[CentOS-devel] [EPEL-devel] [Proposal] Converge EPEL and CBS


hguemar at fedoraproject.org
Mon Sep 21 18:58:21 UTC 2015

2015-09-21 19:46 GMT+02:00 Kevin Fenzi <kevin at scrye.com>:
> On Mon, 21 Sep 2015 16:12:07 +0200
> Haïkel <hguemar at fedoraproject.org> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Since the CentOS acquihire, there was a lot of discussion about
>> EPEL's future. Since the FOSDEM meetup between Fedora/CentOS folks,
>> there was little progress on that topic
>> After a discussion with a Smooge, I decided to come with a proposal,
>> knowing that
>> 1. Fedora wants to keep EPEL within it umbrella
>> 2. That CentOS SIGs are in practice rebuilding a lot of EPEL packages
>> (or retag them for other SIGs)
>> leading to poor maintenance as they don't follow EPEL tickets for all
>> their dependencies.
> Which tickets do you mean here? They are only rebuilding some packages,
> but not others or?

Any tickets filed against EPEL, for instance, if a bug or CVE is fixed
against EPEL package,  CBS rebuilds won't be impacted as there's no
way to automate that.
Some examples from CentOS Cloud SIG:
* RabbitMQ: it's a runtime requirement for OpenStack, we could just
reuse EPEL packages but that would mean that Cloud SIG repository
wouldn't be self-contained
=> Nick Coghlan's RepoFunnel would be a solution to mash repositories here.
* A hell lot of python build requirements, that have to be rebuilt in
CBS, as CBS don't have access to EPEL packages.

For instance, if the EPEL package gets fixed for a CVE, the CBS
package may not get fixed (and vice-versa).
Moreover, it makes mixing EPEL and CentOS SIGs repositories harder.

>> 3. EPEL is not part CentOS plans, and as soon as SIGs will progress,
>> *may* turn the former irrelevant
> I suppose, but lots of people use/look to epel for packages, I don't
> think that will change to using packages from CentOS sigs overnight.

I agree.

>> 4. Some EPEL packages are poorly maintained especially on older EL
>> releases and/or orphaned
> Sure, just like any large collection of packages.

Yes, but all the more a reason to make it easier for CentOS community
to participate to this efforts

>> We've reached the point where both EPEL/CBS would greatly benefit to
>> join hands.
>> So I suggest that we consider the following:
>> * EPEL will still use Fedora dist-git
>> * EPEL builds should be done in CBS to make it easier for SIGs to
>> consume it.
> How do EPEL maintainers launch builds in CBS?

Through bstrinson centpkg tool as for the tooling aspect
(infra-related issues are covered in a later point)

> How do builds get signed?

That would be left to CentOS core SIG team

> How do updates get pushed out to EPEL users? Does CentOS have a bodhi

Good question, from my current experience, I get little feedback on my
EPEL updates and never got one pushed to stable just through karma.

> instance?
>> * EPEL will use CentOS repositories instead of mirroring RHEL
>> repositories
> CBS seems to not have ppc64... so no more ppc64 EPEL packages?

True, if we could get some stats over ppc64 (and any arch unsupported
by CentOS), that would help weighting on the decision as for any

> Also, this would probibly be some kind of big deal to some people who
> like that EPEL is built against rhel. Personally, I don't think it
> matters, but it would have to be communicated clearly.

(I also saw Karsten reply about it)
It needs to be communicated, but considering CentOS good history on
that matter, I personally don't think it's big deal, too.

>> * Bridging Fedora/CentOS accounting system (CentOS is migrating to
>> FAS)  <== we need to see the feasibility of this but that would be
>> optimal, that would increase the permeability between our two
>> contributors pools which is something, we all want to encourage.
> Bridging in which way? what information would be good to communicate
> back and forth?

I'm not familiar enough with the FAS/pkgdb architecture, so I will
just list some requirements.
* ensure that EPEL packagers could rebuild their packages in CBS
* ensure that CentOS core SIG could administrate epel-provenpackager group

Off course, it could be minimal and may not require syncing FAS
instances, in the end.

>> * Create a EPEL provenpackager group under CentOS core SIG
>> supervision, allowing them to appoint people to maintain EPEL
>> packages.
> Overriding the existing EPEL maintainers?

Yes, as provenpackager could do with most Fedora packages but limited
to EPEL branches.
I know this may be difficult to give some control to another
organization over part of our project. But we need to consider that
Fedora/CentOS are part of a larger ecosystem.

>> I suggest that we keep the EPEL name to acknowledge EPEL historical
>> effort to provide quality additional packages for EL distros.
>> Fedora contributors would still be able to contribute to EPEL, and
>> CentOS contributors to make it up their standards.
>> Would that work for you?
> I think there would be a large amount of technical and public relations
> work needed to get anything like this off the ground.
> If the problem is that CBS only has a subset of epel builds, perhaps we
> could solve that by setting up a script that listens to fedora fedmsgs
> and imports epel builds from fedora koji when they are done?
> kevin

Yes, my first proposal may have sounded that it's trivial but it's
not. On the other hand, this is something achievable and that could
benefit for both projects.

As any proposal, this needs to be discussed, improved and comes with a
lot of trade-offs but if nobody starts the discussion, we'll just go
All the points you raised are perfectly valid, and needs to be
discussed with every stakeholder. Maybe the final solution will be
completely different, but that's not what matters.
This is a concrete way to build Fedora/CentOS collaboration.

If merging cost is too important, then we could discuss alternatives
(like EPEL rebuilds automation in CBS), but we need to end the
discussion at some point.
Anyway, I won't champion any proposal that gets no support from both


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