In Short

Please change the Maintainer: field of packages in your derived distribution.


Debian packages and Debian itself are often used in derivative distributions. Some derivative distributions are very close to Debian, only adding new packages, or changing a small number of packages; other distributions are literally a fork of Debian and apply changes to Debian and Debian packages at various levels; finally, some people have no relation to Debian at all but distribute Debian packages on their own.

The Debian Policy forces Debian Developers to put the name and email address of the person or the team responsible for a package in a field called "Maintainer"; this is where bugs for this package are forwarded to.

But Debian Developers are firstly interested in developing Debian, and may have little interests in supporting the changes added by derivative distributions to their packages (or the ones they depend on). Sometimes, the simple use of an unchanged package in a different environment may cause annoying bugs, and hence bug reports.

This is why some Debian Developers are kindly asking derivatives which ship a runtime environment for end-users which differs substantially from a pure Debian environment to change the "Maintainer" field in their packages.

Only when changed

madduck: I think it's only needed if they actually make changes to the package, sometimes (but not always) including binary recompiles.

JoeyHess: I agree. FWIW, this is a large part of why this has become an issue for Ubuntu while it's not been for other derived distributions -- Ubuntu recompiles everything.

MichaelBanck: Note that Ubuntu already does change the Maintainer for newly recompiled packages, see e.g. the control data from {{{Package: binutils Version: [...] Maintainer: Ubuntu Core Developers <> Original-Maintainer: James Troup <>}}}

Good that they're doing this now. I've seen Ubuntu people complain that Debian is holding them to an unfair double standard in asking them to do this, and that's why I pointed out that they're different due to recompiling everything --JoeyHess