Guide to DCO

Sep 21, 2021
Dec 20, 2023

In the vibrant realm of open-source development, collaboration is key. To streamline contributions and ensure a harmonious coding environment, many projects adopt the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO). This certificate, often abbreviated as DCO, serves as a guideline for contributors, fostering a culture of openness and clarity.

What is the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO)?

The DCO is a lightweight, yet powerful, declaration that contributors sign to confirm the origin of their contributions. It ensures that every code change is made by the contributor or that they have the right to contribute the code.

Why Use the DCO?

  1. Clear Contributions:

    • DCO provides a clear indication of the origin of contributions, eliminating ambiguity.
  2. Protecting Intellectual Property:

    • By affirming the contributor's right to submit the code, DCO helps protect the project's intellectual property.
  3. Streamlined Collaboration:

    • The DCO simplifies the contribution process, making it easier for developers to collaborate.
  4. Open Source Harmony:

    • It fosters an open and welcoming atmosphere within the open-source community.

How to Use the DCO

  1. Sign Your Work:

    • Every commit should include a "Signed-off-by" line in the commit message, indicating the contributor's agreement to the DCO.
    Signed-off-by: John Doe <>
  2. Automate the Process:

    • Many version control systems offer automation tools to include the DCO sign-off in commits automatically.
  3. Consistent Workflow:

    • Encourage contributors to follow the DCO consistently, ensuring a uniform and transparent contribution process.

Benefits for Project Maintainers

  1. Legal Clarity:

    • Establishes legal clarity regarding code contributions and ownership.
  2. Community Trust:

    • Builds trust within the contributor community, assuring them of fair and transparent collaboration.
  3. Efficient Contribution Management:

    • Streamlines contribution tracking and management, making it easier for project maintainers.

The Developer Certificate of Origin is a valuable tool for open-source projects, offering a straightforward method to affirm the origin of code contributions. By adopting and adhering to the DCO, projects can create a collaborative and welcoming environment for developers worldwide.

In the spirit of open-source collaboration, let's continue to build amazing software together, respecting each other's contributions and fostering innovation across the community. 🚀👩‍💻👨‍💻