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What is Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (or EPEL)?

What is Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (or EPEL)?

CentOS 7

Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (or EPEL) is a Fedora Special Interest Group that creates, maintains, and manages a high quality set of additional packages for Enterprise Linux, including, but not limited to, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, Scientific Linux (SL), Oracle Linux (OL), AlmaLinux (AL) and Rocky Linux (RL).

EPEL packages are usually based on their Fedora counterparts and will never conflict with or replace packages in the base Enterprise Linux distributions. EPEL uses much of the same infrastructure as Fedora, including buildsystem, Bugzilla instance, updates manager, mirror manager and more.

How can I use these extra packages?

EPEL has an ‘epel-release’ package that includes GPG keys for package signing and repository information. Installing this package for your Enterprise Linux version should allow you to use normal tools such as yum to install packages and their dependencies. By default the stable EPEL repo is enabled, there is also a ‘epel-testing’ repository that contains packages that are not yet deemed stable.

NOTE for RHN users: You need to also enable the ‘optional’ repository to use EPEL packages as they depend on packages in that repository. This can be done by enabling the RHEL optional subchannel for RHN-Classic. For certificate-based subscriptions see Red Hat Subscription Management Guide.

NOTE for RHEL 7 users with certificate subscriptions: EPEL 7 packages assume that the ‘optional’ repository (rhel-7-server-optional-rpms for servers) and the ‘extras’ repository (rhel-7-server-extras-rpms for servers) are enabled. You can do this with:

NOTE for RHEL 8 users with certificate subscriptions: EPEL packages assume that the ‘codeready-builder’ repository is enabled. You can do this with:

NOTE for CentOS 8 and CentOS Stream 8 users: EPEL packages assume that the ‘powertools’ repository is enabled. You can do this with:

NOTE for CentOS users: You can install EPEL by running yum install epel-release. The package is included in the CentOS Extras repository, enabled by default.

Can I rely on these packages?

The EPEL project strives to provide packages with both high quality and stability. However, EPEL is maintained by a community of people who generally volunteer their time and no commercial support is provided. It is the nature of such a project that packages will come and go from the EPEL repositories over the course of a single release. In addition, it is possible that occasionally an incompatible update will be released such that administrator action is required. By policy these are announced in advance in order to give administrators time to test and provide suggestions.

It is strongly recommended that if you make use of EPEL, and especially if you rely upon it, that you subscribe to the epel-announce list. Traffic on this list is kept to a minimum needed to notify administrators of important updates.

History and background of the project

The EPEL project was born when Fedora maintainers realized that the same infrastructure that builds and maintains packages for Fedora would be great to also maintain add on packages for Enterprise Linux. Much of the early need was driven by what Fedora infrastructure needed on the RHEL machines that built and maintained Fedora. From there things have grown to a large collection of varied packages. See our history and Philosophy page for more information.

How can I contribute?

The EPEL SIG is always looking for interested folks to help out. We always need package maintainers, QA/testers, bug triagers and documentation writers. Please see our Joining EPEL page for more information on how to join the SIG.

Communicating with the EPEL SIG

The epel-package-announce mailing list is a list that gets information about package updates as they happen in the stable repository.

The EPEL SIG meets on Wednesday every week in the #fedora-meeting IRC channel at UTC. Please check the time on the epel calendar; sometimes it can change or a meeting can be skipped. Feel free to join us! Logs of past meetings can be viewed in meetbot.

All Fedora Documentation content available under CC BY-SA 4.0 or, when specifically noted, under another accepted free and open content license.

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