Archiving old documentation on

Archiving old documentation on

Problem description

As of the time of drafting, the site retention policy is to publish the current release (Newton), plus two previous releases (Mitaka and Liberty). The retention policy was initially designed to match the “End of Life” support policy that project branches adhere to, which is documented as indicating stable branches (see References). Because the project code would not be supported, the docs were removed from the docs site, to match the project code branch strategy.

According to the last User Survey (see References), 9% of production OpenStack installations were still running Icehouse, 17% were running Juno, and 40% were running Kilo.

This would indicate that a significant number of users are relying on documentation that could potentially disappear in accordance with our current retention policy.

Historical note: When the documentation pages were created in 2010, they were hosted on Rackspace Cloud Sites without a clear retention policy, which resulted in a large number of unmanaged files over many years. The docs.o.o site was the largest site on Cloud Sites at the time, which resulted in Cloud Sites specifically asking us to remove old content. Change in hosting provider was eventually enforced on the team by the sale of Cloud Sites to Liquid Web in 2016, and the site is now hosted on internal OpenStack infrastructure, and the current retention policy was decided upon at the Barcelona Summit in October 2016.

Proposed change

  • At every new release, the release becoming EOL’d is moved to a read-only archive folder (this can be completed with a script, TBD).
  • The archive folder is made available online for people to download the branch they require as a tar.gz file.
  • The archive folder should be accessible from the openstack-manuals repo, and delivered publicly from the site.
  • Note somewhere obvious that documents in the archive are not editable, and bugs raised against them will be closed WONTFIX.
  • Develop a procedure for taking a certain git history SHA and creating the documentation locally. Write this up in the Contributor Guide.


  • This solution would cover all documentation in /$EOLRELEASE on, including /developer, in order to simplify the process.
  • This covers books that are already versioned (Install Guide, Config Ref, and CLI Ref), but could potentially be expanded to all books.
  • We will need to determine a threshold for deleting documentation from the archive permanently. This can be achieved through a community discussion.
  • All documentation history and tags will remain in the git repository, so it is always possible to checkout old versions, even if they are not published.
  • Can we do something like Also, maybe a link to archives from the main docs site.


  • Maintain the status quo (Do nothing)
  • About a million other things



Primary assignee:
  • Documentation team
Other contributors:
  • Lana Brindley (loquacities)
  • Alexandra Settle (asettle)
  • Brian Moss - Docs Tools (bmoss)
  • Anne Gentle (annegentle)

Work items

  • Develop script for archiving (Brian & Infra)
  • Investigate the possibility of archiving only PDF versions (Brian & Infra)
  • Use Sphinxmark to watermark old versions, and add note about bugs (Brian & Tools)
  • Implementation
  • Document the procedure for restoring documentation from a git repo at a certain point-in-time (Anne)


  • Infra assistance


Testing will follow the standard documentation review process.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

Except where otherwise noted, this document is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. See all OpenStack Legal Documents.

docs-specs 0.0.1.dev183