You don't need to be a programmer to contribute; icon design, tutorials, the website, testing and localization are also areas where you can make valuable contributions but you need to work with git if you want to modify the source code. You can either fork the git repository at GitHub and checkout you own copy of the main branch or clone the main repository directly. Reading the latest commits and browsing source code can be a good way to get a picture of the current development.

Clone the repository:

git clone


BirdFont is written in Vala. It is easy to compile and debug the program with Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux distributions.

Build BirdFont:


Run BirdFont in GDB:


Getting Code into the Repository

Send patches or pull requests to johan.mattsson.m at or to the mailing list. Patches should always be created from the base directory and they should be ordered if you send more than one patch. Git can create good patch sets automatically.

Commit changes to the local repository and create a patch:

git commit -a
git format-patch -1

Beta Versions

Public beta versions are available here.


Most of the localization can be done on Locamotions pootle server but the default characterset is hardcoded into the editor. Edit DefaultCharactersSet.vala if you want to add a character set or send me a line with this information:

add_language (_("Language"), "ISO code", "characters");

Replace “language” with the name of the language in English, replace “ISO code” with the corresponding ISO 639-1 code and replace “characters” with all characters separated by space. The character list should include letters with diacritical marks.

Getting Help

Join the mailing list or send your questions to johan.mattsson.m at