“How do I get our software in to Fedora?”

This question has been a common one over the last year, brought to various parts of Fedora and Red Hat from software developers, community managers, and product teams working on open source software for various ISVs. Now that OpenJDK 6 is Java EESE 6 TCK certified, there is an even greater incentive for Java ISVs to get closer to the Fedora way of doing things. If your language has a free and open source implementation, it is probably in Fedora and might already be available in Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL.) For example, take a look at how many Perl modules are available (I count 359 for el5, 236 for el4.)

Fedora anticipated this attention from ISVs when it created the EPEL project. In EPEL, package maintainers can branch any software and it’s dependencies for a special repository that provides Fedora packages for specific versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

In one move, Fedora created a new and unique repository that has a compelling pathway for contributions. Fedora’s EPEL has a niche amongst repositories — be like Enterprise Linux. Focus on security updates and bug fixes to packages, not rebasing to the latest from the upstream project. This makes it possible for a contributor community to maintain nearly 1500 EPEL packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and nearly 3000 EPEL packages for Enterprise Linux 5. Some of these packages may get branched for an Enterprise Linux update.

The answer to the how do I? question comes to this:

  1. Follow the well established guidelines for packaging software for Fedora
  2. If you are an ISV of any size, connect with the ISV special interest group
  3. Once you have packages in Fedora, they are ready for EPEL. Request a branch
Along the way, you have an opportunity to grow a community around the open source software that matters the most to you. Getting software in to Fedora means a six to eighteen month jump on the Enterprise Linux beta. You can develop your software along with the operating system it runs on, and you may be able to help influence how other parts of Fedora are created.

(Edited to change “Java EE” to “Java SE”; OpenJDK 6 is Java SE compliant.)
(Edited to fix link to ISV SIG)