This page describes current status, best practices and future plans regarding the usage of Email addresses in the Maintainer field of Debian packages.
In case of team maintained packages, is a good idea to have a single point of contact to all the team. This could be done by means of several email mechanisms:
an email list: email@example.com. This list has browsable archive, people can subscribe and so on.
tracker email: firstname.lastname@example.org (TODO: elaborate)
Using email lists from lists.debian.org is discouraged since the software is not able to handle such a scale of packages.
Right now, many packages use a list from lists.alioth.debian.org in the Maintainer field address. This is usually associated with a packaging team.
Maintainer: Debian Netfilter Packaging Team <email@example.com>
The Alioth system is being replaced by Salsa, so these email lists will stop working at some point (see Future plans section).
Current use cases for these emails:
- single point of contact for users to developers (i.e, how can I contact the package maintainers?). An alias could work.
- team discussion. An browsable archive is interesting for this use case.
- automatic email notifications: uploads, bug reports, testing migration, per-commit emails, etc. An alias could work.
There is also the email notifications that tracker.debian.org could generate that users can subscribe to so they stay informed on package updates. This is a sightly different use case, but it could be taken into account in order to find a common solution to all email problems in the same shot.
There are work in 2 parallel approaches to improve the situation:
Continuation of Alioth mailing lists on a new host
Some people are working on a replacement for lists.alioth.debian.org on a new debian.net host, see Alioth/MailingListContinuation.
Improved tracker.debian.org support
Buxy is working in improving the tracker to better support the kind of things that people would expect to implement the best practices above.
From an IRC conversation:
Basically the current situation is that you can put ''firstname.lastname@example.org'' in Maintainer email but it will dump the emails received to trash. I plan to handle non-automatic mails one day and forward those to some subset of the team subscribers. (the automatic emails are already received by other means so those are not a problem) Or you can use email@example.com and then you get all non-automatic emails on the contact keyword (like previously). The benefit of the former is that the new packages will be auto-added to the corresponding team.
Other relevant information:
* Salsa - the Alioth replacement