Tutorial for new Application Managers

Becoming an AM

You need to have set up a web password in LDAP through https://db.debian.org/

  1. Send a signed mail to Front Desk saying that you would like to become an AM. For example: "Hi, I'd like to become an AM".

  2. You will get a reply confirming that you can log into https://nm.debian.org/ as application manager.

  3. Click "AM personal settings" to edit your account details.

The various forms of the NM web interface should be 90% straightforward and 10% odd. For the 10% of oddities, feel free to ask in #debian-newmaint on OFTC, or mail debian-newmaint@lists.debian.org or Front Desk.

You start with one free AM slot. When Front Desk members spot an AM with a free AM slot, they assign a new applicant.

The idea is that you increase the number of slots if you can handle more applicants, or decrease it (even to 0) if you are busy.

Note that for new AMs, Front Desk will not assign more than one applicant, so the number of slots will become useful only after your first AM report is approved by Front Desk.

After the account is created, if there are applicants in the queue you will get one assigned.

Getting an applicant assigned

When an applicant is assigned to you, you will receive an email from a Front Desk member with attached all information currently known about the applicant. There is a little pre-assignment triaging, so you can get useful information in this first mail.

At this point, if you log into https://nm.debian.org/am/ammain you will see the applicant in the interface, and you can choose to confirm or reject the assignment.

In 99% of cases assignments are confirmed, but if you prefer to get a different applicant, just contact Front Desk.

Contacting the applicant

After you accept the assignment you can contact the applicant. Most people customise this template mail for it.

Tip: some people find it useful to use a DVCS to clone the whole of https://salsa.debian.org/nm-team/nm-templates/ (clone url: git@salsa.debian.org:nm-team/nm-templates.git) and keep a local branch with their customisations. Feel free to post generally useful changes to debian-newmaint@lists.debian.org

Forming an idea about the applicant

At this point, your task is to form yourself an idea about the applicant to decide if you trust them to become full DDs. Remember that full DD gives unsupervised upload rights to the whole Debian archive, so you are looking for someone who, among other things:

Enrico's tip to decide if the answers provided by the applicant are good:

What would be the applicant behaviour if/when facing a practical problem somehow related to the question?

  1. doesn't identify the problem, and acts the wrong way without asking anyone for info/support/help
  2. identifies the problem and asks other people for help/info/support
  3. identifies the problem and already know how to correctly fix it

If the applicant's answer falls into 1, then it's not enough. If falls into 2 or 3, it's enough.

You also need to get an OpenPGP-signed statement of acceptance of the Social Contract, the DFSG and the DMUP.

You are free to follow any means to form this opinion, within reason:

There are email templates which collect questions that other AMs use:

You don't have to ask all of those questions: normally people select from the templates the questions that they consider useful for a specific applicant. See also FrontDesk/Tips

There is also a script that is extremely useful in checking if a key is signed by a Debian Developer. Its output is a required part of the final AM report.

Putting an applicant on hold

If an applicant tells you they're going to be busy for a while, you can put them "on hold": this will mark one of your AM slots as free, and Front Desk will assign you another NM applicant to process in the meantime.

To put an applicant on hold, set "AM Approves and Submits Report" to "No" and put a date (or "today") in the field below it. The form is counterintuitive in that point: setting "AM Approves" to "No" does not mean rejecting the applicant: to reject an applicant, add a note in the AM comments field and let Front Desk know.

Canceling an application, or rejecting an applicant

If you think the applicant is not ready to be a DD, or should not be a DD, you do not have not waste time trying to mentor them unless you feel inclined to do so. The NM process should not be a substitute for Debian Mentors, and applicants should be people who are ready to get an account already from the day they apply.

Feel free to contact the advocate if you have doubts: sometimes people get advocated in the NM process when they were intending to become DMs, or there are advocates that advocate people too early. Front Desk now catches most of these cases before they get assigned to an AM, but some may slip through.

Most of the reason for not approving an applicant is that they are not ready yet. In that case we talk about "canceling" the application, and we invite the applicant to build up more experience (perhaps as DM) and apply again after some months (see https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2009/11/msg00005.html under "No more rejections!")

In some rare cases there may be reason to say "this person should NOT be a DD": they are not easy decisions to take, and you can count on the help of the NM Committee and Front Desk if you want to discuss the situation or get a second opinion.

Approving an application

When you are satisfied that the applicant should indeed be a DD, approve them in the web interface and include a short report. This should be along the lines "I approve ... to become a DD because..." and can include opinion as well as fact.

nm.debian.org will also send an email to debian-newmaint@lists.debian.org introducing the applicant to the rest of the project.

Ensure that you bounce all related mails to/from the applicant into the mail archive (see the web interface for details). DAM will use this to review the application.

When you are filling in your first AM report, feel free to pop in #debian-newmaint on OFTC: people are happy to help and share their tips.

What happens later

Approving an applicant hands the application over to Front Desk and frees you an AM slot, so you are likely to get a new applicant after a day or two.

You application will then be checked by Front Desk for consistency (is the attached mailbox readable? Is the mail with the SC+DFSG+DMUP acceptance bit signed with the same key that is going in the Debian keyring? Are there missing bits?). If there are missing bits they may get in touch. Once everything is in place, the application is handed over to DAM.

Finally, DAM will read carefully through the whole thing and, if satisfied, contact keyring-maint and DSA for the creation of the account.

Help! Life takes over

If you become busy and cannot finish processing your current applicants, please contact Front Desk and we'll hand them over to someone else. In fact, please contact Front Desk anytime you want/need.


If your first NM applicant becomes inactive, please send a mail to Front Desk: possible options are to cancel the application or to put them on hold and get a new applicant.