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 [ 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:

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:

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

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