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Every release prior to the Feature Freeze we deprecate all the orphans. This keeps out unowned software and prevents future problems down the road.


The orphan process takes place in stages:

  1. Detecting a list of orphans and the dependencies that will be broken if the orphans are removed.
  2. Sending the list of potential orphans to for community review and removal from the orphan list.
  3. Removing packages confirmed as orphans from the Fedora package repositories.

Detecting Orphans

A script called assist in the detection process. It should be run on a machine that has koji and python-fedora installed. It runs without options, and should take about a minute to complete. is available in the Release Engineering git repository or downloaded from

Announcing Packages to be Deprecated

find-unblocked-orphans.pyoutputs text to stdout on the command line in a form suitable for the body of an email message.

$ ./ > email-message

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

Blocking orphans

Once maintainers have been given an opportunity to pick up orphaned packages, the remaining packages are deprecated by blocking them, and creating the dead.package file in cvs.


Use the Deprecate Package button in PackageDB to deprecate a package. This shows interested maintainers, that the package is now deprecated. There might also be a way to do this with a command line client.


Currently (2010-01-29) we don't have a script to do this, so we re-use to generate the list. The block-pkg koji command is used to do the blocking.

$ koji block-pkg --help
Usage: koji block-pkg [options] tag package [package2 ...]
(Specify the --help global option for a list of other help options)

  -h, --help  show this help message and exit

Koji accepts multiple package names as input and thus we can use the orphan list from the as input. Deprecated packages are only blocked from the latest dist-f## tag. For example, if we wanted to deprecate (block) sbackup, roxterm, and uisp from rawhide during the development of Fedora 13 we would run the following command:

$ koji block-pkg dist-f13 sbackup roxterm uisp


We just have to remove the existing files from the devel/ branch and replace them with a dead.package file whos contents describe why the package is dead.

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

$ CVS_RSH=ssh cvs -d co roxterm
$ cd roxterm/devel/
$ cvs rm -f * .cvsignore
$ echo "Orphan Cleanup" > dead.package
$ cvs add dead.package
$ cvs commit -m "Orphan Cleanup"


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-f13 wdm

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

Consider Before Running

Generally we block anything that doesn't leave broken dependencies. If there are orphans 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.