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How to contribute

This page is all about how you can contribute to VirtualBox. (If you are only looking for information on how to download and run VirtualBox, see the Documentation page instead.)

There are many ways how you can contribute to VirtualBox. Even if you're not a programmer, you can help us with the documentation, or work on the design.

On the other hand, if you know how to program C++, you are certainly welcome to contribute code of all sorts.

Even though VirtualBox' source code is licensed to you under the GPL, it's not enough to submit your patches under the GPL. The Licensing FAQ will tell you more about how InnoTek handles VirtualBox licensing.

In any event, if you like to contribute anything that is subject to copyright (text, media, or code), InnoTek must be legally certain they can redistribute the code you have contributed to their own customers who have purchased closed-source editions of VirtualBox. In order to be able to accept your contribution, we must therefore ask you to do one of two things:

  1. Fill out the InnoTek Contributor's Agreement (ICA) and send it to InnoTek. In the ICA, you give InnoTek permission to use your contribution under licenses other than the main VirtualBox license. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event: once we have your ICA, we will never again ask you to undergo any bureaucratic procedures, and all future contributions are covered.
  1. If you don't want to sign such an agreement, you can alternatively submit your contribution under the MIT license. This is a liberal, wide-spread Open Source license that basically says "do as you wish".

Basically, the main difference between the two options is this: With the ICA, a written statement is necessary, but then only InnoTek is allowed to relicense your code (unless you give other people the same permission). With the MIT license, you save the paperwork, but everyone else can use your code as well. It's your choice.
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