Discussions in the past have made it clear that the current definition of “Debian Developer” (AKA someone who is a member of the Debian project) should be modified and made more flexible. There have been attempts in the past to do something similar, notably Debian Maintainers (DM) [GR-DM], and to some extent debian-community.org [D-C], but these have only addressed parts of the whole issue.
Summary of this post
Discussions in the past have made it clear that the current
definition of “Debian Developer” (AKA someone who is a member of the
Debian project) should be modified and made more flexible. There
have been attempts in the past to do something similar, notably
Debian Maintainers (DM) [GR-DM], and to some extent
debian-community.org [D-C], but these have only addressed parts of
the whole issue.
We plan to integrate DM more closely into the NM process/system
while keeping the spirit of easing entry into Debian for newcomers.
At the same time we add a separate track for less-technical
If you are an existing Debian Developer or Debian Maintainer, don't be
afraid, we are not going to take anything away from you.
Currently becoming a Debian Developer means passing through all of the
New Maintainer process. People that passed this get the @debian.org
mail-forwarding, an account on all (developer-accessible) Debian
machines, voting and upload rights. It is a process that requires
work from prospective Developers, and depending on their available time
and the effort put into it, it can take a bit of time.
Some time ago a few Developers thus went and pushed forward the
“Debian Maintainer” status. DM allows newcomers to upload their
packages relatively early, without having to go through the “full” NM
process. So far it has worked quite well for the people involved, but
the way it was instantiated outside of most existing structures has
always made other groups in Debian uncomfortable. The ftp-masters
have to deal with the technical implementation that does not fit well
with the rest of the archive, and the account and keyring managers
would like to remain the authoritative source for “who is in Debian”.
Debian is about developing a free operating system, but there's more
in an operating system than just software and packages. If we want
translators, documentation writers, artists, free software advocates,
et al. to get endorsed by the project and feel proud for it, we need
some way to acknowledge that. This is where our proposal comes in.
Now let us describe the way the account status is meant to be handled
A new user can start out in two ways depending on their personal
preference. The first is the non-technical way:
A DC is someone that has a strong relation with Debian through the work
they are doing for/around Debian. Possible examples are translators and
DC have to pass the ID check, agree to the Social Contract/DFSG and have
successfully answered a set of questions[DCDMQ] similar to the ones used
in the current first P&P step.[TEMPL]
The second way is the technical one:
A DM has the same strong relation with Debian a DC has, but additionally
wants to maintain a limited set of packages without the help of a sponsor.
A DM has to pass the same checks a DC has and very few questions from the
A (very) small T&S basically, the most important T&S questions for them.
They are allowed to upload their own (source) package. The allowed list
of (source) packages to upload can be edited by any member of the NM
committee[NMC], who will do a package check before they add new packages
to the DM's list.
In contrast to current DM this is based on source packages and allows
uploads of new binary components, which have to pass NEW, too.
While, strictly speaking, this increases the barrier to get DM compared
to the current implementation of DM, we do not think it is an
unreasonable or too high level. Anyone who is able to get a package put
together in a lintian clean way will be able to get DM without much
effort or time used.
Those two “classes” are the initial set in which every NM will end
up. After six months as DC or DM one might chose to become a
Debian Member or Debian Developer. This
– ensures that the interest in Debian isn't short-term.
– enables them to learn more about the workings in Debian and generally
helps them for the next step.
– leaves everyone the option to stay DC or DM, if they do not want/need
After the 6 months time in Debian Contributor/Maintainer are passed,
applicants can apply to get Debian Developer status. There are now 2
different “classes” of DD status available, one with and one without
upload rights. To not add confusion we selected to name them “Debian
member” (no upload rights) and “Debian Developer” (upload rights).
Both are project members, i.e. with voting and all other constitutional
rights, the term “classes” does not indicate any kind of “first” or
“second” level membership.
A DME is someone that previously had DC or DM for at least 6 months but
additionally want to have voting rights or needs a login on a debian.org
machine for their work.
A DME can nominate themself as DPL, can be delegated rights from the DPL
and can start any GR, basically do everything our foundation documents
allow project members to do.
DME are not able to freely upload any package, but DME can have the same
upload rights a DM can have, ie. own packages, if they follow(ed) the DM
rules for this.
Following our Constitution §8.1.2, DAM declares that Debian Members are
to be treated as “Developers who do not maintain packages” wherever the
term “Developer” is used in one of our documents.
A DD is exactly the same as a DME, with the one and only notable
exception that a DD can freely upload any package to the archive.
To become a DD one has to pass all the checks a DM has to pass and
additionally answer all the rest of the questions from the T&S steps in
[Or do whatever T&S checks are used by the AM. Focusing on the questions
is just for this procedure, as we are used to them.]
We are considering to implement an @contributor.debian.org mail
forwarding setup which would be open for DC/DM too. Such addresses would
continue to be valid even after a person becomes a DD/DME. If sufficient
support for the idea is found then this will probably be implemented
once the new debian.org mail setup is in place.
Changes to existing Debian Developers
No changes are done to existing Debian Developers, until they ask for
it. If you want to drop down to DME, no matter if you want to keep a few
packages maintained like a DM does, drop the NM-Committee a mail.
Changes to existing Debian Maintainers and NMs
No changes will be done to existing Debian Maintainers, and the
6 months waiting time will not be applied to NMs who have already
applied to become DD, unless they ask to be handled using the new way.
There is one exception – the handling of the packages allowed to upload
will change. In future this will be a list maintained by the NM-committee.
At the time of migrating from the old to the new way, Ftpmaster will
convert the existing DM-Upload-Allowed fields into that list, so there
should be no interruption in your ability to upload. The converted list
will be made public before this happens, so to be sure – please check
it at that time. (Follow debian-devel-announce and you will notice it).
Applications and Advocations
NM applicants, no matter if it is for Debian Contributor or Maintainer
status, have to sign up using the interface provided at
nm.debian.org[NMDO]. This application, as well as the advocation mail
From one or more existing Debian Member or Developer will be copied to
the debian-newmaint mailinglist for public review.
Changes to the DM Keyring
Keyring management will be moved to the control of keyring-maint. The
NM committee will decide who will be added or removed, similiar to the
way keyring-maint and DAM currently work together.
[DCDMQ] The intention is that the NM-Committee will select the actual
set of questions used, not this mail. It can easily be adjusted to fit
whatever the current situation may want to have. For DM we imagine it
would be a very limited T&S set, like making sure someone can deal with
the BTS and knows the basic tools (lintian, dput/dupload, debsign). It
is not meant as a full (first part) of NM and lots of boring tasks
before one get DM, but as a basic check for a minimum knowledge.
[NMDO] This interface helps multiple things, like making sure no
applicants chose an already existing account name, giving a
central place to look at the current NM status, clearly showing
what is going on/missing for an applicant.
[NMC] The NM-committee is currently defined as (see
An AM is a member of the NM committee if a) they are not marked as
inactive (i.e. if they haven't retired as an AM) and b) if they've
approved an applicant in the last six months.
Every Debian Developer (and in future Member too) can join the
NMcommittee by simply becoming an AM and successfully processing
at least one applicant.
– bye, Joerg Free beer is something that I am never going to drink and free speech is something that people are never going to be allowed to.