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 social contract and DFSG (see http://www.debian.org/social_contract)
agree to the Debian Machine Usage Policies (dmup, http://www.debian.org/devel/dmup)
- publically state your agreement to the above two documents, signing your declaration with your PGP key. Most people will post their declaration to the 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 jetring changeset as a patch to the bug tracking system, filed against the debian-maintainers package
Once you have your key in the keyring, you will be able to upload packages, where the following conditions hold:
the package lists you in the Maintainers control field
the package has the DM-Upload-Allowed: yes control field
- the package is not NEW
At the moment, dpkg does not understand the DM-Upload-Allowed field and will not add it to the DSC. You need to prefix it with 'XS-' for it to make it into the DSC file (see http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2007/11/msg00201.html; http://bugs.debian.org/453400)
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.
http://www.debian.org/vote/2007/vote_003 - GR and details of procedure
http://packages.debian.org/debian-maintainers - keyring package
http://bugs.debian.org/debian-maintainers - pending keyring change requests
http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint - list which typically has the proclamation and advocacy mails posted to it
http://ftp-master.debian.org/dm-uploaders.txt - core raw information about DM
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