Homebrew/brew Maintainer Guide

This document describes a few components of the Homebrew/brew repository that are useful for maintainers to be aware of, but don’t necessarily need to appear in documentation for most users and contributors.

Reviewing PRs

Using gh pr checkout NUMBER is a super easy way to check out a PR branch using the GitHub CLI.

When reviewing a PR, use “comment”, “approve”, or “request changes” when submitting based on the following guidelines:

Merging PRs

Merging is done using the standard Merge button in the Homebrew/brew repository to preserve history and GPG commit signing. The Squash and Merge and Rebase and Merge buttons are disabled.

PRs must meet the following conditions to be merged:

If possible, PRs should also have GPG-signed commits (see the private ops repository for instructions on setting this up).

Automatic approvals

To ensure that non-urgent PRs have the opportunity to be seen and reviewed by any other maintainers who wish to take a look, all PRs require an approval before they can be merged. However, not every PR is reviewed by another maintainer, and some PRs are urgent enough that they need to be merged without an approval by another maintainer.

As a compromise between always needing a review and allowing maintainers to merge PRs they deem ready, the Triage CI job will ensure that PRs cannot be merged until they’ve been open for 24 hours (only counting hours that occur Monday to Friday). After the triage period has expired, the CI job will show up as “passed” and @BrewTestBot will approve the PR, allowing it to be merged. This gives all maintainers a reasonable opportunity to review every PR, but won’t block any PR for lack of reviews.

If the PR is urgent enough that it is necessary to bypass that 24 hour window, the critical label should be applied to the PR. When this label is applied, the Triage CI job will immediately be successful and @BrewTestBot will approve the PR.


Every PR in Homebrew/brew runs a series of CI tests to try to prevent bugs from being introduced. A PR must have passing CI before it can be merged.

There are many checks that run on every PR. The following is a quick list of the various checks and what they represent:

Note that this list is non-exhaustive and can change over time.

brew tests and Codecov

A coverage report is generated by Codecov for every PR, and its results are shown as CI jobs. These reports are publicly viewable on Homebrew/brew’s Codecov page. Additionally, annotations will appear in the PR’s “Files changed” tab where lines of code have been added that aren’t being hit by brew tests. If the Codecov job fails, that’s a sign that some more tests should be added to test the functionality being added in the PR.

Codecov should be used as a guide to indicate when more tests are probably needed, but it’s unrealistic for every line of code to have a test associated with it, especially when testing would require a slow integration test. For this reason, it’s okay to merge PRs that fail the Codecov check if necessary, but this should be avoided if possible.

brew tests and BuildPulse

BuildPulse monitors CI jobs for every push to Homebrew/brew to detect flaky tests and track them over time. The reports are available to Homebrew maintainers on buildpulse.io and daily summaries are published to #buildpulse-health in Slack.

BuildPulse can be used as a guide to identify which flaky tests are causing the most disruption to the CI suite. To make the biggest improvements to the reliability of the build, we can focus on the most disruptive flaky tests first (i.e. the tests causing the most intermittent failures).

To help find the root cause for a particular flaky test, buildpulse.io provides links to the most recent CI job and commit where the test failed and then passed with no change to the underlying code. You may want to check out the code at that commit to attempt to reproduce the failure locally. You can also see the list of recent failures on buildpulse.io to determine if the test always fails the same way.

Manpages and shell completions

Homebrew’s manpages and shell completions are generated automatically by the brew generate-man-completions command. Contributors are welcome to run this command and commit the changes in a PR, but they don’t have to. If they don’t, a follow-up PR to make the necessary changes will be opened automatically by @BrewTestBot once the original PR is merged. These follow-up PRs can be merged immediately if the changes seem correct.

An update can be requested manually by triggering the workflow from the Update maintainers, manpage and completions section under the “Actions” tab. Click on the “Run workflow” dropdown and then the “Run workflow” button. A PR will be opened shortly if there are any changes.

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