How can I be a Debian developer

In order for a package to be included in the official Debian distribution, four conditions must be met:

Before starting work on a new package, a new ITP bug should be opened in the Debian Bug Tracking System (BTS, This means that a package with the status "Intend To Package" ( will be added to the database. This step minimizes the risk that another developer is already working on the same package. This avoids duplication of work.

Of course, the list of packages for which an ITP bug has already been opened should also be checked. Maybe someone is already working on this package.

Creating packages for personal use is a very simple process. However, in order to have the package included in the Debian distribution, a number of points and procedures must be observed. Conformity to the Debian Standards and compliance with the Debian Policy Manual ( ensure that the package meets the high quality standards of the Debian community.

The Debian Policy Manual specifies how the name of a package is determined, which section of the distribution the package is placed in, and how different parts of the installation are handled. There is further documentation such as the “perl-policy” ( or the “menu-policy” ( menu-policy /) in the Perl packages or the handling of menu entries.

Entering all of these regulations from scratch is certainly very complicated, but after a simple package or two, a lot becomes clearer. A useful reference for getting started is the “Debian New Maintainer Guide” (, in which the creation of Debian packages is explained using a few examples.

After the desired package has been created, the most important part of the work is complete. How the package gets to an official Debian server depends very much on whether the package was created by a Debian developer or not. A Debian developer can put the package directly on a Debian server. If you are not a Debian developer but plan to achieve this status in the future, there is the possibility of finding a so-called sponsor with another Debian developer. This can check the package and store it on the Debian server.

Usually, new developers are accepted by the Debian project team and then upload the packages they have developed onto a Debian server. These can be completely new packages that are not yet included in the Debian distribution, but they can also be orphaned packages that currently have no maintainer. Since only Debian developers are allowed to store packages on the servers, packages from non-developers must be "sponsored" by a Debian developer.

A suitable Debian developer can be found on the debian-mentors mailing list. The readers of this list specialize in guiding new Debian developers through the developer status process. The mail to this list should contain a description of the package to arouse the interest of Debian developers. A URL must also be specified under which the binary and source code packages can be found. The source code packages are particularly important, as a potential sponsor would of course like to get an insight into the package.