/!\ This idea is mostly obsoleted by the integration of information from the derivatives census into Debian infrastructure and also by the DEX project.

This is an idea to create merge.debian.net, a service for the purpose of making useful changes from Debian-derived distributions easily available to Debian developers. It also involves the creation of Debian unsupported, an archive of Debian source packages downloaded from Debian-derived distributions and Debian repositories.


Ubuntu runs patches.ubuntu.com, but it isn't realistic to expect all Debian-derived distributions will do the same.

Running the service ourselves means we won't be relying on others to run the software properly. We can also more easily integrate it with other Debian services like the PTS and the QA site.

Unfortunately Debian-derived distros exist and will into the future. Ideally the people involved would all just work on Debian, but that just isn't going to happen without a lot of effort of a non-technical kind.


Create diffs between Debian packages and their counterparts available in Debian-derived distributions.

Also list packages available in Debian-derived distributions that are not available in Debian.


Some distros/sites we could include:

Some lists of Debian-derived distributions:

Sources lists

This is a list of sources.list entries that can be used to download source packages.

# Debian Mentors - place for non-DDs to upload packages before they go into Debian
# Derived from: Debian
deb-src http://mentors.debian.net/debian/ unstable main contrib non-free

# eLive - LiveCD with E17
# Derived from: Debian
deb-src http://www.vobcopy.org/mirror/elive/ elive main efl elive 

# Xandros - commercial desktop
# Derived from: Debian
deb-src ftp://ftp2.xandros.com/src xandros4.0-src main

# Kuliax
deb-src http://repo.ugm.ac.id/kuliax lumpia main non-free

# Hackable:1
deb-src http://www.hackable1.org/daily lenny main
deb-src http://download.hackable1.org/debian/ sid main

# Mepis
deb-src ftp://ftp.mepis.com/mepis/ mepis-8.0 main

# Mepis community repo
deb-src http://mepis.blue-pearls.net/repo/ mepis8cr main non-free

# pure:dyne
deb-src http://debian.goto10.org/debian/ lenny main contrib non-free

# Others
deb-src http://oraculo.insignesoftware.com/current/5.0/Momentum/src/source-3/ testing main

.dsc watch files

This is a list of watch files that can be used to download source packages.


Some other ideas for ways we can reduce the difference between Debian and Debian-derived distros and communities in the future...

Linking the BTS & PTS into the bug trackers of Debian-derived distributions.

More efforts by publicity people so Debian is seen to be a good place to contribute to.

Contact the leaders of Debian-derived distros and encourage them to contribute packages and changes to Debian and participate in Debian.

Debian Unsupported

Add unsupported.debian.net where anyone can add packages and obsolete and removed software can be kept, basically a place for packages not currently supported by Debian. This would also contain packages from derived distros that are not in Debian.

Grab everything removed from Debian from the morgue, snapshot.debian.org, archive.debian.org and possibly Ubuntu.

Grab packages from derived distros and Debian-related repos (listed above).

Lists of packages not yet in Debian, possibly automated integration with WNPP?

Zero quality requirements.

No bug tracking, just upload a fix or get someone else to do it.

No maintainers, just upload whenever you want. Ubuntu-style automated maintainer changes for packages imported from other distros. Reject packages with a maintainer field (those should be in Debian itself)?

No buildd maintainers, uploading of binary packages can be done by anyone? Alternatively a buildd network, preferably run by non-DDs (DDs should support/run Debian buildds) could give binaries for less common architectures.

Separation between main/contrib/non-free done by D-U ftpmasters, includes all DDs/DMs.

Lineage enforcement via changelog entries?

All DDs, DMs automatically get upload rights. Derivative distros and single maintainers have to have sigs from a DM or DD or similar.

Package namespaces, for binary packages you have to specifically add that package to your sources.list and the Packages file will contain all the depends/recommends/etc.

Export all patches like on patch-tracking.debian.net

Main use of this would be a training ground for new Debian contributors - packaging, infrastructure etc.