EPEL Orphaned packages and their dependents to be removed Dec 17th

By | November 13, 2014

Hi,

The EPEL repository runs from within the Fedora project, sharing resources ( including, importantly their source trees ) with the Fedora ecosystem; over the years its proven to be a large and helpful resource for anyone running CentOS Linux.

One key challenge they have however, much like CentOS Linux, is that the entire effort is run by a few people helped along by a small group of voulenteers. So while the package list they provide is huge, the people putting in the work behind it is small. A fallout from this is that over the years a significant chunk of packages in the EPEL repo are now orphaned. They once had a maintainer but either that maintainer has gone away now, or has other priorities.

A few days back, Steven announced that they were going to start working to drop these orphaned packages unless someone steps up to help maintain them. You can read his announcement here : https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/epel-devel/2014-November/010430.html

This is a great time for anyone looking to get involved with packages and packaging as a whole and wanting to contribute into the larger CentOS Linux ecosystem to jump in and take ownership of content ( ideally stuff that you care about, hence likely to keep it managed for a period of time ). They have a simple process to get started, document at the Joining EPEL page here : https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Joining_EPEL and you can see a list of packages being orphaned on the urls from Steven’s post linked above.

Regards,

4 thoughts on “EPEL Orphaned packages and their dependents to be removed Dec 17th

  1. Robert

    Tools like yum, dnf, GNOME software, etc. need a way to inform users of removed packages from repositories that people have installed. Not many people read the mailing list and can be left in the cold without security updates. They already are in potential danger because the packages are orphaned, but still some kind of notification is needed

    1. Karanbir Singh Post author

      Hi Robert,

      The package-cleanup script from yum-utils has an –orphans option that should give you a list of rpms installed on the machine that cant be tracked back to an upstream repo. Would that help resolve a chunk of the problem you brought up ? i.e you can then parse that list via various tools and handle accordingly.

      1. Robert

        thanks, that sounds useful, but that still ignores non server admins that only use gui tools for updates, or semi advanced users that only do “yum install/update/remove”. This is not a notification, needs user intervention, and many users are not trained to do that. EPEL is more a server administrators repository, but ophaned packages happens too on Fedora main repositories.

        This make me remember the problem the Ubuntu comunity has with non removable packages from the repositories, look like they can’t orphan them. Same problem, two different actions, orphan or leave the old version, and users not being notified

    2. Till Maas

      I agree that there should be more notification, but I am not sure that yum/dnf is the right tool for it. The checks should be performed independent of whether yum/dnf runs, to make sure that there are notifications even when there is nothing to install/update but also they should not slow down an install/update process. For systems with local mail a cron job might do the job, but I do not know if there is already a notification system for desktop systems that allow to show a long report.

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