Supporting Multiple Package Versions (pkg, pkgXY, pkgXZ)

BJ Dierkes wdierkes at
Wed May 12 00:32:13 UTC 2010

On May 11, 2010, at 6:48 PM, Stephen John Smoogen wrote:
> Ok having dealt with several ugly packages.. I have to agree that
> parallel installed packages is the way to go for most webapps. The
> issues I see will be dealing with getting them through the Fedora
> packaging reviews AND their Fedora upstream maintainers. Both who have
> an interest in not having this happen as it duplicates work and makes
> their lives hard in some ways.
> I am not 'against' this proposal, I just think we will need to flesh
> out a lot more on this and need to get input from various places on
> how to better do this.

I completely agree.  I think what we [EPEL] need to solve is how we can provide:

A) Extra packages that RHEL doesn't provide
B) Stability in those packages, shadowing RHEL (life cycle, not introducing breakage, etc)
C) Giving the users what they want (i.e. latest versions of those packages)

B and C inherently conflict with each other because you can't offer the latest versions (or even latest branches) of software without introducing breakage or the potential of.  We keep EPEL packages in line with the latest stable version as long as possible until an incompatible version is released or the source version branches, and then that package becomes obsolete as soon as new users start considering it 'too old'.  If EPEL can branch packages along with upstream source branches, C (i.e. pkgXY) has the potential to solve B and C.

nginx is a perfect example.  I've received multiple requests for the latest stable version of nginx-0.7 via IUS because the EPEL version of 0.6.x is too old [for them].  Existing users (B) need nginx-0.6 to remain as-is until they plan a maintenance where they can methodically, and intentionally make the jump to say nginx07-0.7.x (knowing there may be potential upgrade issues), where-as new users of EPEL/nginx (C) want nginx07-0.7.x to start with and would rather do a source install (or go somewhere else like IUS) to get a more recent version.  True 0.6.x is still maintainable, but it's not what new user's of nginx want (same for a lot of RHEL packages).  

Any how, none of this is new... I'm simply re-iterating. 


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