New software created for Ubuntu

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Wed Jun 23 04:00:56 BST 2010

On Tuesday, June 22, 2010 05:59:57 am Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 09, 2010 at 02:47:59PM +0200, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > On Wed, 09 Jun 2010, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > > > My take is that most software that Ubuntu/Canonical has written is
> > > > interesting to Debian but that it takes time for someone to step up
> > > > maintaining it in Debian (usually until the software is more widely
> > > > known because it has been shown to provide a cool new feature to a
> > > > recently released version of Ubuntu).
> > > 
> > > This doesn't seem like a problem to me.  It's important that someone in
> > > Debian take an interest in the software; otherwise it will be perceived
> > > as Ubuntu polluting Debian with useless orphaned packages.
> > 
> > If you are writing those software, I suppose you don't consider them
> > "useless". Also we were not speaking of orphaning them but of handing
> > over maintainership ASAP.
> I don't think you've understood me.  I'm saying that I don't think Debian
> wants a bunch of unmaintained packages in Debian.  Am I wrong?

I'm reasonably certain no one was saying that.  One of the challenges in this 
area is that developers who are focused on Debian aren't always aware of 
things that might be useful from Ubuntu.

Of note, in response to this discussion, there is now an effort to maintain 
packages developed by Ayatana (this excludes their Qt/KDE work because that is 
already integrated upstream and packaged by the Debian KDE team) in Debian:

> If I'm wrong, we can set up a script immediately to automatically upload
> new Ubuntu packages to Debian.
> > > at that time, if someone purported to be a package maintainer but did
> > > not run Debian unstable (or used a chroot) they were ridiculed. 
> > > Debian developers said it was impossible to do a good job of package
> > > maintenance without running sid, and there is some validity to that
> > > view.
> > 
> > Technologies evolved over time, nowadays it's easier to juggle with
> > multiple distributions thanks to virtual machines and to the more
> > powerful computers that we have.
> > 
> > I agree that it's best to run Debian sid to be the best packager but we
> > have plenty of developers who do not and which are still doing a good
> > job.
> > 
> > And someone running the latest Ubuntu release is using something closer
> > to sid than someone running the stable Debian release so... :-)
> That's good to hear.  If Debian developers voice support for Ubuntu
> developers doing Debian package maintenance, even though they run Ubuntu as
> their primary system, that would probably encourage more people to do so.

I've been doing this for three years and have never suffered any significant 
negativity because of it.  While there will always be individuals who diverge 
from the norm in any project, I don't think Ubuntu developers need to worry 
about this significantly as long as they use Debian chroots, VMs, etc to 
validate their work is correct for Debian as well as Ubuntu.

> > > I would not want to see Ubuntu developers subjected to this, nor can
> > > they be expected to do their work twice.
> > 
> > Packaging it for Debian means packaging it for Ubuntu too. So it's not
> > twice the work (but it's still a bit more work).
> I think we can agree that it is more work, and forget about the exact
> ratio.
> :-)
> While changes to Debian do flow into Ubuntu, in practice, things are not so
> simple.
> For example, Ubuntu works to strict deadlines, unlike Debian.  Waiting
> weeks for Debian's new package queue to be processed is an unacceptable
> delay for us.  Therefore, a policy of "new packages always go to Debian"
> would not be workable.

The Debian New queue is a lot shorter than it used to be, so in most cases it 
should either be possible to upload to Debian or upload to both and sync over 
the Ubuntu upload after it clears Debian New.  I agree that a strict policy of 
"always" isn't feasible, it's a reasonable goal.  In MOTU we generally push 
community members wanting to get packages into Ubuntu to work in Debian and it 
works reasonably well, but we don't do it always.

> For similar reasons, it isn't (currently) workable to require that Ubuntu
> developers make uploads to Debian for any reason, for the simple reason
> that they do not have permission to do so.  Most of them are not Debian
> developers, and Debian's new maintainer process is much too cumbersome to
> be a prerequisite for Ubuntu development.
> The Debian Maintainer designation may help with this: for example, would
> Debian be willing to extend Debian Maintainer status to Ubuntu developers
> in general, so that they can upload their packages?

I have seen the MOTU approval process streamlined for Debian Developers since 
we can generally assume their technical capability and just need to ensure 
they understand Ubuntu specific processes, freezes, culture, etc.  Debian 
Maintainer status is very easy to get (much easier than MOTU).  All it takes 
is a sponsor to advocate for the potential DM and no other DD objecting.  If 
an Ubuntu developer is paired with a sponsor for a few uploads to make sure 
they understand Debian specific processes, freezes, culture, etc, I'm sure it 
will be quite easy for them to get DM status (it was for me and other Ubuntu 
developers who have done it).

Scott K

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list