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Debian Maintainers (DMs) are people who have a restricted ability to upload packages to the Debian archive. 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 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 compose your advocacy message as a reply to their declaration message. Ensure it is GnuPG-signed with your Debian userid, and addressed to the debian-newmaint list.

Becoming a Debian Maintainer

Steps required to become a Debian Maintainer

step 1 : Identification

step 2 : Declaration of intent

To become a Debian Maintainer, you must:

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 : Advocation

step 4 : Account creation


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 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 0x0DEFACED --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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