Welcome to the documenters-project for lizardfs. This pages shall introduce you to our Tools and Workflows.

Documentation is written in reStructuredText (, then we build the different Formats (html, pdf) with the Help of sphinx (

If you want to generate nroff man pages as well, you will also need to install pandoc (

Editorial Workflow

To ease the authoring-process and to uphold the quality of our documentation every section goes through at least the following stages:

  1. todo (this section needs a helping hand)
  2. writing (somebody is writing content, others: please dont interfere)
  3. proof1 (proofreading stage 1, somebody with appropriate knowledge checks the written content for correctness regarding facts and understandability)
  4. proof2 (proofreading stage 2, somebody - preferably a native speaker - checks the content for grammar, spelling etc. No content/fact-changes here, if necessary set state back to proof1 and add a todo-remark)
  5. frozen (this section is done, find another one to work on, there is plenty of work available :)

While authoring the status of a section can go forth and back, writing is not a oneway-road...

The implementation of those stages is done with the comment-directive of rst. Put a line below the section-title like:

.. auth-status-todo/none
.. auth-status-writing/<my-own-email>
.. auth-status-proof1/<my-own-email>
.. auth-status-proof2/<my-own-email>
.. auth-status-frozen/none

the part after the “/” indicates who is working on the respective section. If you just finished a stage and want to indicate the next stage is to be done by “somebody”, use “none” instead of an email-address.

All in all a section-start should look like:


.. auth-status-writing/


This mechanism is meant to make our lives easier, please dont use it for commanding others! The only one who is entitled to put an email-addres in a authoring-tag is the person owning that address. It is used to indicate “i take responsibility for that section”. Misusing mechanisms for command-like “you take responsibility” actions will definitly kill our motivation.

ToDo notes

These notes can be used anywhere in the documentation as anonymous reminders. It is a good idea to also note keywords for content to be written as todo note when they come to your mind. ToDo notes have the syntax:

.. todo:: explain something

.. todo::
   explain something complex
   * explain part 1
   * explain part 2
   * explain part 3

ToDo notes go to the documentation in the place where they are written and to the ToDo-List (you need to “make clean” to generate a new ToDo-List). It is easy to generate documentation while leaving todo-notes out. To do that find the line:

todo_include_todos = True

in of the documentation-directory and change its value to “False” before generating the docs.

Styleguide / Organizing Files

Headers are taken from the Python documentation project:

Parts:            ############## (with overline)

Chapters:         ************** (with overline)

Sections:         ===========

Subsections:      -----------

Subsubsections:   ^^^^^^^^^^^

Paragraphs:        """"""""""
  • Table of Content (ToC) depth: 2 Levels (Also 2 levels in every Part except for the glossary)
  • Subdirectories are for separate manuals that should be buildable standalone.
  • The manual pages should be buildable as man pages standalone.
  • Add .. code-block:: <lang> to literal blocks so that they get highlighted. Prefer relying on automatic highlighting simply using :: (two colons). This has the benefit that if the code contains some invalid syntax, it won’t be highlighted. Adding .. code-block:: python, for example, will force highlighting despite invalid syntax.
  • In section titles, capitalize only initial words and proper nouns.
  • Wrap the documentation at 80 characters wide, unless a code example is significantly less readable when split over two lines, or for another good reason.

Writing style

When using pronouns in reference to a hypothetical person, such as “a user with a session cookie”, gender neutral pronouns (they/their/them) should be used. Instead of:

he or she... use they.
him or her... use them.
his or her... use their.
his or hers... use theirs.
himself or herself... use themselves.

Installing the documenters Tools on different Platforms

debian8 (jessie)

The best way to get the documentation formatting-tools up and running is:


  • apt-get install pandoc pandoc-data

Than (the sphinx in the debian repo is too old) :

  • choose a place for your virtual environment for sphinx

  • setup a virtual enironment for sphinx:

    $ virtualenv sphinx
  • activate your virtual python environment:

    $ source sphinx/bin/acticate
  • install the newest sphinx and tools:

    $ pip install sphinx sphinx-autobuild

This should be enough to build the html-documentation. If you want pdf as well you will need texlive/pdflatex - caution, that one is really a large set of software.

Mac/OS X

If you are following our On Mac OS/X recommendations and use homebrew the installation of the tools required to compile manpages is pretty simple. Just issue:

brew install pandoc

and you are all set up. To compile the documentation some additional work has to be done.

To install sphinx correctly on MacOS/X you will need to make use of a virtual python environment:

* choose a place for your virtual environment for sphinx
* setup a virtual enironment for sphinx::

  $ virtualenv sphinx

* activate your virtual python environment::

  $ source sphinx/bin/acticate

* install the newest sphinx and tools::

  $ pip install sphinx sphinx-autobuild


For building the manpages and documentation you will require the following packages:


FreeBSD keeps its sphinx prety actual so there should be no problem in building the docs.


Before you can build something you will need to get the lizardfs sources. Read Installing LizardFS from source whilst ignoring the stuff about cmake. When you pulled the sources from github look for a subdirectory named “docs”, this is where the current documentation lives - everything happens here,

There is a Makefile in the repo for building documentation. It is derived from the one generated by sphinx-quickstart.

To build the html-documentation in one huge html-file (plus images):

make singlehtml

To build the html-documentation splitted up to different files:

make html

To build the pdf-documentation:

make latexpdf

If things go wrong when building the documentation, first check if all the tools for your selected target-format are available on your system (check terminal-output for “command not found”-messages)

Submitting your work

Read Submitting Patches for information about our conventions. In short this means for us:

  • First line of the commit-message is preceeded by “doc: ”, The first character of the remaining line has to be uppercase. First line is of form:

    doc: Short-description max-length 65 characters
  • After the first line of the commit-message add a blank-line

  • third part of the commit-message is a longer description with lines of 80 characters maximum-length.

A complete commit-message looks like the following:

doc: Fixed references to other documentation

The refs to adminguide/basic_configuration and to filesystem/georeplication
had a wrong syntax.