions of things merged without proper review and consensus.
  • The person issuing the -1 vote will, upon commenting -1 with technical justification per the vetoes section, immediately open a pull request to revert the original merge in question. If any committer other than the -1 issuer deems the justification technical - regardless of whether they agree with justification - that committer must then merge the pull request to revert.

Labeling and Milestones

Pull request handling, labeling, and milestone usage follows the procedures described in ISSUES.

Issue Reporting

Issues (bugs, feature requests, etc.) should be reported at ISSUE_REPORT, and handling of issues follows the procedures described in ISSUES.