Discussions have occurred on the Clojure Google group periodically about the Clojure contribution process, and why it is the way it is. This page attempts to give brief answers to some of the questions raised in those discussions.
Clojure, its contrib libraries, and ClojureScript, are distributed under the Eclipse Public License. Anyone can submit bug reports or enhancement requests by creating a ticket on JIRA (a list of tickets categorized by project is here), and attach a patch implementing the change if they desire. Only patches written by someone who has signed a Clojure Contributor Agreement (CA) will be considered for inclusion. Instructions for submitting a CA, and a list of the contributors are given here (over 800 contributors as of August 2014).
If you do not wish to submit a CA, you can also participate in discussions in the Clojure Google group or the #clojure IRC channel, and someone else may become interested in implementing your ideas.
For the contrib libraries, the Project Lead decides what to do with all tickets and submitted patches. The Project Leads are listed on the project page above, given again here. For ClojureScript, David Nolen tends to be the de facto project lead, even though Rich Hickey is listed on that page.
For Clojure, there are several contributors with the authorization to be Clojure screeners (the list is here). They examine Clojure tickets and patches, deciding what to do with them. If they approve of a ticket with a patch, then Rich Hickey also examines the patch. If he approves, then the patch is committed.
More details on how to create a ticket here, how to create a patch here, and about the ticket work flow here.
Other articles that may be of interest:
The articles below are not directly related to Clojure development, but were written by developers of other open source projects. They express some of the same sentiments on what the Clojure screeners and Rich Hickey go through when considering patches:
It boils down to two reasons:
Signing the Contributor Agreement grants Rich Hickey joint ownership of your contributions. In exchange, Rich Hickey guarantees that Clojure will always be available under an open-source license approved by either the Free Software Foundation or the Open Source Initiative.
This is a quirk of Adobe EchoSign specific to users whose email account is already associated with an Adobe EchoSign account. In those cases, EchoSign will use the company name from your existing profile in the subject line rather than the individual name that was signed on the form. Don't worry! This has no effect - the agreement is as signed and attached in the email.
Rich Hickey prefers to evaluate patches attached to JIRA tickets. This is not to make it more difficult for contributors, or for legal reasons, but because of workflow preferences. The process of creating JIRA tickets and patches is documented and not terribly difficult.
Link to Oct 2012 Clojure Google group message from Rich Hickey on this topic.