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Documentation for the rsyslog project

Documentation for rsyslog is generated with the (Python) Sphinx documentation processor. Documentation for the rsyslog-doc project itself is provided by this README and other documentation linked from this file.

Learning the doc tools

If you are new to rst and Sphinx, see the Sphinx documentation to get started:

Contributed Software/Content

In the repo you will find a contrib directory.

Although content in this directory is part of the official rsyslog-doc repo, the status is different. While other content in this repo is fully supported by the dev team, content in the contrib directory is supported primarily by the contributor who provided it.

Content may range from small one-off scripts to tools for automating builds of the docs. See the contrib README for details.

If you have new things to add to this area, please follow the directions on this page for contributing to the docs and submit your changes as a new Pull Request.

Dev Team resources

In addition to the directions here, there is also a separate file for use by rsyslog-doc team members. This doc is used as a quick reference for those who regularly provide dev and official release builds of the documentation.

Contributing to the docs

  1. Login with a GitHub account
  2. Fork the official repo
  3. Create a new branch off of the latest master branch
  4. Make your changes
  5. Commit to the new branch in your fork
  6. Submit a Pull Request (PR) for review (
  7. Stop making any changes to your new branch now that you have submitted a Pull Request for review. Instead, create a new branch from your master branch while you wait for feedback from the doc team.
  8. A member of the team will review and offer feedback on your work. After feedback has been given and you have made all necessary changes, your PR will be accepted and merged into the official master branch.
  9. At this point, delete your branch that you submitted the PR from and start a new one for the next round of work.

For small changes, the work can be done entirely through the GitHub web interface. For larger changes, some familiarity with Git is useful, though some editors such as Atom or Visual Studio Code make interfacing with Git easier for newcomers.

Before you begin your work, you are encouraged to review the existing PRs and open issues so that you can coordinate your work with other contributors.

Please reach out if you have any questions as you work through making your changes.

Tip: If you would like something less complex to get started with, please see issues tagged with good first issue or help wanted

Requesting feedback/help

While working on changes to the docs, you are encouraged to seek input from other members of the community. This can be done via the the mailing list, here on GitHub by submitting a new issue or (experimentally) by posting a question to Stack Exchange.

Building the documentation

These directions assume default installs of Python for Windows and Linux. Because the Sphinx project recommends using Python 2.7, that is what is shown here.


  • You wish to install the pip Python package as a standard user, which places installed packages into that user's home directory. Remove the --user flag if you wish to install system-wide for all users instead.

  • You wish to use a virtual environment to install Sphinx and its dependencies into a dedicated environment instead of installing alongside packages that were installed system-wide or to the user's home directory with the --user flag. If you wish to install the sphinx package and all dependent packages for all users of the system, then you will need to run the package installation commands as an elevated user account (e.g., sudo, su or with administrator rights on a Windows system).

  • You are running through these steps for the first time. Leave out the steps involving installation of packages and applications if generating an updated copy of the documentation.

Prep environment

The first part of the process is a little different depending on your OS. The later steps are identical, so those steps have been covered in one place.


  1. Download the pip installer from

  2. Install pip locally instead of system-wide

    1. python ./ --user
  3. Install virtualenv package and create new virtual environment

    1. python -m pip install virtualenv --user
    2. python -m virtualenv rsyslog-docs-build
    3. source rsyslog-docs-build/bin/activate
  4. Install git for your distro. Because distros name the package differently, you may need to substitute the name of the package from the examples below with the name of the package for your distro.

    You will need to install Git in order to clone the project repo, manage your changes and contribute them back for review and eventual inclusion in the project.

    Example commands for installing Git:

    • Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install git-core
    • CentOS/RHEL: yum install git

    See the Installing Git chapter from Pro Git 2 for additional examples.


  1. Download the pip installer from
  2. Download and install Git for windows from
  3. Install pip locally instead of system-wide
    1. c:\python27\python --user
  4. Install virtualenv package and create new virtual environment
    1. c:\python27\python -m pip install virtualenv --user
    2. c:\python27\python -m virtualenv rsyslog-docs-build
    3. rsyslog-docs-build\Scripts\activate.bat

Windows and Linux

  1. Install sphinx package and any other project dependencies in our new virtual environment instead of system-wide
    1. pip install -r requirements.txt
  2. Clone the official Git repo
    1. git clone
  3. Checkout either the current stable or development (aka, "master") branch
    1. cd rsyslog-doc
    2. git checkout BRANCH_NAME_HERE
      • Choose the v8-stable branch for coverage of features currently available in the latest stable release
      • Choose the master branch for coverage of upcoming features and fixes
  4. Optional: If you have previously cloned the repo, run git pull to update it with new changes before continuing.

Generate documentation

  1. Generate HTML format
    1. sphinx-build -b html source build
  2. Generate EPUB format
    1. sphinx-build -b epub source build
  3. Review generated contents
    • Open rsyslog-doc/build/index.html in a browser
    • Use Calibre, Microsoft Edge, Okular, Google Play Books or any other EPUB compatible reader to view the rsyslog-doc/build/rsyslog.epub file