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Before becomming a ''Debian Maintainer'' you should have a history of contributions to Debian as a [[SponsoredMaintainer|Sponsored Maintainer]] where you can meet and establish a level of trust with other project members. Before becoming a ''Debian Maintainer'' you should have a history of contributions to Debian as a [[SponsoredMaintainer|Sponsored Maintainer]] where you can meet and establish a level of trust with other project members.

Translation(s): English - 한국어

(!) /Discussion



Debian Maintainers (DMs) are people who have a restricted ability to upload packages to the Debian archive. Unlike Sponsored Maintainers, they can maintain packages without a sponsor.

It is highly recommended to be a Debian Maintainer before applying to the Debian New Members process to become an official Debian Developer (see the Applicant's Checklist).

The Debian Maintainers concept was introduced on 5th August 2007 by General Resolution. An up to date list of DMs is available at nm.debian.org. A list of the upload rights held by DMs is maintained by the Debian ftp-masters, and a few reports with the same information are maintained here.


Debian Maintainers have their keys in the debian-maintainers keyring (available in the debian-keyring package). This keyring is used by dak on the Debian archive as part of the checks as to whether an uploaded package is to be accepted. Packages signed by a key in the debian-maintainers keyring will be accepted if the key has upload right for the package. For the new interface for managing DM permissions, refer to the mail Changes to Debian Maintainer upload permissions. Debian Maintainer should read this DebianMaintainer/Tutorial to know more about the annual ping, key changes and uploading packages.

Advocating a Debian Maintainer

A Debian Developer should only advocate a Debian Maintainer candidate if they are familiar with the candidate's existing work in Debian and believe it to be of a suitable standard both technically and socially.

Debian Developers advocating Debian Maintainer candidates (or potential Debian Developers for that matter) must go into a bit more detail in their advocacy.

If the Debian Maintainer candidate has done "a great job", please explain what "a great job" means -- is there something special the candidate has done, or is it that whatever the candidate is working on is particularly important, or is the candidate remarkably consistent, or what?

What has the candidate actually done that has earned your trust? What makes the candidate special compared to the other folks who are helping Debian? What in particular about the candidate's work should people lurking on the Debian lists be trying to emulate if they want to be a Debian Maintainer or a Debian Developer?

For example, if the Debian Maintainer candidate has good packaging skills, go into a bit more detail about what's convinced you the candidate has got those skills? Are there any difficult bugs you've worked together on, or new features the candidate has done a good job of getting into Debian, or has the candidate been particularly helpful supporting users, or...?

Once you have decided to advocate a Debian Maintainer applicant, you should login to the New Members website and find their open application (the direct link can be found at the bottom of their Declaration of Intent email). You can then add your declaration, GnuPG-signed by your Debian key. This will automatically be sent to the debian-newmaint list as well. (Note that in previous times sending the email directly to the list yourself was sufficient; this is no longer the case - advocacy must be submitted via the NM website for it to be attached to the application.)

Becoming a Debian Maintainer

Steps required to become a Debian Maintainer


Before becoming a Debian Maintainer you should have a history of contributions to Debian as a Sponsored Maintainer where you can meet and establish a level of trust with other project members.

step 1 : Identification

  • You must have a strong (>= 2048 bit required; 4096 bit recommended) RSA GnuPG key (see line above) and it must be signed by at least one (but ideally more than one) Debian Developer.

    • If signed by only one DD, try to make sure there is at least another trust path to your key.

step 2 : Declaration of intent

To become a Debian Maintainer, you must:

  • agree to the social contract

  • agree to the DFSG

  • agree to the Debian Machine Usage Policies (dmup)

  • subscribe to the debian-devel-announce mailing list.

  • ensure that GnuPG uses SHA2 signatures (in preference to SHA1); an example is having the following content in ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf:
    personal-digest-preferences SHA512
    cert-digest-algo SHA512
    default-preference-list SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 SHA224 AES256 AES192 AES CAST5 ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP Uncompressed

    If you use caff (part of signing-party package) for signing keys you will also need to add these lines to ~/.caff/gnupghome/gpg.conf as well.

  • register for a Salsa account if you do not have one
  • register for a New Members account

  • in New Members, apply for the Debian Maintainer status

  • a mail will automatically be sent to the debian-newmaint mailing list.

The prospective DM is highly encouraged to subscribe to the debian-devel mailing list.

Please check your key and fix any problem with your key. Please read the document "OpenPGP Best Practices" by Daniel Kahn Gillmor (dkg). Its OpenPGP key checks have been implemented by Clint Adams (clint) in the Debian package hopenpgp-tools and dkg's recommended settings has been put together in a gpg.conf file by Jacob Appelbaum (error). Please check your key with clint's hokey lint command and use error's gpg.conf file as explained in dkg's document.

step 3 : Advocacy

  • You must have at least one (but preferably more) Debian Developer advocate you. You should send a mail to all your advocates, asking them to log into New Members, find your open application, and advocate you. Their comments will also be sent to the debian-newmaint mailing list.

step 4 : Objections

Your application will stay pending for four days, to allow time for any objections to be filed.

step 5 : Keyring update

When your application is complete, it will be sent to the keyring maintainers who will actually update the keyring. This can take anything from days to weeks, and you will be notified when it happens.

Debian Maintainer retirement

Following each Debian release, all DMs who did not make an upload during the cycle for that release will be automatically retired.

For example: after the release of Stretch, DMs who did not make an upload since the release of Jessie will be retired.

There used to be an annual "ping" bug procedure to indicate continued interest: that is not required anymore.

Announced here.


Now that you are a Debian Maintainer, you have to read this DebianMaintainer/Tutorial

Granting Permissions

After a Debian Maintainer's key has been added to the debian-maintainers keyring, a Debian Developer may grant upload permissions to the DM for specific packages by uploading a signed dak command to ftp.upload.debian.org as described in the FTP-Master's announcement to debian-devel. This process can be simplified with the help of the dcut command from the dput-ng package. For example, both of the following work:

$ dcut dm --uid "Jane Doe" --allow glibc
$ dcut dm --uid 0xfedcba9876543210 --allow glibc linux --deny kfreebsd9

If the DM's key is not in the keyring package yet but in the DD's local keyring, use the --force option and the fingerprint, without spaces and, in this special case, without the 0x prefix:

$ dcut --force dm --uid fedcba9876543210fedcba9876543210 --allow glibc

Both the DD and DM will receive a mail notification about any changes taken. The archive's knowledge about DMs can be checked here.

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