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Personal forks are a standard open source approach to tool for making pull requests against repos where you don’t have write access. It’s a little more complicated than working directly in the repo, but it’s not difficult.



Fork: On GitHub, a fork means making is a copy of a repo into in your own account so that you have write permissions to push commits and branches to it. This is different than the broader open source term of forking a project because of a disagreement about direction. We are talking about the gentle GitHub term, not the aggressive governance term.

Upstream: the repo you are ultimately contributing to. In our world, this is likely in the openedx GitHub organization.

Remote: a server copy of a repo. A local repo on your machine can have a number of different remotes, and pull from them separately. Each remote has a name and a URL. The default remote is called “origin”. You can see your remotes' names and URLs with git remote -v.


  1. Create a branch locally: git switch -c user/feature-namedescription.

  2. Make your changes and commit them.

  3. Push your branch to your fork: git push -u origin @.

  4. Make a pull request on GitHub. The base repository should automatically choose the upstream repo.

  5. Review and work on the pull request as usual. You can push new commits to your branch as usual.

  6. Ask the owning team to approve and merge your pull request.