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 * there will be a waiting period of around four days to wait for more advocacies or objections from Debian Developers.


Debian Maintainers are people who are not full developers but have a restricted ability to upload packages to the Debian archive.

The Debian Maintainers concept was introduced on 5th August 2007 by [http://www.debian.org/vote/2007/vote_003 General Resolution].


A Debian Maintainer has their key in the debian-maintainers keyring (available in the debian-maintainers 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 package is not new and the previous version of the package contains both the maintainer in the Maintainer control field and has the DM-Upload-Allowed control field present.

Becoming a Maintainer

To become a Debian Maintainer, you must:

  • agree to the [http://www.debian.org/social_contract social contract] and [http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines DFSG]

  • agree to the [http://www.debian.org/devel/dmup Debian Machine Usage Policies] (dmup)

  • publically state your agreement to the above two documents, signing your declaration with your OpenPGP key. Most people will post their declaration to the [http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint debian-newmaint mailing list].

  • have your PGP key signed by at least one (but ideally more than one) Debian Developers.
  • have at least one (but preferably more) Debian Developers advocate you. This is usually a signed mail to debian-newmaint (often a reply to your declaration mail).
  • submit a bugreport with a jetring changeset to the bug tracking system, filed against the [http://packages.qa.debian.org/debian-maintainers debian-maintainers package]. Use only URLs from debian.org for the agreement and advocates fields of the jetring changeset.

  • there will be a waiting period of around four days to wait for more advocacies or objections from Debian Developers.

Annual ping

The DMs must reconfirm their interest annually.

Uploading packages

Once you have your key in the keyring, you will be able to upload packages, where the following conditions hold:

  • the package already lists you in the Maintainers or the Uploaders control fields

  • the package already has the DM-Upload-Allowed: yes control field

  • the package is not NEW

dpkg caveat

Until recently dpkg did not understand the DM-Upload-Allowed field and would not add it to the DSC. You need to either have dpkg version >= 1.14.16 (you should use the most up to date tool versions anyway ;-)) or prefix it with 'XS-' for it to make it into the DSC file.

Advocating a Maintainer

A developer should only advocate a 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.

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

If the prospective DM has done "a great job", please explain what "a great job" means -- is there something special she/he's done, or is it that whatever she/he's working on is particularly important, or is she/he remarkably consistent, or what? What's she/he actually done that's earnt your trust? What makes her/him special compared to the other folks who're helping Debian? What in particular about her/his work should people lurking on the debian lists be trying to emulate if they want to be a DM or a DD?

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

IRC Channel

#debian-maintainer at irc.debian.org

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