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Hervé Beraud

FOSS Hacker at Red Hat
Python Senior Software Engineer
Science Lover


How to hack on podman

Autored by Hervé Beraud on 6 February 2019

Setup your environment to start to hack on podman


podman is the next generation of Linux container tools.

Podman is a young project (first version released at February 2018). This project require a lot of tiny improvements and some features lacks like the copy command to copy files between host and containers during execution. So I decide to try to contribute to this project and this post describe the way I follow to setup my environement for develop.


I suppose you use like me fedora 29 so all the described commands run on it.

  • an environment with Fedora 29.
  • notice that Fedora 29 come with dnf so we will use it.

Before to start

Libpod aka podman give to you some instructions to hack on podman:

The first give to you some interesting commands like how to build podman from scratch etc…

The second help you to propose changes and to prepare your git commits.

All along this post we will use the both to propose your first changes to the project.

Setup your environment

Install requirements

First we need to install podman and some tools/dependencies like runc and conmon:

sudo dnf install -y \
    podman \
    atomic-registries \
    btrfs-progs-devel \
    conmon \
    containernetworking-cni \
    device-mapper-devel \
    git \
    glib2-devel \
    glibc-devel \
    glibc-static \
    go \
    golang-github-cpuguy83-go-md2man \
    gpgme-devel \
    iptables \
    libassuan-devel \
    libgpg-error-devel \
    libseccomp-devel \
    libselinux-devel \
    make \
    ostree-devel \
    pkgconfig \
    runc \
  • runc is a CLI for running open containers.
  • conmon is a the Open Container Initiative (OCI) container runtime monitor.

Check that the installed version of runc is new enough by using:

$ runc --version
runc --version
runc version 1.0.0-rc6+dev
commit: d164d9b08bf7fc96a931403507dd16bced11b865
spec: 1.0.1-dev

When I wrote these line your version of runc need to be equal or greater than 1.0.0 else you need to build your own.

You also need to check the installed version of golang, 1.10.x or higher is required:

$ go version
go version go1.10.3 gccgo (GCC) 8.2.1 20181215 (Red Hat 8.2.1-6) linux/amd64

Fork and clone libpod

Libpod sources are available here. You need a github account to fork it and in a second time clone your fork locally.

Libpod is a golang project and the project need to be clone under the $GOPATH directory.

Go language introduce the get command who allow you to clone your fork:

$ go get<you>/libpod

Your fork was clone under your ~/go/src/<you>/libpod.

You can also configure your go environment variables:

export GOPATH=~/go
export PATH=$PATH:$GOPATH/bin

You can also add these previous commands to your bashrc.

Further informations about the $GOPATH.

For me the previous command produce the following result:

$ go get
$ ls -l ~/go/src/
total 368
-rwxrwxr-x.  1 herve herve 70587  6 févr. 16:49
-rw-rw-r--.  1 herve herve 72123  6 févr. 16:49 changelog.txt
drwxrwxr-x.  3 herve herve  4096  6 févr. 16:49 cmd
drwxrwxr-x.  2 herve herve  4096  6 févr. 16:49 cni
-rw-rw-r--.  1 herve herve  2969  6 févr. 16:49
-rw-rw-r--.  1 herve herve 12232  6 févr. 16:49
drwxrwxr-x.  3 herve herve  4096  6 févr. 16:49 completions
drwxrwxr-x.  9 herve herve  4096  6 févr. 16:49 contrib
-rw-rw-r--.  1 herve herve 10920  6 févr. 16:49

Configure your CNI

First go to your clone dir by using cd $GOPATH/src/<you>/libpod

Run the following command:

sudo cp cni/87-podman-bridge.conflist /etc/cni/net.d

For further informations about CNI network configurations and podman.

Prepare your clone for development

Ensure to always be inside your clone directory else cd $GOPATH/src/<you>/libpod.

Now install needed tools:

make help # display available commands

Start to hack on libpod

Find an existing issue to fix, propose a new feature or an improvement.

Create your working branch

To be sure to have an up-to-date environment you need to add a remote project to your clone who allow to update from the official repository:

$ git remote add upstream
$ # get last update
$ git fetch upstream
$ # create a new branch up-to-date from upstream project
$ git checkout -b your-development-branch upstream/master

Make your changes

Just before to start your hack you need to know some simply project rules:

  • Only solve a problem per patch (by pull request)
  • Explain your changes to be understandale by everyone (commit message).

You really need to take a look to the contribution guide before starting your changes. Hack and make your changes on libpod/podman

Commit and propose your changes

Now your changes was done you can commit them and propose them to the upstream project by proposing a new pull request.

Before commiting your changes you need to take a look to the developer certificate of origin.

Now you can commit your changes and sign-off your commit.

To sign-off your commit you need to add Signed-off-by: <Your Name> <> to your commit message:

$ git commit

Here is an example of a commit message on one of my libpod pull request:

$ git log
commit f6f5d8b8134dba75f8f18be528ec544af2648001 (HEAD -> improve-makefile, origin/improve-makefile)
Author: Hervé Beraud <>
Date:   Wed Feb 6 18:27:00 2019 +0100

    Generate make helping message dynamicaly.
    Generate make helping message dynamicaly by using
    python code snippet inside Makefile.
    All commented make targets will be added to the
    help message. To be added to the helping message
    comment need to start with '## '.
    These specials comments are detected by the python code.
    Python code generate the helping output from these results.
    Notice that this commit introduce a dependency with python (compatible python 2 and 3).
    Signed-off-by: Hervé Beraud <>

Please take the time to provide an useful commit message with the goal of your changes and the purpose. A beautiful git message is really useful when some months later maintainers need to fix an issue or inspect the code. The git message is like clues on a murder scene who allow developers to understand who, why, what, etc…

Push your changes to your clone and submit your pull request:

git push origin your-development-branch

Review process

Now your changes was proposed you will receive some comments on your pull request.

By example you can observe mine.

This one had help me to write this post and to discover the podman project workflow.

In a first time you will receive some comments from CI bots who check if you have sign-off your commit and some other comments like that.

When reviewers ask changes to you, you need to update your patch and I can propose to you to squash your commits in only once commit to maintain a more properly git history since one pull request is equal to one semantic changes or purpose.

Repeat the last sentence until reviewers ask for changes to you and while your patch are not merged.

Well! Now enjoy your podman hacking and help the team to improve this project :)