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Signed-off-by: David Sterba <>

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September 12, 2023 23:18
September 12, 2023 23:18
June 12, 2007 15:41
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Userspace utilities to manage btrfs filesystems. License: GPLv2.

Btrfs is a copy on write (COW) filesystem for Linux aimed at implementing advanced features while focusing on fault tolerance, repair and easy administration.

This repository hosts following utilities and also documentation:

See INSTALL for build instructions, tests/ for testing information and ci/ for CI information.

Release cycle

The major version releases are time-based and follow the cycle of the linux kernel releases. The cycle usually takes 2 months. A minor version releases may happen in the meantime if there are bug fixes or minor useful improvements queued.

The release tags are signed with a GPG key ID F2B4 1200 C54E FB30 380C 1756 C565 D5F9 D76D 583B, release tarballs are hosted at See file CHANGES or changelogs on RTD.

Reporting bugs

There are several ways, each has its own specifics and audience that can give feedback or work on a fix. The following list is sorted in the order of preference:


The development takes place in the mailing list ( or at Github (issues, pull requests). Changes should be split to logical parts if possible, documentation may be included in the same patch as to code or separately.

The development model of btrfs-progs shares a lot with the kernel model. The

  • one logical change per patch: e.g. not mixing bugfixes, cleanups, features etc., sometimes it's not clear and will be usually pointed out during reviews
  • proper subject line: e.g. prefix with btrfs-progs: subpart, ... , descriptive yet not too long, see git log --oneline for some inspiration
  • proper changelog: the changelogs are often missing or lacking explanation why the change was made, or how is something broken, what are user-visible effects of the bug or the fix, how does an improvement help or the intended usecase
  • the Signed-off-by line is not mandatory for less significant changes (typos, documentation) but is desired as this documents who authored the change, you can read more about the The Developer's Certificate of Origin (chapter 11)
    • if you are not used to the signed-off style, your contributions won't be rejected just because of it's missing, the Author: tag will be added as a substitute in order to allow contributions without much bothering with formalities

Pull requests

The pull requests on Github may be used for code or documentation contributions. There are basic build checks enabled in the Github actions CI (first time contributors' pull requests may need an approval). The status can be checked at the workflow page.

  • open a PR against branches devel or master
  • push update to the same branch if you need to
  • close the PR in case it's wrong, a mistake or needs rework
  • if you're sure the changes don't need a CI build verification, please add [skip ci] to the changelog

Source code coding style and preferences follow the kernel coding style. You can find the editor settings in .editorconfig and use the EditorConfig plugin to let your editor use that, or update your editor settings manually.


The testing documentation can be found in tests/ and continuous integration/container images in ci/.

Documentation updates

Documentation fixes or updates do not need much explanation so sticking to the code rules in the previous section is not necessary. GitHub pull requests are OK, patches could be sent to me directly and not required to be also in the mailing list. Pointing out typos via IRC also works, although might get accidentally lost in the noise.

Documentation sources are written in RST and built by sphinx.

Third-party sources

Build dependencies are listed in INSTALL. Implementation of checksum/hash functions is provided by copies of the respective sources to avoid adding dependencies that would make deployments in rescue or limited environments harder. The implementations are portable and there are optimized versions for some architectures. Optionally it's possible to use libgcrypt, libsodium or libkcapi implementations.

Some other code is borrowed from kernel, eg. the raid5 tables or data structure implementation (list, rb-tree).