Deprecate FTBFS Packages



FTBFS = “Fails To Build From Source”

Every release prior to the Feature Freeze we deprecate all packages that FTBFS. This keeps out software that no longer builds from source, and prevents future problems down the road.


The FTBFS process takes place in stages:

  1. Detecting a list of FTBFS packages and the dependencies that will be broken if they are removed.

  2. Sending the list of potential deprecated FTBFS packages to for community review and removal from the FTBFS list by fixing the package.

  3. Removing packages confirmed as FTBFS from the Fedora package repositories.

Detecting FTBFS

We will remove packages that have failed to build for at least two release cycles. For example, in preparation for Fedora 21 branching, packages which FTBFS since the Fedora 19 cycle (i.e. packages that have a dist tag of fc18 or earlier) will be considered candidates for removal. Adjust and run it to get a list of candidate packages.

Given a candidate list from above, rel-eng should attempt to build each of the candidate packages using koji. Should package building now succeed, the package may be removed from the candidate list.

Announcing Packages to be Deprecated

Email the output to the development list ( at least a week before the feature freeze. This gives maintainers an opportunity to fix packages that are important to them. Follow-up on the list where necessary.

Retiring FTBFS packages

Once maintainers have been given an opportunity to pick up and fix FTBFS packages, the remaining packages are retired by blocking them, and creating the dead.package file in git.

GIT and Package DB

Required permissions: provenpackage for GIT, cvsadmin for Package DB.

We just have to remove the existing files from the rawhide branch and replace them with a dead.package file whose contents describe why the package is dead. Also the package needs to be marked as retired in PackageDB. Fedpkg takes care of this:

For example, if we wished to clean up git for the roxterm package we would:

$ fedpkg clone roxterm
$ cd roxterm
$ fedpkg retire "Retired on $(date -I), because it failed to build for two releases (FTBFS Cleanup)."


Required permissions: admin in koji if the automatic blocking fails.

Blocking should happen automatically a few minutes after the packags was retired in PackageDB. If it does not, use the block-pkg koji command is used to do the blocking.

Koji accepts multiple package names as input and thus we can use the FTBFS package list as input. Deprecated packages are only blocked from the latest f## tag. For example, if we wanted to deprecate (block) sbackup, roxterm, and uisp from rawhide during the development of Fedora 21 we would run the following command:

$ koji block-pkg f21 sbackup roxterm uisp


This procedure probably leaves open bugs for the deprecated packages behind. It is not within the scope of releng to take care of these. If bugs are closed, only bugs targeted at Rawhide should be affected, since other branches might still be maintained.


To verify that the packages were blocked correctly we can use the latest-pkg koji action.

$ koji latest-pkg dist-f16 wdm

This should return nothing, as the wdm package is blocked.

Also check that package DB shows that the package is retired and that the rawhide branch contains only a dead.package file.

Consider Before Running

Generally we block anything that doesn’t leave broken dependencies. If there are packages whose removal would result in broken dependencies a second warning should be sent to and to <package> for each dependent package.

Allow another couple of days for maintainers to take notice and fix these package so the package repository can be maintained without broken dependencies or needing to deprecate the package. It is not good to have broken package dependencies in our package repositories so every effort should be made to find owners or to fix the broken dependencies.