Getting new packages into Ubuntu

Alex Chiang achiang at
Mon Sep 19 20:07:16 UTC 2011

* Evan Broder <evan at>:
> On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 10:35 AM, Bryce Harrington <bryce at> wrote:
> > On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 12:28:03PM +0200, Daniel Holbach wrote:
> >>
> >> The feedback I've got lately about getting new packages into Ubuntu is
> >> that it's still quite complicated and you need unreal amounts of
> >> patience to get your package in.


> >> There's a number of different approaches you can take currently:
> >>
> >>  - get it into Debian, sync from there
> >>
> >> Is there anything we can do to speed up the process and make it more
> >> obvious how to proceed?

I'm trying to be a good citizen and get a new package in via
Debian, and it has taken me quite a while. To be fair, part of
the problem is that I haven't had the time away from $DAYJOB to
apply as much effort as I'd like.

I did manage to get good feedback about my python module from
both debian-mentors mailing list and #debian-python. It's partly
a matter of finding time to address comments; partly that
Packaging Is Hard, even for someone who kinda knows what they're

For instance, I've been modifying existing packages in Ubuntu for
a while now, and am comfortable with most patch systems and am
somewhat familiar with policy.

But packaging something brand new involves jumping over higher
(occasionally unexpected) hurdles than simply getting a debdiff

This is because the sponsor not only needs to review the entire
packaging (not just a diff), but also the source code to make
sure you're not uploading a new trojan to millions of machines
where you'll have root.

These are facts I've learned throughout my process, and when
explained this way, make perfect sense.

I'm not sure how this can be sped up.
> Can we work with Debian to make their mentorship process better
> (I know they've already been doing a bunch of work with things
> like, though I don't know how well it's
> working), and then make sure we have good documentation on the
> process?

Yeah, so I just blundered into and debexpo as
part of my google search on "how to get a package into debian".

On a mechanical level, the dput process is great; the same as I
use for Ubuntu.

The harder problem is then finding a reviewer and sponsor. The
docs suggest emailing debian-mentors, but could be improved by
mentioning that you should cc a relevant team.

Now that I've been on d-m for a few weeks, I see some people get
quite rapid reviews and rapid sponsorship. I also see other
people who are sending out their 3rd and 4th RFS without any
visible help.

For myself, I got good review comments from someone very
knowledgeable which I appreciated, but when I asked about
sponsorship, he said he wasn't able (or willing, unsure, really).
No one else stepped up to review or sponsor my package.

I have resorted to asking a DD that I know in Real Life(tm) to
sponsoring my package; he agreed to the actual sponsorship, and
now the ball is in my court to address his further review

The worst part of the process is that sending a blind mail to
debian-mentors is an action to which it is indeterminate whether
you receive a response or not.

I don't know what we could do in Ubuntu to make the Debian
mentorship process better, other than helping review packages on
d-m, and potentially uploading packages if you are a DD (or have
other upload rights).


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