Start signal: Build your packages for EPEL (if you want to)

Thorsten Leemhuis fedora at
Sun May 13 15:30:44 UTC 2007

Hi all!

Building you Fedora packages for EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise
Linux -- ) is possible for some
months now. But it seem lots of Fedora contributors wait for a kind of
start signal to begin. *This mail is this start signal*, as we have all
the important pieces in place now! So go and build your Fedora packages
for EPEL if you want, to have your packages easily available for RHEL
and compatible derivates such as CentOS or Scientific Linux in the
future as well!

Don't know what EPEL is? Want to know what is special or different from
contributing to EPEL? Then read on!

What is EPEL about? EPEL is a kind of Fedora Extras for Red Hat
Enterprise Linux (Versions 4 and 5 only atm) and compatible derivates
such as CentOS or Scientific Linux. The repo is available already at -- but please note that the
repo it's not yet ready for general public consumption. We'd like to
fill the repo a bit more (hence this mail) before we announce EPEL for
general use; there are also some small details that need to be sorted
out before we can announce EPEL for real.

Why is the Fedora project running EPEL? Simple: RHEL is derivated from
Fedora, but doesn't ship everything that is part of Fedora Core or
Extras -- but some people (both contributors and users) would like to
easily use those packages on RHEL-based distributions as well, as they
are familiar with them from Fedora already. EPEL wants to fill that gap
and provide those Fedora packages that are not part of RHEL and
derivates. Doing so should be easy: the Fedora project has all the spec
files for those packages missing in RHEL already. And even better: as
RHEL and its derivates are quite similar to specific Fedora releases
building a package for EPEL is often as simple as rebuilding the Fedora
SRPM on RHEL. For example many of the Fedora Core 6 SRPM build fine on
RHEL5; many of the Fedora Core 3 SRPMS build fine on RHEL4 (note: this
of course only as long as all BuildRequires are are available already).

What do I have to to do to request a EPEL branch? You can use the normal
bugzilla procedure to request a EPEL-branch (they are named EL-4 and
EL-5). We offer a shortcut if you want to get lots of packages branched:

 * if you want EPEL branches for all your packages simply send a string
"foo at bar.baz EL-5" or "foo at bar.baz EL-4" to dennis at; Dennis
Gilmore then will branch all packages that are owned by foo at bar.baz for
the the requested EPEL branches

 * if you want EPEL branches for lots of packages simply send strings
like "foo at bar.baz EL-5 pgk1 pgk2 pgk3" to dennis at; Dennis
Gilmore then will branch pgk1 pgk2 and pgk3 for EPEL and assign
foo at bar.baz as EPEL-owner

Please be patient after sending those mails; it might take some days
until Dennis gets all the requests fulfillt.

I don't have a RHEL subscription -- how can I test my package? Use
CentOS for build- and runtime checks. The mock package found in Fedora
actually ships proper mock config files for EPEL4 that you can simply
use for buildtime testing with a command such as "mock -r
fedora-4-i386-epel.cfg foo.src.rpm". The config files for EPEL5 are not
yet part of mock; you can find them attached.

Is EPEL a rolling release like Fedora Extras was? No, the plan is to
have a update strategy similar to the one from RHEL. E.g. ship software
once and only update it to later versions if there is a strong need --
so no "hey, there is a new version, it builds, let's ship it" mentality
in EPEL please. See for more details.

Can packages from EPEL replace packages for RHEL? No, EPEL packages are
not allowed to replace or disturb packages from RHEL.

Not all the build- and runtime-dependencies I need are available in
EPEL. How do I get them? Please read -- and please flip
the EPEL bit behind your name so other EPEL contributors know if you are
committed to EPEL or not.

What does EPEL differentiate from existing repos for RHEL? We respect
other repos (and their maintainers) and expect to target a different
user base with our quite careful, RHEL-like update strategy.

Some more questions and answers can be found on: It's likely that this document
and the FAQ won't answer all question, but it should be a start and
we'll improve the document as questions arise. Just ask here on the
list, on epel-devel-list at or in #epel on Freenode.

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