You are here

Can anyone become a Rosetta developer?

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Can anyone become a Rosetta developer?

Rosetta's end-user documentation is very poor. I think that if I studied the source code of some applications, I could understand better how they work. However, studying the source code of a large project such as Rosetta requires a lot of help. I'm guessing that the Rosetta's developer resources (listed here: would help, but that requires a password (ex., How do you get this password?

I understand that Rosetta is an open-source project. Does that mean that anyone can contribute to its source?

Post Situation: 
Thu, 2015-01-22 05:10

While Rosetta provides the complete source to users, and users are welcome to make modifications and additions to Rosetta, distribution of Rosetta is limited, and it must be obtained through the RosettaCommons. This means the Rosetta license doesn't qualify as "Open Source" under the definitions used by the Open Source Initiative (

To become an official Rosetta developer means that you need to be part of (or at least associated with) one of the labs which are members of the RosettaCommons. ( From what I understand, RosettaCommons membership is open to any academic/non-profit lab which wants to join - however there are legal and administrative requirements which mean it's normally not worth it unless you want to contribute extensively to Rosetta development. For more casual development, normally it suffices to strike up a collaboration with one of the Rosetta PIs. So most anyone can contribute to the source, although there are administrate hoops one must go through.

From the point of view of writing documentation, access to the RosettaCommons developers' only resources listed at actually won't gain you much. The Github account is just the repository of the source - while you don't get the full history of the code and access to the cutting edge version, when you download the Rosetta release, you get a snapshot of that repository. The RosettaCommons internal Wiki at this point is used primarily for internal administrative usage: things like organizing meetings, or listing things such as the steps needed for internal developers to commit code to Rosetta, or what internal mailing lists there are. There shouldn't be anything which would be of use to people who aren't a member of the RosettaCommons - there certainly isn't a secret page which lays out the structure of the Rosetta library clearly, at least not that I've found.

We've been trying to consolidate the generally useful information at the resource publicly available as That, along with the code and published papers should represent the bulk of the written resources available for understanding Rosetta. What you might be missing as a non-RosettaCommons user is the access to the internal mailing list and hence the brains of the RosettaCommons developers, which is where much of the missing information about Rosetta is actually housed. - Though you do have access to that indirectly through the forums here.

If you want a guide in understanding the Rosetta code base, the best resource we have is probably the BootCamp lecture videos available on YouTube, linked to from The PyRosetta tutorials are also a good place to go. PyRosetta is just a thin Python wrapper around the Rosetta internals, so most of the objects and functions in PyRosetta reflect the C++ Rosetta organization. Also, please feel free to ask on the forums if you have a question. We're perfectly willing to help people understand the Rosetta code - Rosetta is academic scientific software, so we know that people don't just use it as-is, but also will want to modify and add to the code.

Mon, 2015-01-26 10:47

Thanks for the thorough answer. Is there a compilation of references to published papers about Rosetta available somewhere?

Mon, 2015-01-26 14:25

The best comprehensive list we have is probably at - although it looks to be a little out of date at this point.

The other reasonable alternative is to search PubMed for Rosetta (although that will also pick up papers about the cometary missions as well), or to search PubMed for papers by the Rosetta PI that published them. See for a list of PIs and their research interests.

Thu, 2015-01-29 11:23


Thu, 2015-01-29 11:50