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 RFP :: Short for Request For Package; a [[http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/#tag-rfp|WNPP]] bug tag indicating that the reporter
has found an interesting piece of software and would like someone else to maintain it for Debian.
 RFP :: Short for Request For Package; a [[http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/#tag-rfp|WNPP]] bug tag indicating that the reporter has found an interesting piece of software and would like someone else to maintain it for Debian.


Debian Glossary Only.

If you don't find the entry you wanted below, check

Or you can add it yourself. If you can't define it yourself you can put ToDo instead, but always check the sites mentioned above - if it isn't Debian-specific, an existing definition elsewhere is likely to be more helpful.

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A Debian member who advocates an application. Advocates should know the applicant fairly well and should be able to give an overview of the applicant's work, interests and plans. Advocates are often the sponsors of an applicant.


Alioth is a collaborative development environment based on the FusionForge software as a service for the Debian project and community.

Alioth (guest) account

People willing to participate in the packaging or development of a software can ask for an Alioth guest account, then ask for commit rights to a given project.


A person requesting membership in the Debian project; prospective Debian developer.

Application Manager

A Debian member who is assigned to an applicant to collect the information needed by the Debian account managers to decide about an application. One application manager can be assigned to more than one Applicant.


Debian's Advanced Package Tool (or perhaps Advanced Packaging Tool - neither is "official"), a library that handles fetching the list of packages, resolving package dependencies, etc. It then uses dpkg to perform the actual package installation, removal, etc. The package apt provides the commandline tools apt-get and apt-cache, but other APT front-ends exist such as aptitude and synaptic.



Backports are packages from testing and unstable which can run on a stable Debian distribution.


Birds of a Feather discussion session, a common event type at DebConf


Short for Bug Tracking System


A system for synchronising bug status in the Debian BTS with bug tracking systems like Bugzilla. See this mail.



Short for Common Debian Build System (provided by cdbs)

Custom Debian Distributions (CDD)

The old name for subsets of Debian configured to support a particular target group out-of-the-box. Now known as Debian Pure Blends



See Debian Account Manager.


The Debian Developer's Packages Overview, which lists the packages maintained by a Debian Developer or Team

Debian Account

A Debian account is typically the login account of a Debian Developer. The term Debian Account is sometime also used to refer to Debian Maintainer account. See also Alioth account.

Debian Account Manager (DAM)

A Debian member who has been delegated to manage Debian account creation and removal by the Debian project leader. The DAM has the final decision over an application.

Debian Developer (DD)

A Debian Project member who has gone through the New Maintainer process and had their application accepted is called a Debian Developer. (ToDo: DD/DM/DC/etc should all link to one central explanation of the distinction between them)

Debian-Installer (D-I)

Debian Installer is the software used to initially install Debian on your hard disk. This should not be confused with the software used to install extra packaged software on a running Debian system (see apt).

Debian New Maintainer

The process of becoming an official Debian Developer (DD), or a person going through that process. See also Applicant.

Debian Maintainer (DM)

1. The status of a person who has passed the Debian Maintainer process. A Debian Maintainer is granted some rights to manage packages, in particular the right to upload packages to the archive. DMs aren't voting members of the Debian Project.

2. See also package #maintainer and Debian Developer, Alioth account.

Debian Member

Full members of the Debian Project are referred to as Debian Developers.

Debian Policy Manual
The document that describes what packages should contain, how they should be configured, and generally how packages fit together to create a Debian system.

Debian Project

An organization of free software developers spread around the world with a common goal, to produce a completely free operating system. See the Debian web pages for more information.

Debian Pure Blends

A subset of Debian that is configured to support a particular target group out-of-the-box. Debian Pure Blends were formerly known as Custom Debian Distributions (CDD).


Short for Debian External Health Status (see DEHS).


See Debian-Installer


See Debian Maintainer.


The Debian Python Modules Team, who work to improve the Python modules situation in Debian.


The Debian System Administrators team, who handle the basic infrastructure of the project.




See Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.

Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS)

the FilesystemHierarchyStandard defines the main directories and their contents in Linux and other Unix-like computer operating systems. The Debian Policy Manual only explains the exceptions applying to Debian.


The distribution development freeze is a period of time when the Debian Project is working to finalize and stabilize the content of the testing distribution (resolving release critical bugs, making final tweaks to Debian-Installer, deciding the contents of the CDs, etc.) before it can be released as stable. Debian's release policy is one of Release when Ready, so the length of the freeze period isn't fixed, but it tends to last something like six months.

Front Desk

The front desk members receive the initial applications, advocation messages, and final application reports. They are the point of contact if problems arise with an application.


Short for "Fails To Build From Source", a bugreport type produced by the build infrastructure when a package cannot be compiled. See qa.debian.org/FTBFS.





Short for "I am not a lawyer", often used on the debian-legal mailing list. (See Wikipedia's definition.)


Short for "Intent to Adopt", used to track the status of orphaned packages (see WNPP) or documentation (see DDP).


Short for "Intent to Document", used by a documentation maintainer who intends to start writing a document. Using the WNPP system avoids duplicated effort; see DDP.


Short for "Intent To Package", used by a DD or Maintainer who intends to package a piece of software; see WNPP.


Short for "Intent to Translate", used by a translator who intends to start translating a document. This like the above is a mechanism to prevent duplication of efforts; see DDP.






The maintainer of a package is the person or group of people responsible for it (packaging, bugtracking, etc.); see Debian Policy. See also Debian Maintainer (DM), Debian New Maintainer (process).

Mass bug filing

Reporting a great number of bugs for the same problem. See the Debian Developer's Reference.


Short for Mass Bug Filing.


New Maintainer

See Debian New Maintainer, Applicant, Debian Maintainer.


Short for NonMaintainerUpload; a version of a package that wasn't uploaded by an official Maintainer, but rather by another developer. This typically occurs for security updates, Mass Bug Filings, and when the maintainer is on holiday - see Debian Developer's Reference.

Short for Newer Version In Unstable; used in bug reports asking for package removal, to indicate that a more recent version is already packaged.



Short for the QA status Orphaned


(Not to be confused with the following) In package management, a stray installed package with no reverse dependencies (such as a library for which the corresponding executable has been purged), which can be detected with tools such as deborphan. Such unwanted relics are now increasingly tracked by APT itself.


(Not to be confused with the above) Used in package QA to indicate that a package has no maintainer, and needs to be adopted (see ITA and WNPP). If the package has a Priority of standard or higher, the bug severity should be set to important. The term is similarly used to indicate documentation that the author is declaring abandoned; see DDP.



Short for Python Applications Packaging Team

Package Tracking System (PTS)

The Package Tracking System lets you follow almost everything related to the life of a package, and is of interest for co-maintainers, QA workers, and advanced users


apt-pinning is the name given to the use of apt_preferences(5) to define a modified system of package-management priorities. This makes it possible, for instance, to run an essentially Stable system but specify particular packages for which newer candidates (e.g. backports) will automatically be preferred for installation.


See piuparts (short for Package Installation, UPgrading And Removal Testing Suite)


The popcon score of a Debian package (see http://popcon.debian.org/) is meant to reflect its "popularity"; it is derived from data generated via the package popularity-contest, which periodically and anonymously submits statistics about which Debian packages are installed on a system and whether they are used.


Short for Package Tracking System



Short for Quality Assurance - see qa.debian.org


A word with several (non-Debian-specific) technical uses, all deriving from the same "root/branches" node-structure metaphor:
  1. the root directory ("/") is the top level directory of the file system hierarchy - the part of the "directory tree" that everything else connects to.
  2. the root user (uid 0) is the so-called "superuser", with unlimited privileges - equivalent to the "Administrator" on some other operating systems. (This name might lead you to expect users to be arranged in some sort of organizational tree structure, but it just means that the superuser can modify the root directory.)
  3. the root window is the desktop background, the element of the graphical environment that all other windows are defined relative to. (Thus "root tile" as a synonym for "desktop wallpaper".)
  4. the root zone is the core of the DNS system, where the nameservers that are authoritative for Top Level Domains (the "root nameservers") live.
  5. the directory "/root" is the home directory of the root user. Not to be confused with the root directory as defined above.


Short for Request for Adoption; a WNPP bug tag indicating that (due to lack of time, interest, or other resources) the current maintainer is asking for someone else to maintain this package. They will maintain it in the meantime, but perhaps not in the best possible way. Compare Orphaned.


Short for Request for Documentation; a DDP bug tag indicating that a manual or other documentation on a given topic is not yet available on the DDP and the reporting user requests that DDP members should give it priority when deciding which documents need to be written.


Short for Request For Help; a WNPP bug tag indicating that the current maintainer wants to continue to maintain this package, but needs some help to do this. This may be because the maintainer is overstretched in general, or because this package is particularly hard to maintain, or because bugs require specialist expertise to fix.


Short for Request For Package; a WNPP bug tag indicating that the reporter has found an interesting piece of software and would like someone else to maintain it for Debian.


Short for Request of Maintainer; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that it has been agreed with the package's own maintainer.


Short for Request of Release Team; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that issues have been confirmed by the Release Team.



sid is always the codename for unstable.


A Debian Member who acts as the mentor of an Applicant: They check packages provided by the Applicant and help to find problems and to improve the packaging. When the sponsor is satisfied with the package, they upload it on behalf of the Applicant to the Debian archive. The Applicant is recorded as the maintainer of such a package, despite the fact Applicants aren't allowed to upload packages themselves.



testing is an automatically generated distribution (from unstable).

TINLA (This is not legal advice)

often used on debian-legal mailing list. (see IANAL on Wikipedia).



unstable is the Debian distribution where you can find the latest packages introduced into the Debian system.

user private groups

User private groups is a system configuration idiom which allows users to collaborate by granting shared access to a directory and its content. Access is controlled by associating each collaborative project team with a Un*x group and then granting Un*x group membership to the userids of the designated project members.



WNPP (Work-Needing and Prospective Packages)

A list of packages in need of new maintainers and prospective packages in Debian (see http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/, ITP, O, RFA, RFH, RFP).




Zombie Maintainer

A zombie maintainer is a maintainer who does no work on a package but refuses to orphan it. The package bit-rots away in the clutches of his undead hands as he drifts on the margins of existence. His grumblings are occasionally heard on Debian mailing lists --- just enough to keep himself from being pronounced MIA, which would be grounds for deeming the package orphaned.

Not much is known about these beings; however, experts in paranormal phenomena claim that once a maintainer has become a zombie he cannot let a package go until his work on it is done. However, having lost his spirit, the zombie is incapable of making any progress. The predictable result is that the package becomes a Slum.

What is certain is that there is a subclass of zombies whom we shall call "guardians". A guardian zombie holds on to a package while justifying himself by saying that he is doing Debian the service of protecting his package from damage in the hands of a mortal maintainer. A guardian zombie may go so far as to invite NMUs, some of which he will allow to pass without comment, to others of which he will react with howls of protest and mutterings of 'my precious'.

. (dot)

File-extension used for package of debian-based distribution.


File-extension used for package containing Debian-Installer modules. do not install it in a regular system.