[CentOS-devel] Repositories in new ecosystem and Desktop version

Ljubomir Ljubojevic centos at plnet.rs
Thu Jan 9 23:24:18 UTC 2014


Repository policy will define how new ecosystem works, so I thought 
throwing in few suggestions and see what can be applied.

Will one of CentOS variants/SiGs also include something like 
Desktop/Laptop/Workstation variant that will provide out-of-the-box EPEL 
and ElRepo packages, mostly drivers? I see lack of (network) drivers on 
installaion DVD as a main problem for newbies that chose CentOS as their 

Something in line with CentOS + ElRepo drivers on the same DVD + current 
release/.repo packages for EPEL, and maybe other 3rd party repositories.

I am trying to image how this would be best to execute, and the first 
thing that comes to mind is this:

1. yum-plugin-priorities should become mandatory for all CentOS Variants 
including Base distro.

2. All .repo files should have "Enabled=" and "Priority=" lines for 
every repository, so it is easier for a user (or SiGs) to set things up 
as he likes it.

3. There should be debate and consensus (with 3rd party repositories!) 
how to decide which priority numbers will be assigned to which 
repository (including base/os and others from current CentOS project) so 
that that repository system in EL ecosystem is much easier for 
re-purposing of the already installed systems. Priority for CentOS-Core 
should be enough to insert 2 repositories above it, and system should 
use rounded numbers (10,20,30,40 or better 20, 40, 60, 80) for 
repositories, so there is room to insert additional repositories when/if 
they appear.

The way I see it, there can be two paths to building Variants.

* First is to create separate (mostly symlinked) repositories for each 

* Second is to use priorities wisely so that packages that need to 
replace ones from CentOS-Core are placed to a repository that has higher 
priority (lower number) in "Priority=" line. So if you want to convert 
CentOS-Core system to CentOS-Desk you only need to ADD 
centos-desk-release package and update the system.

I think second path is much better for 3rd party repositories that will 
provide things that are not opensource like non-opensource codecs 
(gstreamer, vlc, ...) without a need for complicated editig of .repo 
files. Biggest benefit from this will be for newbies that are currently 
frustrated with lengthy process and rather chose Debian based systems 
like Ubuntu and Mint for their first Linux distros. Consequence is once 
they learn Debian way they are not really interested to additionally 
learn CentOS/RHEL way to run CentOS servers. As a person that is some 5 
years in newbie support of CentOS/RHEL (currently main admin on official 
CentOS Facebook group with 6.000 members), main problem to attracting 
newbies/future admins is complicated addition of Desktop packages via 
3rd party repositories. Sometimes I even give up on explaining total 
newbie how to add all those extra repositories.

4. Tool for easier management of various repositories should be 
developed/adjusted existing? so that newbie from GUI (or CLI) can move 
individual repositories up/down and turn them on/off to adjust them as 
they see fit, then save various options as profiles (some made by CentOS 
Project?) and easily switch them (or temporary apply them for current 
terminal?) to accomplish various tasks. Yum devs could probably help 
with this.

5. There should be additional "Downloaded" repository that would carry 
latest packages that do not have their own yum reposiroties like 
VirtualBox, LibreOffice, Skype, shorewall, flash, etc. I believe an 
arrangement with providers of those binaries could be achieved for 
themselves to upload latest versions so users are able to installed them 
without need to download and apply them manually.

Same method could maybe be used to carry a subset of some other 
repositories, provided as-is, like latest Firefox/Thunderbird from Remi 
repository for those that do not care about compliance to standards of 
government datacenters (or whatever it is called).

A mechanism for approval of those packages can be carefully designed, 
but I think they are also an important part of Desktop userbase.

At the moment, "downloaded" section in my repository caries about 200 
packages manually downloaded (or copied from) from other places, like 
codecs with accompanying requirements etc. Even tho I do not update them 
very often, I have them on-hand when I install new system, just a yum 
command away.

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
(Love is in the Air)
PL Computers
Serbia, Europe

StarOS, Mikrotik and CentOS/RHEL/Linux consultant
Ljubomir Ljubojevic
(Love is in the Air)
PL Computers
Serbia, Europe

StarOS, Mikrotik and CentOS/RHEL/Linux consultant

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