Debian Glossary Only.
If you don't find the entry you wanted below, check
kernelnewbies.org's Kernel Glossary
- or simply try it as a wiki pagename!
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.
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 (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.
Short for Architecture Not Allowed In Source; used in bug reports for package removal, usually indicating that the number of architectures for which the package is to be built has been reduced
- Application Manager (AM)
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.
- The type of system a piece of software is built for:
(Not Debian-specific) a general category of hardware (such as "486" or "little-endian"), or a variant of some piece of software tailored for this hardware; may specifically mean the category as determined by some particular tool, such as arch or dpkg-architecture
One of the platforms for which Debian packages are built, known by labels such as amd64 or mipsel, and also differentiated by the OS kernel used - the same hardware (not literally an Intel 386 processor) may dualboot i386 and kfreebsd-i386 architectures. See also port
- A set of files:
- A set of files, such as a software repository
- Base system
binary packages with priority required or important; a minimalist set of packages installed before everything else on a new system. Designed to provide just the things you'd be surprised to find missing on a usable UNIX system. Not to be confused with essential, which is much smaller.
- Several potentially confusing (but non-Debian-specific) meanings:
- Any non-textfile, such as a JPEG format image
Any ELF executable (often used generically to include shellscripts and other non-binary executables normally found in a bin directory)
The output of a build process - see binary package
- Binary package
An installable .deb file as opposed to the source package it's built from. The idea is that this is the "binary" compiled in the package building process (regardless of whether the output .deb contains a binary executable, documentation, or indeed Linux kernel sourcecode).
Short for Bug Tracking System
The only package that's literally essential for a Debian package build is make (because Policy mandates the use of a Makefile), but the "build-essential" toolkit is a convenient short-cut: a standard set of packages defined to be required for all normal Debian packaging work, which can therefore be omitted from lists of build dependencies as obvious, just as essential packages are omitted from install-time dependencies.
Short for Common Debian Build System (provided by cdbs)
A technical term defined in Policy; a file declared in a package's conffiles file is treated specially by dpkg to ensure that local modifications are not blindly overwritten by a package upgrade or deleted by a remove. Conffiles are (always?) stored in /etc, and are often conventional global configuration files but may also be initscripts, cronjobs, or similar.
- Configuration file
Any file affecting the operation of a program, or providing site- or host-specific information, or otherwise customizing a program's behavior. May or may not be system-wide, or in an intelligible line-oriented text format, or marked as a conffile. Personal configuration files are traditionally stored as dotfiles in the home directory, and often have names ending in rc (commonly interpreted as "runtime configuration").
- Additional, external software, in either of two senses:
- In various project upstreams, a collection of extra software produced by third parties and included into a distribution "without warranty"
- Control file
As defined in Debian Policy:
The control file included in the debian directory of each source package contains dependency information required to build the package, and has separate stanzas containing further information for each binary-package
The control file included in the DEBIAN directory of each binary .deb (formed from the corresponding stanza in the source control file) contains dependency information required to install the package, plus the package description etc.
Any "control file"; that is, any file with the same multi-field syntax as the above - for instance, dsc files are also counted as control files.
- 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
- Debian Account
- Debian Account Manager (DAM)
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- Dependency package
An empty binary package that exists only for the sake of its declared dependencies on other packages, for instance to keep the current default version of gcc installed. See metapackage and transition-package for other common types.
Short for the Debian Free Software Guidelines; the rules of thumb included in the Debian Social Contract that can be used to judge whether material counts for the project's purposes as free. The string dfsg is often appended to package names and version-strings to indicate that the upstream version has been slightly modified to allow it to stay in main.
- Distribution (dist)
- (Not Debian-specific) the complete set of software from one upstream project, considered as a unit. MacTeX is a TeX distribution, for instance, whereas NetBSD is a full Operating System distribution. This is the sense in which Debian is "a distribution".
A suite within the Debian repositories capable of providing a fully functional OS on its own, unlike the supplementary ones such as "testing-security". This is the sense in which stable is "a distribution".
In Debian package management, the process of migrating a whole system from one release to the next (dist-upgrades skipping a release are not supported)
In apt specifically, an action that makes relatively aggressive (but intelligent) attempts to bring the system fully up to date, even if this requires some changes to the list of installed packages (that is, it may automatically install, remove, or replace packages). Compare plain upgrade, and aptitude's full-upgrade.
See Debian Maintainer.
An action not officially supported in Debian package management, though often possible (and where it isn't, a purge and reinstallation of the older version is often good enough).
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.
A set of packages providing the absolute minimal functionality that must be available and usable on the system at all times. The idea is, if you're hit by a software or hardware failure halfway through an upgrade, leaving your package database in an inconsistent state, the essential packages should still work well enough to let you perform repair work.
- 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 its release as the new 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
To put a piece of software onto a system, not necessarily via the package management system. Examples include installing a bootable image to your boot-sector, a homebrew kernel in /boot, or a shellscript in /usr/local/sbin. The Debian system is designed to permit various forms of local installation, but you have to keep track of them yourself.
In Debian package management, to put a binary package onto a system in a way that registers it with the package database. Note that the package management system sees package upgrades as a subcategory of installs.
In APT (or front-ends), a particular action. Note however that install and remove can each be used to perform the opposite function, if given an appropriate suffix (e.g.: apt-get install foo- bar- will remove packages foo and bar).
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.
- Mass bug filing
Reporting a great number of bugs for the same problem. See the Debian Developer's Reference.
Short for Mass Bug Filing.
An experienced Debian Member who takes responsibility for assisting a less experienced member or Applicant. Outside occasional efforts such as the Debian Women mentoring program, such relationships generally exist only on an informal and unofficial basis. Every Applicant has an advocate who may effectively act as a mentor; but despite the name of the debian-mentors mailing list, its primary function is to put new maintainers in touch with sponsors.
A dependency package designed to automatically pull in a family of packages; may function as a shortcut to simplify installation of a full desktop environment.
Short for Not Built from Source; one of the criteria used to detect candidates for automated package removal, in this case removing a binary package that isn't built from any remaining source package. See ftpmaster_Removals.
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; one of the criteria used to detect candidates for automated package removal, in this case removing an experimental build as superseded by a more recent build already present in unstable. See ftpmaster_Removals.
In aptitude (e.g. aptitude search ?obsolete), any currently installed package which is not available (in any version) from any known archive. This usually means that the system has dist-upgraded to a new stable release that no longer contains that package.Transition packages don't register as obsolete in this sense.
Also used to refer to automatically installed packages that are no longer needed (such as orphan libraries) and would be candidates for autoremoval.
In Release files and aptitude searches, the organization providing the repository - examples include Debian, Debian Backports, and Google, Inc.
(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 severity of the orphaning bug report should be set to important. The term is similarly used to indicate documentation that the author is declaring abandoned; see DDP.
- (In Java, TeX, etc.) a unit of software with a single shared namespace
- Package Tracking System (PTS)
Short for Python Applications Packaging Team
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.
Short for Package Installation, UPgrading And Removal Testing Suite - see piuparts.
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 binary packages are installed on a system and whether they are used.
- (Non-Debian-specific) a physical hardware interface
- (Ditto) a TCP networking endpoint identified by port number
- (Ditto) a platform that software has been converted to run on
a hardware/OS kernel combo for which some effort has been made to render Debian installable (though of course, i386 isn't literally a port in the software-porting sense). See ports and compare architecture
Short for Package Tracking System
Short for Quality Assurance - see qa.debian.org
see Debian Release
The occasion of a new stable version of Debian being declared ready for production use;
In Debian package management, to uninstall a package, especially in a fashion that leaves behind conffiles (thus if you remove and then reinstall a package you won't lose your custom setup). See purge
In APT (or front-ends), a particular action. Note however that install and remove can each be used to perform the opposite function, if given an appropriate suffix (e.g.: apt-get purge foo+ bar+ will install packages foo and bar).
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.
- A word with several (non-Debian-specific) technical uses, all deriving from the same metaphor of a node structure with a root and branches:
- the root directory ("/") is the top level directory of the file system hierarchy - the part of the "directory tree" that everything else connects to.
- 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.)
- 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".)
- the root zone is the core of the DNS system, where the nameservers that are authoritative for Top Level Domains (the "root nameservers") live.
- 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 of Release Team; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that issues have been confirmed by the Release Team.
- A notional subdivision of the Debian repositories into functional categories such as "admin", "kde", and "video"
Also sometimes used as a synonym for archive area
A ranking system for bugreports, indicating how important it is for it to be fixed, and ranging from wishlist to critical. See http://www.debian.org/Bugs/Developer#severities
A package origin defined by a line in sources.list
A bash builtin that executes commands from a file
Compilable code, the input of a build process - see source package
- Source package
a unit of upstream software (with a single build system), which may correspond to several separate binary packages within Debian;
the bundle of files (.dsc file, upstream tarball, etc) used as input to the package-building process.
a Debian Member with upload privileges who uses them on behalf of a package maintainer without such privileges. The sponsor is required to take responsibility for checking that there are no show-stopping quality issues, but is not recorded as the maintainer of the package. A sponsorship may be a one-off event, or the sponsor may also act informally as a mentor, helping to track down bugs and improve the packaging.
the stable distribution is the release recommended for production use. Each stable release is "promoted" from testing status as the result of a cycle of development, debugging, and integration that usually lasts about two years.
A set of closely integrated packages (often multiple source packages)
Short for "This Is Not Legal Advice"; compare IANAL.
- Transition package
unstable is the Debian distribution where you can find the latest packages introduced into the Debian system.
In APT (or front-ends), the process of refreshing the package-management system's information about what packages are available from the registered sources. Not to be confused with (or omitted before) an upgrade
In Debian package management, the process of installing the newest versions of a set of binary packages (by default, all packages that have newer candidates available).
In apt specifically, the kind of upgrade that only fetches and installs new versions of packages, without changing the list of installed packages (so for instance a package whose new version has extra dependencies would be left unupgraded). Compare dist-upgrade, and aptitude's safe-upgrade.
A ranking system for uploads, indicating how important it is for the new version to reach the archives, and ranging from low to critical. See Policy
- Virtual package
a binary package that exists in name only, with no associated .deb file; used to organize systems of alternative dependencies (multiple binary packages can claim to "Provide" the same virtual package).
Short for "Work-Needing and Prospective Packages" - a pseudopackage used to collect reports of packages (and potential packages) in need of (new) maintainers in Debian; see http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/, ITP, O, RFA, RFH, RFP.
File extension used for the standard installable binary package format used by Debian-based distributions.
File extension used for (proposed) separate translation packages - see Dep-4
File extension used for special packages containing Debian-Installer modules, not intended for installation on a normal system.