A glossary for terms specific to Debian.
If you don't find the entry you wanted below, check
kernelnewbies.org's Kernel Glossary
- or simply try your mystery word as a wiki pagename!
Alternatively, 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.
A mechanism invented for Debian (and adopted by some other distros) to improve integration when programs need to call common utilities but can't predict which implementations are available. If some app needs to open a terminal window, for instance, it can invoke the generic name x-terminal-emulator, and the alternatives system arranges for that to be a symlink to gnome-terminal or xterm or whatever is installed - see update-alternatives(1).
See Application Manager.
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. Nothing to do with the name Anaïs (cf. britney etc.).
When used by a source package in place of a specific build architecture, indicates that it can be built on every release architecture. When used in a dependency specification, indicates that it can be satisfied by a package of a different architecture as long as that package declares itself to be "Multi-Arch: allowed".
- 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. Nothing to do with software applications or package management.
A package management system 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 tool apt(8) (along with apt-get(8) and apt-cache(8)) but other APT front-ends exist such as aptitude and synaptic.
Short for architecture.
- 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(1) or dpkg-architecture(1).
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, release architecture.
- Can mean:
- An organized, searchable collection of files, such as a software repository.
A port (and former release architecture, superseded by armel and no longer maintained) using the Linux kernel on ARM/StrongARM hardware, a CPU type originally created for the Acorn Archimedes (ARM being an acronym for Acorn RISC Machine).
A port (and current release architecture) using the Linux kernel on newer armel-style hardware with an FPU. It explicitly targets version 7 of the ARM architecture, using the hard-float version of the ARM EABI.
Short for Build-Depends.
Short for Build-Depends-Indep.
Backports are versions of packages from testing and unstable that have been rebuilt to be able to install and run on the stable distribution. Originally a separate unofficial service but now hosted in the standard repositories.
- Backports Security Advisory (BSA)
- 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 the even smaller essential or minbase sets.
Short for Build-Depends.
Short for Build-Depends-Indep.
A wanna-build state.
The transition-tracker utility used by the Release Team.
- Several potentially confusing (but not 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 source code). See also virtual package.
(As in "Bits from the DPL") Frequently used title for progress updates and event reports sent to the mailinglists.
The codename for Debian 1.3, release date: 1997.
The set of scripts that manages the migration of packages into testing. Originally it was one of many similar FTPmaster scripts with names like katie and madison, most of which have since been swallowed up by DAK.
Short for "Backports Security Advisory".
Short for "Bug Squashing Party"; a get-together of Debian enthusiasts (either virtual or In Real Life) for the purpose of fixing as many bugs as possible.
- Build-Depends (B-D)
- Control field used for build-time dependencies; often abbreviated to B-D in changelog entries.
- Build-Depends-Indep (B-D-I)
- Control field used for build-time dependencies that are needed only for "build-indep" as opposed to "build-arch" compilation targets.
The only package that's literally essential for building a Debian binary package 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.
A wanna-build state
The codename for Debian 1.1, release date: 1996.
Short for "Common Debian Build System" (provided by cdbs).
in General Resolution procedure, the Call For Votes.
Short for "collaborative maintenance"; a repository for packages that don't belong to any particular team but would benefit from being team-maintained. On alioth all DDs had access as automatic members of the collab-maint group; the salsa equivalent is simply debian.
A technical term defined in Policy; a file declared in a binary 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 (see also rc-file).
- 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 Distribution (CDD)
The old name for a subset of Debian configured to support a particular target group out-of-the-box. Now known as Debian Pure Blends.
- Has two related Debian-specific meanings:
General hacker jargon for superfluous junk, with a Debian-specific extra meaning in FTP master terminology: "crufty" .debs are ones that need to be identified and removed from the archive (see NBS, NVIU), a process known as "decrufting".
Abbreviations such as d-d-a are commonly used as shorthand names for Debian mailinglists (in this case, debian-devel-announce).
Short for "Debian Account Manager".
Short for "Debian Developer".
Short for "Debian Data Export".
Short for the "Debian Documentation Project".
Short for the Debian Description Translation Project.
- Two things distinguished by capitalization:
- Debian Account
- Debian Account Manager (DAM)
- Debian Contributor
A general term for active members of the Debian community, whether or not they have DD status. This term is sometimes used to emphasize that people contribute to Debian in other ways as well as by maintaining packages (as recognized by general resolution).
- Debian Data Export (DDE)
The extra archive (hosted alongside the primary debian/ repository) providing dbgsym packages, which can be installed to generate a stack trace for crashing software.
- Debian Developer (DD)
- Debian Developer's Reference (DevRef)
- Debian Documentation Project
A Debian sub-project covering various documentation issues. See webpages.
- 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 additional packages on a running Debian system (see APT).
- Debian Linux Kernel Handbook
- Debian Maintainer (DM)
The status of a person who has passed the Debian Maintainer process. A Debian Maintainer is granted some limited rights over packages - in particular, the right to upload packages to the Debian archives. DMs aren't yet members of the Debian Project, so can't for example vote in project elections. See also Debian Developer, Salsa account. Not to be confused with the role of package Maintainer.
- Debian Maintainer Dashboard
- Debian Package Tracker
- Debian Policy Manual
- Debian Project
- Debian Project Leader (DPL)
The official representative of the Debian Project to the outside world, with internal managerial and coordinatory duties; elected annually. See https://www.debian.org/devel/leader.
- Debian Project News (DPN)
A newsletter with a variable schedule sent out to debian-news, collecting information of interest to the Debian community in general.
- 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).
- Debian Security Advisory (DSA)
- Debian System Administrators (DSA)
- Debian Weekly News (DWN)
A newsletter that ran (less regularly than the name suggests) from 1999 until 2007; replaced by the Debian Project News.
- Debian Women (D-W)
A subproject founded in 2004 to encourage more women to use Debian and to join the Debian project. The Debian-Women initiative is supported by both men and women.
Short for (the late) "Debian External Health Status" service.
A set of directories on ftp-master (ranging from "0-day" to "15-day") that receive uploads not intended for immediate processing, usually to give the package's maintainer an opportunity to check the acceptability of an NMU before it goes into the archive. Compare deferred.
- Dependency-based boot
A scheme for organizing service startup, now standard in init systems; "dependency-based" here means checking for things like networking and mounted file systems, not package installation relationships.
- 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 transitional package for other common types.
(Plus more rarely dep-wait-removed) A wanna-build state.
- Developer News
See Misc Developer News.
Short for the Debian Developer's Reference.
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 sometimes appended to package version strings (or even names) to indicate that the Debian source is different from the upstream version because it has been repacked with non-free material removed to ensure it is distributable in main (compare ds).
A batch job for updating the dak database and generating a new version of the mirror metadata.
- Distribution (distro, dist)
- Can mean:
- (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 (often abbreviated "distro") 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".
Another name for the Debian Package Tracker.
- Can mean:
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.
- DM-Upload-Allowed (DMUA)
Short for "Debian Project Leader".
The Debian Python Modules Team, who work to improve the Python modules situation in Debian.
Short for "Debian Source"; the string ds is sometimes included in package version strings to indicate that the Debian source is different from the upstream version for some administrative reason not related to the DFSG (and documented in README.source), such as removing third-party libraries.
Short for "Debian URL Checker", a former debian.net service monitoring Homepage and VCS links (now itself a 404).
- Dummy package
An empty package created either to circumvent the dependency system (see equivs) or to express dependencies of its own (see metapackage, dependency package). Sometimes confusingly treated as specifically meaning a transitional package.
A control file variable similar to but not part of the package priority mechanism; "Essential: yes" causes package-management tools to refuse any orders to remove the binary package in question. The essential package set provides 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 boot the system and perform repairs. See also Protected, required, and pseudo-essential.
The codename for Debian 4.0, release date: 2007.
(Plus more rarely failed-removed) A wanna-build state.
Short for "Front Desk".
- 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 and may be subdivided into "transition freeze", "soft freeze", and "full/hard freeze" milestones.
- Front Desk
- A team functioning as a first point of contact for Debian. Can mean:
Short for "Fails To Build Reproducibly".
- FTP master
- Several things, none of which necessarily involve the File Transfer Protocol:
The ftp-master server, the primary copy of the Debian archive.
Senior members of this team also rank as "FTP Masters".
Short for "For Those Who Care About" (compare "Bits...").
- General Resolution (GR)
In autobuilder jargon, packages are "taken" when an attempt is made to build them. Failures are often transient, fixed by simply trying again after a few days, so a "giveback" removes the "taken" flag from the package in the wanna-build database and puts it back into the normal needs-build queue.
Short for "General Resolution".
The codename for Debian 2.0, release date: 1998.
An i18n mailinglist label used to put work "on hold", warning that any work done on updates now is likely to be wasted.
A "port" (or rather the original release architecture, and still a current one) using the Linux kernel on 32-bit hardware - the kind dominating the PC market through the 90s/00s and known variously as IBM-clone, x86, IA-32, or (W)Intel-compatible computers.
- Three Debian-specific meanings:
- In terms of software, can mean:
To set up an Operating System (e.g. with Debian-Installer), or otherwise introduce software onto a system (e.g. with install(1)). 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 performed outside the package database, 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 install foo- bar- will remove packages foo and bar).
A wanna-build state.
(Not Debian-specific) A highly ambiguous initialism, which can mean:
- Internet Protocol, the primary communications protocol on the net.
- Internet Protocol address (as in "what's your IP?").
- Instruction Pointer address (as in "segfault at ip 000000000000dead").
- Intellectual Property, the intangible assets covered by copyright/licensing/patent/trademark law.
Short for "Intent To Orphan", used to label messages from a Maintainer giving advance warning of the orphaning of packages. Not an official part of the WNPP system, but useful as a way of letting interested developers stake claims.
Short for "Intent To Review"; an i18n mailinglist label (for human consumption) used to indicate that localization work is ongoing; also the message sent to a package Maintainer as the first step in the Smith Project debconf review process.
The codename for Debian 8, release date: 2015.
- Kernel Handbook
See the Debian Linux Kernel Handbook.
Short for "Last Chance For Comment"; an i18n mailinglist label used to indicate that work has been done and calling for any last-minute corrections before it is declared finished.
The codename for Debian 5.0, release date: 2009.
Short for "Long Term Support"; see LTS. Debian releases are routinely given full security support on a longer timescale than most commercial software; this means extra support on top of that.
Sometimes seen as an alternative name for m32r.
Formerly a utility for listing information about packages (suite, version, etc.) in the toolkit used to manage Debian repositories. Long ago mostly absorbed by dak as dak ls, but the old name is still visible in various places.
- Maintainer Script
Short for Maintainer Script.
Short for "Mise à Jour" (French for "update"); an i18n mailinglist label used to indicate that a document needs to be updated and that the work is reserved for the previous translator.
- Mass bug filing (MBF)
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. Sometimes hyphenated ("meta-package"), sometimes used as a synonym for plain dependency package.
Any process that involves transferring a large set of items, such as (most often in Debian) the automatic movement of packages from one suite to the next. No, it doesn't mean they travel in swarms, and they don't fly back in the winter.
A low bug severity.
- Misc Developer News
A bulletin collating minor news items of interest to Debian Developers sent out to debian-devel-announce whenever sufficient material has been collected on its Wiki page. Compare the Debian Project News.
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.
A wanna-build state.
The queue on ftp-master for packages uploaded for the first time, which need to be reviewed first. This doesn't mean such an upload is available as a new package: it may get a REJECT, or on the other hand it may be revisiting NEW due to a rename, a move between areas, or a reorganization of the set of binary packages built from a source-package.
- New Maintainer
See New Member.
- New Member (NM)
Short for "Non-Maintainer Upload"; a version of a package that wasn't uploaded by an official Maintainer, but rather by another Debian Developer. This typically occurs for security updates, Mass Bug Filings, and when the maintainer is on holiday - see Debian Developer's Reference.
As a multiarch classifier, indicates that only a native-architecture version can safely be used, even as a dependency.
A new (in bookworm) component for the Debian archives distinct from non-free proper, containing non-DFSG-compliant firmware that might be needed in order to run Debian on particular hardware. The rationale is that separating this out allows users to use such hardware without having to enable the whole of non-free.
(Obsolete) A subdivision of the Debian archives needed for the slink/potato/woody releases to deal with US legal restrictions on the export of cryptographic software. Software such as GPG was hosted only on mirrors outside the USA.
The default bug severity.
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.
- Can mean:
In apt/aptitude search patterns, any currently installed package which is not available (in any version) from any known archive (see apt-patterns(7): apt show '?obsolete'). This usually means that the system has dist-upgraded to a new stable release that no longer contains that package. Transitional 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.
One step older than oldstable (and likewise for oldoldoldstable and so on).
In a line like "Pin: origin 'dl.google.com'", it's a repository hostname to be associated with a "Pin-Priority:" line.
In a line like "Pin: release o='Google, Inc.'" (where the "o" stands for an "Origin:" line in a Release file), it's the name of the vendor or source organization behind the repository. This can also be used in apt/aptitude search patterns (see apt-patterns(7): apt show '?origin(Debian Backports)').
(Not to be confused with the following) In Debian 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.
- Orphaned (O)
(Not to be confused with the above) Used in package QA to indicate that a package has no maintainer, and is in need of adoption (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.
Short for "Packages-arch-specific".
- Can mean:
- Package maintenance
- Package management
- Packages-arch-specific (P-a-s)
- Package Tracking System (PTS)
Short for "Python Applications Packaging Team".
Short for "Packages-arch-specific".
A BTS tag indicating that "a solution to this bug has been found and an upload will be made soon". In practice this may mean anything from "my regular sponsor is away for the weekend" to "it'll be folded into the scheduled major release in the new year".
- The former Package Entropy Tracker service (now defunct).
- Philosophy and Procedures (P&P)
An element in the New Member checking process in which applicants are evaluated on their understanding of the principles of free software and of best practice in cooperative development.
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.
Repository subvariants for a given release such as "security", "updates", "backports", "proposed", and (in principle) so on. This is an Ubuntuism, but one that covers a concept in Debian-style repository layouts that otherwise lacks an established name.
- Point release
Point releases are updated versions of a release, with incremented minor revision number (hence the name), incorporating all accumulated security fixes and grave bug-fixes. (Also, In Real Life, a type of minor avalanche.)
The popcon score of a Debian package (see webpage) 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.
- Can mean:
- (Not Debian-specific) A physical hardware interface.
- (Not Debian-specific) A TCP networking endpoint identified by port number.
- (Not Debian-specific) A platform that software has been converted to run on.
A person who is working on a Debian port.
The codename for Debian 2.2, release date: 2000.
A port (not yet a release architecture but available via debports) using the Linux kernel on a slightly more obscure variant of powerpc hardware; "SPE" stands for "Signal Processing Extension" (and not as you might have guessed "Synergistic Processing Element").
A ranking system for binary packages, indicating how important it is for users to have them installed, and ranging from required down to optional (now that extra is being deprecated). See Debian Policy.
The mechanism for getting newer versions of packages into a point release, when they will be moved to the main suite for that release (not to stable-updates). See stable-proposed-updates and oldstable-proposed-updates.
A package property similar to Essential, but weaker. See the entry in deb-control(5); it's possible to avoid installing a package that's flagged as "Protected" (if only on an unusual sort of install, such as a container), but if it is installed then package management tools won't allow it to be removed without a 'force' option. (Originally known as "Important".)
A label applied to binary packages such as libc6 that are not themselves essential but are dependencies or pre-dependencies from essential packages, which has a similar effect. apt itself is not an example, but is a sort of pseudo-pseudo-essential special case as it refuses to try to remove itself.
Short for "Package Tracking System".
Short for "Quality Assurance" - see qa.debian.org.
The term used for the judgment as to whether something is in a fit state to be officially part of a release - whether a particular port will be a release architecture, whether a desktop will be the default on install media, etc.
- R3, R^3, or R³
Short for Rules-Requires-Root.
- Has several easily confused meanings, mostly not Debian-specific:
- Short for "Release Candidate", in version strings (v1.9~rc5 comes before v1.9).
Short for "Radio Controlled" (see rc-buggy).
In a filename such as ~/.bashrc, indicates a type of configuration-file - usually interpreted as short for "runtime configuration".
sometimes seen as an unofficial permanent codename for experimental, punning on the name of the Radio Controlled toy car in the original Toy Story.
see Debian Release
- Release Architecture
An architecture supported as part of a stable release; ports qualify for this status when their autobuilders prove capable of "keeping up" and successfully building a sufficient proportion of the archive.
- Release Critical (RC)
A bug that cannot be allowed in stable; a release cannot occur until all such bugs have been handled (by removal if necessary). Currently these are the bugs with critical, grave and serious severity level.
- Can mean:
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 remove foo+ bar+ will install packages foo and bar).
(Of a bug) general enough, or reported in sufficient detail, to enable the maintainer/upstream developers to trigger it in a test environment;
(Of a package build process) deterministic enough to enable users/distributors to verify for themselves that a given binary is produced from its declared sources rather than (e.g.) incorporating malware - see ReproducibleBuilds.
- RequestTracker (RT)
The codename for Debian 1.2, release date: 1996.
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.
Used in subject lines of package removal requests. It might look like it's addressed to the Release Manager, but it's just a shouty version of rm.
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 technical uses (not Debian-specific), 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 file system is the primary mountpoint everything else is attached to; it contains the root directory, plus various other essential directories such as /bin and /lib, and may or may not include others such as /boot or /home.
- 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, housed on the root file system. Not to be confused with the root directory as defined above.
Short for "Request of Stable Release Manager"; used in bug reports for package removal, to indicate that it has been agreed with the powers that be.
Short for "Request Tracker".
- Salsa (guest) account
The codename for Debian 3.1, release date: 2005.
- Can mean:
Sometimes seen as an alternative name for sh4.
Not to be confused with schlubs.
Short for SHared LIBrarieS - that is, dynamically loadable subroutines compiled into object files so that a single copy loaded into memory can be accessed by as many different processes as need it. Normally have the file extension .so, followed by interface-version numbers.
A special file defined in Debian Policy for tracking shared library dependencies.
The permanent codename for unstable ("Still In Development" is an unofficial backronym). While other codenames cycle through from testing to stable to oldstable, the name "Sid" stays in the same place permanently.
The codename for Debian 2.1, release date: 1999.
- Can mean:
A package origin defined by an entry in a sources.list(5) file.
A bash(1) builtin that executes commands from a file.
- Source package
- Can mean:
Short for "Software in the Public Interest, Inc.", the nonprofit foundation that manages resources and accepts donations on behalf of the Debian Project (which has no legal authority for doing so itself).
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. See also advocate.
A term that refers to the amount of emotional or mental energy a person has available for tasks. Popularised within Debian by Enrico Zini's Consensually doing things together? talk at DebConf17 (slides blog, video).
(Not Debian-specific) A developer meeting dedicated to intensive work on some project - see Sprints.
The codename for Debian 6.0, release date: 2011.
The stable suite is the distribution 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.
- Stable Update Announcement (SUA)
A package priority (the lowest priority that's installed by default).
A set of lines in a control file dealing with a particular package; the file may contain several of these, separated by empty lines (see deb822(5)). Also known as paragraphs, but not to be confused with the paragraphs (in the non-technical sense) that can occur within a text field (such as in a package description).
The codename for Debian 9, release date: 2017.
- Can mean:
A set of closely integrated packages (often multiple source packages), such as an "office suite".
Short for "Travail à Faire" (French for "work to do"); an i18n mailinglist label used to indicate that a volunteer is needed to handle some work. Originated on debian-l10n-french, but also used for instance in the Smith Project.
- Tasks and Skills (T&S)
An element in the New Member checking process in which applicants are evaluated on their technical knowledge.
The testing-security suite is almost always empty because testing no longer directly receives security updates, because most new package versions fixing security bugs can simply go through unstable as usual. During the freeze in rare cases security updates might go through testing-security and or TPU.
Short for "This Is Not Legal Advice"; compare IANAL.
Often short for "library transition". A new version of a widely-used dependency hitting unstable can mean that large numbers of related packages need rebuilds or significant fixes before the whole set can migrate to testing.
- Transitional package
A dependency package designed to automatically replace one package with another, to smooth over a rename or similar migration (especially for users performing a dist-upgrade). Not connected with library transitions.
See Tasks and Skills.
- Ultimate Debian Database (UDD)
Used to tag bug reports requesting a freeze exception.
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. See also proposed-updates, stable-updates.
- Can mean:
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 wanna-build state.
- A term with various potentially confusing senses (not Debian-specific):
- An actual human being currently logged into the system.
- Any service recipient (including for instance remote processes accessing a web server).
- An account, which may belong to a user in the first sense or just be a "system" account.
In chmod(1), the specific user (in the above sense) with ownership of a file.
Any normal, unprivileged account (thus "as a user" versus "as root").
- Any normal, non-technical human user, likely also to be a user in the above sense.
The name of the top-level /usr directory was also originally short for "user" (since at the time home directories lived there).
The string (corresponding to a numeric uid) that identifies a user to the system. Ambiguous when written as "user name" - root is a username; "Professor Sam Q. McRandom" is a user name.
(Of a process) Running outside the kernel; everything up to and including init(1) is a user process in this sense. Ambiguous when written as "user space" (which may mean storage capacity available to users).
- Virtual package
A binary package name that doesn't correspond to any .deb file. It may have no version or it may have a version. This can occur in several ways, mostly involving packages declaring "Provides: foo" or "Provides: foo (= N)" where multiple implementations of "foo" are supported via the alternatives system. The terminology used by APT distinguishes:
- "pure" virtual packages: "foo-gnome" and "foo-kde" exist but "foo" itself is only a cover term;
- "single" virtual packages: degenerate cases of the above where only one implementation declaring "Provides: foo" exists (so the "Provides:" functions more like an "Alias:");
- "mixed" virtual packages: as well as the alternatives with "Provides: foo" there's also a real package named "foo";
- ghost packages: former packages (real or virtual) that now exist only as names mentioned in dependencies.
Roughly speaking, the old name for the Stable Updates suite.
A tool forming part of the autobuild system that maintains a database of the build status of packages; see definitions.
- WaT or WAT
"Where are They?" or "Where Art Thou?" (depending on which era of the acronym we are talking about). The process of trying to get in touch with inactive Debian members and eventually removing their membership or getting them active again.
The codename for Debian 7, release date: 2013.
The lowest bug severity (which can include things that aren't literally bugs at all).
The codename for Debian 3.0, release date: 2002.
- X Strike Force (XSF)
- "Yet Another Debianization Aid", a (former) packaging tool, now deprecated and removed.
A character from the Toy Story series not yet used as a codename for a Debian release.
The file extension used for a Debian changes file, which is a particular format of control file used by the Debian archive maintenance software to process updates to packages.
The file extension used for Ubuntu automatic debug packages, implemented in Debian as dbgsym packages.
The file extension used for the standard installable binary package format used by Debian-based distributions.
- .d.o, .d.n, .dc.o
Short for ".debian.org", ".debian.net" and ".debconf.org". Examples: "wiki.d.o", "lists.d.o".
Sometimes all elements are abbreviated, as in p.d.o, which may mean either packages.debian.org or planet.debian.org. Sometimes even the dots are left out as in debian-www@ldo for email@example.com.
libolla offers some support for such abbreviated domain names.
The file extension used for (proposed) separate translation packages - see Dep-4.