EPEL is one of the most popular repositories maintained and supported by several groups of people. And these individuals help each other by providing accessible tools and programs within the Linux community. In this article, we will show you how to install the EPEL repository on RHEL.
Initially, EPEL repositories were first developed by Engineers at Fedora. These engineers were responsible for creating EPEL’s day-to-day infrastructure systems and maintaining its packages.
Today, more than 6000 packages are built, developed, and supported by volunteers who have devoted their time and effort to help maintain a readily available platform to the general public.
What is an EPEL Repository
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.
EPEL is popularly used in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, Scientific Linux (SL), Oracle Linux (OL), AlmaLinux (AL), Rocky Linux (RL), and a number of other Fedora-based OS
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.
These packages are in their stable phases, although occasionally, some bugs may occur. If you want to test new or beta packages, there is also an ‘epel-testing’ repository that contains packages for testing and troubleshooting.
Before anything else, you need to install a Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) image on your machine. Redhat offers a variety of products that you can test and download. But these are proprietary softwares, thus you need to have an existing account on Redhat.
RHEL 8 is available on the official Redhat portal. However, you need to register first and apply for a subscription. The easiest way to install a free RHEL server is to apply for a 60-day Redhat Enterprise Linux Server subscription. Like the one you see below.
Installing and enabling EPEL repo on an RHEL 8
Once you’ve already acquired a subscription, installing the EPEL repo should be pretty straightforward. The proper way of installing EPEL on your RHEL 8 server is through the documentation process on Fedora’s EPEL website.
First, you must enable the codeready builder RPMS from the subscription manager repo. These are EPEL packages that may depend on the codeready-builder. You can do this by executing the command:
$ sudo subscription-manager repos --enable codeready-builder-for-rhel-8-$(arch)-rpms
Once enabled, you should see something similar like this:
Next, install the Fedora EPEL repository on your RHEL 8 machine. Simply type the command:
$ sudo dnf install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-8.noarch.rpm
$ sudo dnf update
You should see something similar to this after installing the EPEL repo:
Checking the list of installed repositories
We will be checking and exploring the listed repositories on our machine. We will also examine in detail the EPEL repository installed. To check all the listed repositories, execute the command:
$ sudo dnf repolist --all
Below is a part of all the available repositories listed on the server. As you can see, the EPEL repo has already been installed.
To check the EPEL repo, type the following command:
$ sudo dnf repolist epel
On the other hand, type in this command if you want to check the EPEL repo in detail:
$ sudo dnf repolist epel -v
The output should look like this:
Disabling other repositories
When you are trying to install software, conflicts may arise when installing from two different repositories hosting different versions of the program. There are also times when certain repositories are no longer being maintained and have since been deprecated. You can disable specific repos and enable only the EPEL repo. To do this, execute the command:
$ sudo dnf config-manager --set-disabled "*"
$ sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled "epel"
List down all the enabled repositories to confirm the action. Execute the command:
$ sudo dnf repolist --enabled
In the above illustration, only the EPEL repo and the codeready builder repo from Redhat will become active.
Installing a package from the EPEL repo
After disabling all the other repositories and enabling only the EPEL repo to be active, we can now check and see EPEL’s available packages. You can install any package available on the EPEL repository. To know all the available packages from EPEL, execute the command:
$ sudo dnf list --available
The output should look like this:
The command will try to list over 6000 active programs available on EPEL. But if you already have the software in mind to install, you can just search and see what the available versions are. To do this, execute the command:
$ sudo dnf search <software>
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Nowadays, the EPEL repository may no longer be considered as an “extra” repository. It has become the staple repository available in the open-source community as it supplies thousands of useful and practical software for anyone to use.
Any help from anyone willing to volunteer their time and effort to contribute the development of the EPEL repository is always welcome. You can maintain packages, test and ensure quality packages are being readily available or be part of the Release team. To know more, visit this link.
EPEL serves a variety of users of the Linux community, from developers and system administrators to scientists and researchers alike. In its thousands of available packages, you will surely find the software you are looking for.
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