How to contribute

Contributors are essential to Scapy (as they are to most open source projects). Here is some advice to help you help the project!

Project objectives

We try to keep Scapy as powerful as possible, to support as many protocols and platforms as possible, to keep and make the code (and the commit history) as clean as possible.

Since Scapy can be slow and memory consuming, we try to limit CPU and memory usage, particularly in parts of the code often called.

What to contribute?

You want to spend to time working on Scapy but have no (or little) idea what to do? You can look for open issues labeled “contributions wanted”, or look at the contributions roadmap

If you have any ideas of useful contributions that you cannot (or do not want to) do yourself, open an issue and use the label “contributions wanted”.

Once you have chosen a contribution, open an issue to let other people know you‘re working on it (or assign the existing issue to yourself) and track your progress. You might want to ask whether you’re working in an appropriate direction, to avoid the frustration of seeing your contribution rejected after a lot of work.

Reporting issues


It is OK so submit issues to ask questions (more than OK, encouraged). There is a label “question” that you can use for that.


If you have installed Scapy through a package manager (from your Linux or BSD system, from PyPI, etc.), please get and install the current development code, and check that the bug still exists before submitting an issue.

Please label your issues “bug”.

If you‘re not sure whether a behavior is a bug or not, submit an issue and ask, don’t be shy!

Enhancements / feature requests

If you want a feature in Scapy, but cannot implement it yourself or want some hints on how to do that, open an issue with label “enhancement”.

Explain if possible the API you would like to have (e.g., give examples of function calls, packet creations, etc.).

Submitting pull requests

Coding style & conventions

First, Scapy “legacy” code contains a lot of code that do not comply with the following recommendations, but we try to comply with the some guidelines for new code.

  • The code should be PEP-8 compliant; you can check your code with pep8.
  • Pylint can help you write good Python code (even if respecting Pylint rules is sometimes either too hard or even undesirable; human brain needed!).
  • Google Python Style Guide is a nice read!
  • Avoid creating unnecessary list objects, particularly if they can be huge (e.g., when possible, use scapy.modules.six.range() instead of range(), for line in fdesc instead of for line in fdesc.readlines(); more generally prefer generators over lists).


Please consider adding tests for your new features or that trigger the bug you are fixing. This will prevent a regression from being unnoticed.

New protocols

New protocols can go either in scapy/layers or to scapy/contrib. Protocols in scapy/layers should be usually found on common networks, while protocols in scapy/contrib should be uncommon or specific.


Protocol-related features should be implemented within the same module as the protocol layers(s) (e.g., traceroute() is implemented in scapy/layers/

Other features may be implemented in a module (scapy/modules) or a contribution (scapy/contrib).


If you contribute to Scapy's core (e.g., scapy/, scapy/, etc.), please be very careful with performances and memory footprint, as it is easy to write Python code that wastes memory or CPU cycles.

As an example, Packet().init() is called each time a layer is parsed from a string (during a network capture or a PCAP file read). Adding inefficient code here will have a disastrous effect on Scapy's performances.

Python 2 and 3 compatibility

The project aims to provide code that works both on Python 2 and Python 3. Therefore, some rules need to be apply to achieve compatibility:

  • byte-string must be defined as b"\x00\x01\x02"
  • exceptions must comply with the new Python 3 format: except SomeError as e:
  • lambdas must be written using a single argument when using tuples: use lambda x_y: x_y[0] + f(x_y[1]) instead of lambda (x, y): x + f(y).
  • use int instead of long
  • use list comprehension instead of map() and filter()
  • use scapy.modules.six.range instead of xrange and range
  • use scapy.modules.six.itervalues(dict) instead of dict.values() or dict.itervalues()
  • use scapy.modules.six.string_types instead of basestring
  • __bool__ = __nonzero__ must be used when declaring __nonzero__ methods
  • io.BytesIO must be used instead of StringIO when using bytes
  • __cmp__ must not be used.
  • UserDict should be imported via six.UserDict

Code review

Maintainers tend to be picky, and you might feel frustrated that your code (which is perfectly working in your use case) is not merged faster.

Please don't be offended, and keep in mind that maintainers are concerned about code maintainability and readability, commit history (we use the history a lot, for example to find regressions or understand why certain decisions have been made), performances, integration in Scapy, API consistency (so that someone who knows how to use Scapy will know how to use your code), etc.

Thanks for reading, happy hacking!