With the opening up of EPEL8, there’s a lot of folks looking and seeing packages they formerly used in EPEL6/7 not being available and wondering why. The reason is simple: EPEL is not a fixed exact list of packages, it’s a framework that allows interested parties to build and provide the packages they are interested in providing to the community.

This means for a package to be in EPEL8, it requires a maintainer to step forward and explicitly ask “I’d like to maintain this in EPEL8” and then build, test and do all the other things needed to provide that package.

The reason for this is simple: We want a high quality, maintained collection of packages. Simply building things once and never again doesn’t allow for someone fixing bugs, updating the package or adjusting it for other changes. We need a active maintainer there willing and able to do the work.

So, if you do see some package missing that you would really like, how do you get it added to the collection? First, open a bug in bugzilla.redhat.com against the package. If it has a Fedora EPEL product version, use that, otherwise use Fedora. Explain that you would really like the current Fedora/EPEL6/7 maintainers to also maintain it for EPEL8. If they are willing, they will answer in the bug. If no answer after a few weeks, you could consider maintaining the package yourself. Consult with the epel-devel list or -devel on IRC for further options.

Do note that mailing maintainer(s) directly isn’t nearly as good as just filing a bug. They would get the bug info anyhow in email, Other users might see that and add that they too want the package, the maintainer might hand off the package and the new packager could see the bug request but have no idea about private emails, some other packager might see the bug and offer to maintain it. All wins for a bug over private emails.

As the collection grows, these sorts of questions will likely die down, but it’s important to remember that every package needs (at least) one maintainer.