On Tue, 16 Feb 2016 23:24:58 -0700
Stephen John Smoogen <smooge(a)gmail.com> wrote:
However during that time there have been many
rules which it has tried to keep:
1. Do not do disruptive upgrades. Try to backport security fixes or do
upgrades which do not change API/ABI issues.
2. Be prepared to support the same package for the life of an
Enterprise Linux release.
3. Never replace or conflict with packages in the base Enterprise
4. They should never require manual updates or changes between
updates. 5. Follow Fedora rules for bundling, licensing, and similar
There are some promises some people feel like we have made also:
1. Packages will never disappear. [They don't disappear from Fedora 12
even if it is archived.. ]
To my understanding we never made this promise. We should try and
communicate why it's NOT something we promise.
2. Packages will work from EL-X.0 to EL-X.N. [EPEL will rebuild
packages regularly to deal with any ABI items]
Well, not regularly, but when there is a problem. With one of the
recent 7.x releases there were a number of packages that needed
rebuild. We didn't do a very nice job of it, but in the end we
collected the bugs, rebuilt all those things and pushed the updates
out. It would definitely be better to automate that and find these asap
instead of after the fact with bugs.
3. Packages are built against all of an Enterprise Linux
whatever is in CentOS/Scientific Linux base).
I thought we were always clear that we built against RHEL.
But perhaps not.
In many cases those promises aren't kept now or when they are
attempted to be kept are impossible to do.
* Most software which uses a database back end requires schema updates
ranging from dump/reload to long running change processes.
* A lot of software rebases itself internally to the point that trying
to backport a security fix usually requires a lot of coding skill in
* The Enterprise Linux lifetime has increased from 5 years to 10 years
since EPEL started. While people were interested in supporting a
package for 3-4 years.. doing so for 10 years is too much for a
* The Enterprise Linux is not the same as it was in EL-3/4/5 where
software versions were rarely 'rebased' to a newer release. Instead
software would be recoded to work in the older software as much as
possible. Currently in EL-7, the desktop and other parts of the OS
were greatly updated between 7.1 and 7.2 with the idea that this
will be the norm for all releases in order to keep the product
relevant to the majority of users.
From the above, 3 of the 5 promises are either too much to keep or
haven't been kept in a long time.
Yeah, those I all agree with.
What to Do?
Because we haven't been able to keep many promises, but feel like we
should there seem to be a couple of options ahead:
1. Ignore and do nothing. I don't like the status-quo but I think it
needs to be listed as something that can happen.
2. Try to keep the original charter and be a lot more picky about what
is in EPEL so that we can meet those promises.
3. Figure out what we can do, and go to the appropriate Fedora body to
recharter ourselves to meet those more reasonable goals.
Now number 3 may seem to be busy work, but I have found for the
conservative minded enterprise maintainer, it is very hard to give up
doing something even if you are failing until you are told you can
stop trying. It also makes it clearer to future people working on EPEL
in 2024 what they are trying to solve and how to change when the world
of 2024 needs different solutions.
I'm really not sure talking to another fedora body is needed. I really
suspect if we came up with a new charter and all (all the people doing
work on EPEL) agreed to it, we could just do it. FESCo or the council
is likely to just say "sure, thats fine, do whatever". But we could do
so if everyone wants...
What would be in my charter
1. EPEL is run by the EPEL Steering Committee. They act as
sub-equivalents to the Fedora Extras Steering Committee, Fedora
Packaging Committee and Fedora Release Engineering.
(No extras anymore. ;)
2. Packages in EPEL will never replace or conflict with packages in
the base Enterprise Linux.
What does that mean? If we want it to be what we have now:
"Packages in EPEL will never replace or conflict with packages in the
RHEL channels we build EPEL against. Adding or removing channels is
done by the steering committee"
3. Packages in EPEL will follow Fedora rules for bundling,
and similar things. Exceptions to this will exist and will be
documented in appropriate place.
4. EPEL release engineering can set up systems to rebase packages in
regular intervals. [There are multiple ways of doing this that I
will try to outline in other proposals this week.]
Yeah, 'regular' is a bit too wishy washy.
5. The only promise of a lifetime of a package is between dot
of the Enterprise Linux. Maintainers should make an honest effort
to support a package for the "life" of a sub-release (6.8->6.9) but
6. Packages in a dot release will not disappear during that
time. There is no promise after that time. [If EPSco approves of a
method that packages are regularly archived, then users can use
that as a simpler method to get old packages.]
I think these might be the most controversial bits.
7. EPEL only supports the current dot release. If a package in
EL-6.now works on 6.0.z that is great. If it doesn't, it is up to
the user (and not the maintainer or EPEL) to deal with it. [Again
if an archive method is setup, then those older versions would just
be in something like /pub/archives/epel/epel-6.8/ or some similar
Yeah, I think we have always said we only support the current release,
but good to spell it out.
Those are my starting points for a rechartered EPEL. Please join in
the discussion on the EPEL-devel mailing list.
I think we need to consider the window between rhel release and centos
release. Do we wait? Do we not wait? do we test?
A good start anyhow, thanks smooge.