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This page outlines aspects to take care while creating a derivative Debian distribution.

For now it is just an outline to collect relevant information which could be formalized later on in the form of Specification.


Derivative Debian distributions vary in the domains of their specialization, user base, and the scale of modifications/extension they bring on top of vanilla Debian distribution. Therefore, there might not be a strict deterministic set of rules, and rather a set of guidelines could help to decide which actions should be taken by the developers of the derivative distribution to not inflict Debian, and, moreover, benefit from the Debian infrastructure/resources/frameworks where applicable.



Depending on the degree of divergence from the vanilla Debian, it might be necessary to introduce non-functional modifications in the deployed system to eliminate user confusion of the derivative distribution with vanilla Debian

Entry points

Following packages along with corresponding files present users with Debian name upon interaction with the system



Rebuilt Debian packages should carry distribution specific suffix to avoid confusion with possibly API/ABI-incompatible original packages provided from Debian archives.

Bug reports

Since Debian bug tracking system should not be used directly to report bugs in the derivative distributions, submitted bugreports should not be sent directly against Debian packages. reportbug could either be switched (see /usr/share/doc/reportbug/README.developers.gz) or patched (please do not forget to make patch generic and submit it to Debian) to use some other bug tracking system/server; alternatively different address to submit reports could be specified per each source package in the Bugs field of source portion in debian/control file.

Specific choice among above scenarios depends on the degree to which derivative distribution is changing/extending vanilla Debian system. For example, if the derivative does not introduce heavy reconfiguration of the stock Debian system, nor provides custom builds of non-leaf packages -- it should be sufficient to provide custom Bugs: header fields only in rebuilt/new packages. If some base Debian libraries get customized/rebuilt and/or heavy re-configuration of the default Debian system in place, it is advised that all bugreports get submitted to the maintainers of the derivative distribution first for the analysis either the bug is pertinent to stock Debian, where it should be forwarded by the maintainers in such cases.

Popularity Contest

If you want to become the collector of popcon submissions, please do not simply divert popcon submissions from the default to your server. Multiple target popcon servers could be listed in SUBMITURLS.


See also