[CentOS-devel] Octave for CentOS5

Karanbir Singh mail-lists at karan.org
Wed Mar 7 16:36:52 UTC 2007

Hi Phil,

Philip Ray Schaffner wrote:
> On Wed, 2007-03-07 at 00:37 +0000, Karanbir Singh wrote:
>> Hi Phil,
>> we are working on a process for contributing rpms into centos-extras.. 
>> I'd expect that process will pickup steam once c-5 is out of the door.
> So have you core guys thought about how EPEL will impact extra, 
> centosplus, kbs-extras, ...?  Seems like joining that effort might be 
> more productive than separate thrusts to port/rebuild packages that are 
> in Fedora Extras.

EPEL is interesting and it has a lot of potential, but the fact that 
they only care about, build for and expect usage on RHEL tends to sort 
of exclude a lot of external participation in the project. So much so 
that a @redhat person said that the only aim they have in pushing epel 
is to they can go tell their customers about it!!

Added to that the overhead of needing to sign papers with Redhat and the 
need to become a Fedora contributor first, only further increases the 
bar to entry and creates really un-necessary issues for people who are 
unable to, for various reasons to sign such papers etc. And given the 
fact that Fedora packaging dynamics are drastically different from 
packaging on *EL, whether the general Fedora guidelines and 
infrastructure is even usable long term for EPEL is itself doubt.

So in effect what epel creates today is yet-another-repo. Perhaps the 
best repo of them all. But it is effectively, just another repo.

EPEL does not really solve the  big problem, about being able to present 
a single repository for the EL user base ( whatever variant they might 
be on ). Not sure how many people are following the rpmfusion 
discussions that some of the fedora-unity guys have going on at the 
moment, but i think thats a brilliant effort, if we could stretch it to 
*EL, that would be a result.

The real, short to medium term, wins for CentOS and other *EL distros - 
is to have an infrastructure that allows packagers to maintain their 
spec's in whatever system / buildprocess / version control system they 
prefer and yet be able to expose the resulting binaries in a single 
repository ( or, well, a single place for the repos - split by stability 
and disto friendliness rather than role ). The mechanics and policy for 
such an effort to happen are things that need working out, but based on 
the conversations that took place at Fosdem this year - its achievable.

Finally, I just want to point out that this represents my personal 
viewpoint, and is not a 'CentOS perspective' on the issue. How and what 
CentOS as a project can do, should do and is able to do with EPEL is 
something that still needs to be worked out. But for now, epel will be 
just another repo, at par with anything else / everything else out there.

Which is why I think that the special interest groups that care about 
specific vertical markets and deployment roles should be organised. And 
one thing that I know definitely needs to happen, asap, is to expand on 
the 'involved contributors' numbers. CentOS today has a few million 
users out there, but the number of people actively involved is still 
just a few dozen at best. That needs to change, and ideas on how such a 
change might come about and what we are doing wrong that needs to be 
fixed, are *very* welcome.

- KB

PS: I am not being negative about epel, just sharing what the picture 
looks like from this side of the fence. I know almost all the guys who 
are branching for epel at this time, and I think they are all great guys 
with excellent packaging skills.

Karanbir Singh : http://www.karan.org/ : 2522219 at icq

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