Developer Information

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This page contains details about current development plans and procedures. For more information about ns and nam development, please consult the Developer FAQ.

Release schedule

ns-2, nam-1, otcl, and tclcl were released on November 4, 2011. ns-2.36 and corresponding allinone package are scheduled for January 2015.

Migration to CMake

As of December 2011, YunQiang Su is migrating the projects otcl, tclcl, ns-2, and nam-1 to the CMake build system. Once this build system stabilizes, the GNU Autotools-based build system is planned to be removed.

How to use CMake

Make sure that cmake is installed on your system. For a directory such as otcl, perform the following steps:

 mkdir build
 cd build
 cmake ..

Checking in code

Please follow the following steps when committing code to the repository:

  1. Ensure that you have the right to contribute the code and that the licensing is compatible with the project.
  2. (Important) Follow the Commit Guidelines


Please be sure that you have the right to contribute code to the project. In particular, proprietary code (or disassembled proprietary code) is incompatible with the nsnam project. If you are contributing code authored by someone else, you must attest to the permission of the license or copyright owner if the software license does not permit reuse by default.


As of 2005, ns and nam have converted to a GPL compatible licensing policy. Because of the large amount of pre-existing software in the project using the Original BSD license, and some new code using the Apache 2.0 license, Richard Stallman assisted this project in defining a specific exception (see below) that allows such software to coexist with GPLed software.

New code contributions are requested to use one of the following license types. If the license type is not aligned with the below, please consult the ns-developers mailing list to determine whether there is agreement to add code with different licensing.

  1. GNU GPL with specific exception (see below)
  2. Modified BSD license
  3. Apache 2.0 license
  4. original BSD license (Note: Only use this if you are porting in old code with this license)

GNU GPL with specific exception

If you contribute code under the GPL, you must also add the below specific exception.

* This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
* modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License,
* version 2, as published by the Free Software Foundation.
* This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
* but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
* GNU General Public License for more details.
* You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
* with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
* 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.
* The copyright of this module includes the following
* linking-with-specific-other-licenses addition:
* In addition, as a special exception, the copyright holders of
* this module give you permission to combine (via static or
* dynamic linking) this module with free software programs or
* libraries that are released under the GNU LGPL and with code
* included in the standard release of ns-2 under the Apache 2.0
* license or under otherwise-compatible licenses with advertising
* requirements (or modified versions of such code, with unchanged
* license).  You may copy and distribute such a system following the
* terms of the GNU GPL for this module and the licenses of the
* other code concerned, provided that you include the source code of
* that other code when and as the GNU GPL requires distribution of
* source code.
* Note that people who make modified versions of this module
* are not obligated to grant this special exception for their
* modified versions; it is their choice whether to do so.  The GNU
* General Public License gives permission to release a modified
* version without this exception; this exception also makes it
* possible to release a modified version which carries forward this
* exception.

Commit Guidelines

See the commit guidelines for ns and related software

Validation and regression testing

ns-2 has built up a regression test facility called "validate" that is intended to cover large parts of the code. In the top-level directory, see the "validate" script. See also this page for more explanation.

Daily validation runs are presently being performed on the Sourceforge Compile Farm. Scripts to automate the daily building and validation are being run as a cron job on the Sourceforge compile farm shell server, using these scripts. The output of these scripts is mailed daily to the nsnam-commits mailing list.

In the future, this regression testing may be extended to include more platforms (outside of Sourceforge) and more compile flags (warnings, optimizations, etc.).

Development with Eclipse

How to setup Eclipse for ns-2

  • Download Eclipse CDT package for C++ development
  • Open Eclipse
    • Select "File >> New >> Project"
    • Select "C++->Standard C++ Make Project"
    • Enter project name, e.g. ns-2.30
    • Uncheck "Use default location" then browse to the directory ns-2 source directory (e.g. xx/ns-allione-2.xx/ns-2.xx)
    • "Next" and "Finish"
    • On the left panel you will see the newly created project. Right click and choose the "Properties"
      • Click "C/C++ Project Paths" and select "add". Choose all the folders.
      • Select "Project >> Build All" to build the ns-2 code

How to debug ns-2 using Eclipse

  • Select "Run >> Debug"
  • Select "C/C++ Local Application"
  • Click "New Launch Configuration"
  • Under Project, click "Browse" and select "ns-2.xx"
  • Under C/C++ Application, click "Search Project" and select "ns"
  • Click "Apply"
  • Click "Debug"


Release process

For now, see this file.

Coding standards


Looking for a way to help the project?

See the Contributing page.