From Fedora Project Wiki

Sphinx 4


Sphinx 4, popular Python documentation generator and framework, has been released in May 2021. It brings many bug fixes, new features including breaking changes and removes long deprecated functions.

In Fedora 35 we will update python-sphinx (providing python3-sphinx) to the latest version 4.x.

Package maintainers whose packages will stop building with the Sphinx 4 have these options:

  • they fix their documentation packages to work with Sphinx 4,
  • they stop building documentation subpackages,
  • they create compat package to extend the lifespan of Sphinx 3.x features. Python-maint team can assist with creating the compat package, however we don't like this solution and discourage from doing so.


Current status

Detailed Description

Many Fedora packages build-depend on python-sphinx, a popular documentation framework. It was assessed that around 60 packages stop building with the Sphinx 4. The common reasons for failures are:

  • they use long-deprecated functions which have been removed in Sphinx 4,
  • they depend on components which explicitly require older Sphinx versions.

The change affects following packages (bear in mind, the list may not be complete - some packages which don't build because of the other issues, may be affected also with this change).

Packages requiring a pinned Sphinx < 4 version on runtime. They will cause a failure of packages that require them:

Packages failing because of the previous group:

Packages with feature incompatibilities:

As said in the summary, packages will either switch to Sphinx 4 or stop building the docs. Change owners can provide guidance and help, yet they cannot be expected to fix all the packages.

Change timeline

The packages rebuild for planned Python3.10 update is expected in the June 2021. We will do the Sphinx update afterwards.

Proposed timeline:

  • 2021-06-01 - 2021-06-25: Package maintainers work on updating the affected packages
  • 2021-06-28: python-sphinx is updated to the latest 4.x in Fedora Rawhide

The timeline can be affected by the delay of Python3.10 milestone targets. In such case the Sphinx update will be performed on the first possible date.

Benefit to Fedora

Fedora is the leading environment for Python development and will include the newest and greatest Sphinx for users and packagers. They will benefit from its newest functions to build better documentation.


  • Proposal owners: update python-sphinx to 4.x, provide help
  • Other developers: the update of affected packages can be tested using copr repository where the testing version of Sphinx 4 has been built. (Note: don't worry about the repository name - yes, it's correct).
  • Release engineering: N/A
  • Policies and guidelines: N/A (not needed for this Change)
  • Trademark approval: N/A (not needed for this Change)
  • Alignment with Objectives: No

Upgrade/compatibility impact

There is a clean upgrade path from current version to python-sphinx 4. Fedora users using RPM-packaged Sphinx will use Sphinx 4.x by default.

How To Test

  • Find the package you want to update in this copr repository and check the build logs to determine the fail cause. Again, don't worry about the repository name - it's correct.
  • Work with the upstream to resolve the issue or drop the documentation from the package.
  • When updating the package, you can test it using the same copr repository where the latest version of Sphinx 4 has been built.
  • Let us know if something doesn't work as it should.

User Experience

Already covered by sections above.


Already covered in Detailed Description

Contingency Plan

  • Contingency mechanism: (What to do? Who will do it?) Compat package
  • Contingency deadline: Beta freeze
  • Blocks release? No


Sphinx changelog

This page is the documentation for Fedora impact.

Release Notes