From Fedora Project Wiki

This page tracks progress towards implementing a fully automated publishing process for the Fedora Documentation Project.


Formal Fedora documentation is authored in DocBook XML and transformed into multi-page HTML, single-page HTML, PDF, and EPUB by our publishing tool, Publican. Publican also generates the tables of contents in each language that provide navigation.

At present, the entire documentation suite hosted at resides in a Git repository to which certain members of the Documentation Project (members of the docs-publishers group) commit changes. The webserver publishes whatever is in that repo.

This is a vast improvement over our previous process, but Publican includes features that make publishing even easier and more robust, since Publican is designed to package documentation in RPM packages to install on a webserver. Chapter 6 of the Publican Users' Guide provides an overview of the mechanism.

Steps to automate publishing

Install Publican 2 on the webserver

Publican 2 is the first version that includes the web publishing components. However, Publican 2 has a number of dependencies that are either not in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 at all, or which are in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 in versions too old for Publican 2. While we could build dependencies in the former group in EPEL, we could not build dependencies in the latter group in EPEL since EPEL packages must not update packages in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, only provide packages that are not shipped at all.

To install Publican 2 on the webserver, we need to

  • identify the dependencies we need to provide
  • either (at least) provide these dependencies in the dist-5E-epel-infra repo, or (better) build them in Koji for dist-5E-epel-infra.
  • either provide Publican 2 in the dist-5E-epel-infra repo, or build Publican 2 in Koji for dist-5E-epel-infra.

Configure an Publican-generated website on the webserver

Publican can automatically generate its own website structure on the server. This consists of:

  • a configuration file at /etc/publican-website.cfg
  • an SQLite database at /var/lib/publican/publican-website.db
  • the /var/www/html/docs directory in which Publican publishes documentation would need to point to /var/www/html/docs on the server.


It would be useful for the Documentation workflow to have a staging site available for viewing and proofreading test builds of documentation, at a permanent home on a public test machine. This machine would also need to run Publican 2.

Set up a build system for documents

The future

It appears that Publican will ship with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, although the version of Publican in the Beta is a late version of Publican 1, which lacks the web publishing components. If Publican 2 ships with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, and if can be hosted on a server that runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, we will no longer need to maintain Publican and its dependencies in dist-5E-epel-infra.