Here we show first an example use case followed by more details of each configuration rule and variable.

Example from AOSP

The find-owners plugin is used in Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Here is one AOSP change that modified multiple OWNERS files. If you sign in to the AOSP Gerrit server, you can see and click the [FIND OWNERS] button and it will pop up a window with owners of the changed files.

The AOSP Gerrit server and projects are configured with the following steps:

  1. Enable the plugin in Gerrit configuration file gerrit.config:

    [plugin "find-owners"]
        enable = true
        maxCacheAge = 30
        maxCacheSize = 2000
        alwaysShowButton = true
  • maxCacheAge is the number of seconds owners info will stay in a cache before refreshed. This reduces repeated access to the same OWNERS files in a repository. If it is set to 0 (default), there will be no cache.
  • maxCacheSize limits the number of owners info stored in the cache to reduce memory footprint.
  • alwaysShowButton parameter is useful for older Gerrit UI. Current Gerrit UI always displays the [FIND OWNERS] button.
  1. Enable the upload validator in project.config of the All-Projects project, in the refs/meta/config branch:

    [plugin "find-owners"]
        rejectErrorInOwners = true
  • The upload validator checks basic syntax of uploaded OWNERS files.
  • It also checks if all email addresses used in OWNERS files belong to active Gerrit accounts.
  • All other Gerrit projects inherit from All-Projects, so they have the same enabled upload validator.
  1. Optionally redefine OWNERS file name in project.config of some projects, in the refs/meta/config branch:

    [plugin "find-owners"]
        ownersFileName =
  • The AOSP platform/external/v8 project keeps a copy of upstream source from
  • The v8 upstream source already has its OWNERS files that do not work with AOSP Gerrit, because the Email addresses in those files are not all active developers for AOSP. So we need to use different owners files, with the file name.
  1. Call the submit filters in of All-Projects, in the refs/meta/config branch:

    % Special projects, branches, user accounts can opt out owners review.
    % To disable all find_owners rules, add opt_out_find_owners :- true.
    opt_out_find_owners :-
    % Special projects, branches, user accounts can opt in owners review.
    % To default to find_owners rules, add opt_in_find_owners :- true.
    opt_in_find_owners :- true.
    % If opt_out_find_owners is true, remove all 'Owner-Review-Vote' label;
    % else if opt_in_find_owners is true, call find_owners:submit_filter;
    % else default to no find_owners filter.
    check_find_owners(In, Out) :-
        ( opt_out_find_owners -> find_owners:remove_need_label(In, Temp)
        ; opt_in_find_owners -> find_owners:submit_filter(In, Temp)
        ; In = Temp
        Temp =.. [submit | A],
        change_find_owners_labels(A, B),
        Out =.. [submit | B].
    submit_filter(In, Out) :-
      In =.. [submit | A],
      check_drno_review(A, B),
      check_api_review(B, C),
      check_qualcomm_review(C, D),
      Temp =.. [submit | D],
      check_find_owners(Temp, Out).
    % Remove useless label('Owner-Approved',_) after final filter.
    % Change optional label('Owner-Review-Vote', may(_)) to
    % label('Owner-Review-Vote', need(_)) to hide the Submit button.
    change_find_owners_labels([], []).
    change_find_owners_labels([H | T], R) :-
      H = label('Owner-Approved', _), !,
      change_find_owners_labels(T, R).
    change_find_owners_labels([H1 | T], [H2 | R]) :-
      H1 = label('Owner-Review-Vote', may(_)), !,
      H2 = label('Owner-Review-Vote', need(_)),
      change_find_owners_labels(T, R).
    change_find_owners_labels([H | T], [H | R]) :-
      change_find_owners_labels(T, R).
  • With the predefined Gerrit Prolog rules, any project, branch, or user can be matched and added to the opt_out_find_owners or opt_in_find_owners rules.
  • If the submit_filter output contains label(‘Owner-Review-Vote’, need(_)), the Gerrit change cannot be submitted.
  • For a simpler configuration without opt-out projects, just call find_owners:submit_filter and change_find_owners_labels.

The submit_rule and submit_filter

To enforce the owner-approval-before-submit rule, this plugin provides find_owners:submit_rule/1 and find_owners:submit_filter/2 predicates for Gerrit projects.

If a Gerrit project wants to enforce this owner-approval policy, it can add a submit_rule to the file in refs/meta/config like this:

submit_rule(S) :- find_owners:submit_rule(S).

If many projects need this owner-approval policy, each of them can have a submit_rule defined, or we can simply define a submit_filter in their common parent project's file like this:

submit_filter(In, Out) :- find_owners:submit_filter(In, Out).

By default the find_owners:submit_rule calls gerrit:default_submit, and the find_owners:submit_filter passes In to Out. They add special labels to the output to indicate if owner approval is needed or missing.

  • If a change does not need owner approval, label('Owner-Approved', may(_)) is added. This is an optional requirement that does not affect a change's submittability.
  • If a change needs owner approval, and all changed files have at least one owner voted +1 and no negative vote, label('Owner-Approved', ok(user(1))) is added.
  • If a change needs owner approval, but some changed file has no owner +1 vote or has negative owner vote, label('Owner-Review-Vote', may(_)) is added. This will show the label but not disable the Submit button. When a user clicks on the Submit button, a window will pop up and ask the user to (1) add missing owners to the reviewers list and/or ask for owner's +1 Code-Review votes, or (2) add Exempt-From-Owner-Approval: to the commit message. The [FIND OWNERS] button is useful in this situation to find the missing owners or +1 votes of any changed files.

When label('Owner-Approved', may(_)) is added to the submit rule output, Gerrit displays a grey ‘Owner-Approved’ label. To avoid confusion, this may(_) state label could be removed by the submit_filter of the root level All-Projects. Special automerge processes could create changes that do not need either Code-Review vote or owner approval. Such special conditions can also be handled in the submit_filter of All-Projects.

A change can be declared as exempt from owner approval in the submit message, with a special keyword Exempt-From-Owner-Approval: followed by some explanation.

Default minimal owner vote level

When find_owners:submit_rule(S) or find_owners:submit_filter(In,Out) are applied, the default requirement is +1 Code-Review vote from at least one owner of every changed file.

Default OWNERS file name

This plugin finds owners in default OWNERS files. If a project has already used OWNERS files for other purpose, the “ownersFileName” parameter can be used to change the default.

Validate OWNERS files before upload

To check syntax of OWNERS files before they are uploaded, set the following variable in project.config files.

[plugin "find-owners"]
    rejectErrorInOwners = true

Example 0, call submit_filter/2

The simplest configuration adds to of the root All-Projects project.

submit_filter(In, Out) :- find_owners:submit_filter(In, Out).

All projects will need at least +1 vote from an owner of every changed files.

Example 1, call submit_rule/2

Add the following to of project P, to change the default and require +2 owner review votes.

submit_rule(S) :- find_owners:submit_rule(S, 2).

All patches to project P will need at least +2 vote from an owner of every changed files.

Example 2, call submit_filter/3

Add the following to of project P, to change the default and require +2 owner review votes.

submit_filter(In, Out) :- find_owners:submit_filter(In, Out, 2).

All child projects of project P will need at least +2 vote from an owner of every changed files.

Example 3, define minOwnerVoteLevel

Add the following to global gerrit.config or a project's project.config file, to change the default and require +2 owner review votes.

[plugin "find-owners"]
    minOwnerVoteLevel = 2

Example 4, call remove_may_label/2

If a change does not need owner approval, the optional greyed out Owner-Approved label might cause some confusion. To remove that label, we can add the following to of the root All-Projects project.

submit_filter(In, Out) :-
  find_owners:submit_filter(In, Temp),
  find_owners:remove_may_label(Temp, Out).

Example 5, call remove_need_label/2

To make all changes with some special property, e.g., from the auto merger, exempt from owner approval, we can add a special filter to of the root All-Projects project.

submit_filter(In, Out) :-
  is_exempt_from_owner_approval(), % define-your-own-rule
  find_owners:remove_need_label(In, Out).

Example 6, define addDebugMsg

Add the following to global gerrit.config, to debug the find-owners plugin.

[plugin "find-owners"]
    addDebugMsg = true

Example 7, change default OWNERS file name

Add the following to global gerrit.config or a project's project.config file, to change the default “OWNERS” file name, e.g., to “”.

[plugin "find-owners"]
    ownersFileName =

If ownersFileName is defined the project should have such a specified file at the root directory. Otherwise it would be considered a configuration or Gerrit server error.