A few days ago the Ansible package was removed from EPEL and many ask why that happened. The background is that Ansible is now provided in certain Red Hat channels.
In the past (pre-2017-10) most people who were on RHEL or CentOS or similar RHEL based systems used to install Ansible from the EPEL repository. This way the package was updates regularly and it was ensured that it met the quite high packaging standards of the EPEL project.
However, a few days ago someone noticed that the EPEL repositories no longer contain an Ansible rpm package:
I'm running RHEL 7.3, and have installed the latest epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm. However, I'm unable to install ansible from this repo.
This caused some confusion and questions about the reasons behind that move.
EPEL repository policy
To better understand what happened it is important to understand EPEL’s package policy:
EPEL strives to never replace or interfere with packages shipped by Enterprise Linux.
While the idea of EPEL is to provide cool additional packages for RHEL, they will never replace anything that is shipped.
Change at Red Hat Enterprise Linux
That philosophy regularly requires that the EPEL project removes packages: each time when RHEL adds a package EPEL needs to check if they are providing it, and removes it.
And a few weeks ago exactly that happened: Ansible was included in RHELs extras repository.
The reasons behind that move is that the newest incarnation of RHEL now comes along with so called system roles – which require Ansible to execute them.
But where to get it now?
The only case where something actually changes for people is when the EPEL repository is activated – but the extras repository is not.