# EPEL-8 FAQ and Packaging Procedures
When a new Red Hat Enterprise Linux occurs, one of the steps to get EPEL going for it is branching of various packages into new namespace. The EPEL Steering Committee does not mass branch all existing packages into the namespace because it has caused multiple problems:
1. The package maintainers did not want to support the package in the newer version of EPEL. Package maintainers may only want to support certain versions of Enterprise Linux or may want to wait until their favourite derivative appears.
2. The package does not work in the latest version of RHEL. With multiple years between releases, software which worked on Fedora 18 which would branch to EPEL-7 may not exist anymore with Fedora 28 and EPEL-8 would need a completely different version.
## Consumer request for packages
People who are interested in getting packages into EPEL should contact the package maintainer through [bugzilla](https://bugzilla.redhat.com/). This allows for the requests to be tracked and if the primary maintainer is not interested in branching to EPEL, other ones can step in and do so.
## EPEL Playground
We have added an additional set of channels for EPEL-8 called playground. It is meant to be sort of like Fedora Rawhide so that packagers can work on versions of software which are too fast moving or will have large API changes from what they are putting in the regular channel.
To try and make this transparent, we have made it so when a package is built in epel8 it will normally also be built in epel8-playground. This is done via a packages.cfg file which lists the targets for fedpkg to build against. A successful package build will then go through 2 different paths:
* epel8 package will go into bodhi to be put into epel8-testing
* epel8-playground will bypass bodhi and go directly into epel8-playground the next compose.
If a packager needs to focus only on epel8 or epel8-playground they can edit packages.cfg to change the ```target= epel8 epel8-playground``` to ```target= epel8 ```.
Packages in epel8-playground are primarily to be used in the following manner:
* To test out some new version of the package that might not be stable yet.
* To test out some new packaging of the package
* To test a major version change of the package that they want to land at the next epel8 minor release.
* To build a package that will never be stable enough for epel8, but still could be useful to some.
* At minor RHEL releases (ie, 8.1, 8.2) people can pull in big changes from playground to the main epel8 packages. Since people will be upgrading and paying more attention than usual anyhow at those points, it’s a great chance to do that change, but also you want to make sure it’s panned out, so you can test before hand in playground.
Consumers should be aware that packages in EPEL8-playground are there without any Service Level Expectations. You may want to only cherry pick packages from there as needed.
## Developer request for branching multiple packages
Branching is handled the same way as requesting a branch using `fedpkg request-branch`. A maintainer can request an epel8 branch using `fedpkg request-branch epel8` which will create a ticket in https://pagure.io/releng/fedora-scm-requests/issues and Release Engineering will process these requests.
To branch multiple packages please use this or a variant of this script:
# Reminder to get an updated pagure token for releng tickets
# Usage: epel-8.sh foo bar goo blah blech
if [ $# -lt 1 ]
echo "At least one package name should be provided"
TMPDIR=`mktemp -d /tmp/epel8.XXXXXX`
for pkg in "$@"
fedpkg clone "$pkg"
fedpkg request-branch epel8
fedpkg request-branch epel8-playground
rm -rfv "$TMPDIR"
Releng will then work through the tickets in the system which is adding branches to the PDC and src.fedoraproject.org.
## Known Issues
1. /usr/bin/python does not exist. Choose ``/usr/bin/python3`` or ``/usr/bin/python2`` and patch appropriately.
2. ``python2-sphinx`` is not shipped. Most packages should work with python3-sphinx, and if it doesn't please open a bug. The python team has been good about making fixes for this.
3. When branching python packages, be aware that python in EL-8 is python36 and not the version currently in rawhide. This has come up with a couple of test packages where they assumed python37 or later.
4. ``systemd-rpm-macros`` is not a separate packages. If needed, used ``BuildRequires: systemd``
5. While EL-8 comes with platform-python, it should NOT be used in ``Requires:`` unless absolutely neccessary. python3 should be used instead. (Exceptions can be made but will be rare and need justification.)
* Use python3.6dist(coverage) instead of python3-coverage. This package is not shipped but is needed in %check code.
6. Sometimes RHEL8 only has a python3 package for a dependency you need for your build. (Example: python-bleach requires python2-html5lib, but RHEL8 provides only python3-html5lib). For EPEL-8.0 we only suggest one choice:
* Choose not to have the python2 part of your package and patch whatever to use python3.
7. Python2 packages are discouraged. RHEL-8 will contain python2.7 until probably the end of life of RHEL-7. However support upstream will only be minimal. When modularity occurs, we suggest that you make whatever python2 packages modules which can be pulled out when RHEL-8.N no longer has python2.
8. RHEL-8 was built with various packages which were not shipped. In general these packages are allowed to be branched and built in EPEL.
9. While a RHEL src.rpm might produce a -devel package, it may not have been shipped with RHEL-8. When running into this please open a ticket with https://pagure.io/epel/new_issue for us to put in a request for it to be added to Red Hat's Code Ready Builder. After modularity is enabled, changes to what is done will be needed.
10. EPEL-8.0 may not work with the RHEL-8.1 beta. There seem to be changes in dnf and zchunk which we have not worked out. This line will be updated.
11. You will need to make sure you have a version of fedpkg greater than ```fedpkg-1.37-4``` to work with both epel8 and epel8-playground. Versions before that should work with just epel8.
## Known RHEL-8 build packages allowed to be branched to EPEL
## Known RHEL-8 packages missing -devel
1. Package maintainer. Person who has accepted responsibility to package and maintain software in the Fedora Project ecosystem. The main packager is usually someone focused on Fedora Linux, and secondary packagers may be focused on particular use cases like EPEL.
2. Consumer. A person who has subscribed to EPEL for packages but is not a maintainer.
3. PDC. Product Definition Center. A tool to help list the lifetime and permissions that a product has so that branching and updates can be better managed.