[Don't be discouraged by terms/programs mentioned below you might be
unfamiliar with; it just means that you have to read the debian policy/devel
docs. Also, I assume that you're interested in technical/packaging work.]
On Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 07:12:45AM -0700, Setheck wrote:
> I am new to debiam devolpment and Im afraid I need some help getting started. I'm not new to development and I'm hoping with a list of what I hope to gain someone can point me in the right direction.
> Overall I am looking to gain a better understanding of functional use of C,C++, or another similar language.
> I would also like to contribute to the community and from what I have read it sounds like maintaining an orphaned package may be the way to go.
> I would very much like for someone to take me under their wing and guide me through the various ins and outs of Linux development.
> In generall I hope to become a competent and valueble asset to the Linux community.
> I chose debian because I am an avid user of ubuntu and debian proper.
As a relatively new package maintainer myself, I would suggest that you
familiarise yourself with the debian processes (read the policy and
maintainer/developer guides) and get practical experience of applying that
knowledge. I found that creating an actual debian-policy-compliant package
from scratch was far more educational than merely reading any number of guides
Having said that, owing a package is a major commitment, based on which you
will be judged. You should pick a program that you have a personal interest
in, and ideally are in a position to understand its internals (for instance,
to judge the applicability of a patch or even write one yourself, if
If you're serious about debian you should sign up at least in d-announce,
d-devel (at least skim through it), and d-mentors. d-devel is useful, amongst
others, for getting a feel of the consensus (or variety of approaches) on
issues that are not precisely mandated by policy.
Now some advice to make your work more likely to attract sponsorship and
feedback from DDs:
* avoid basic mistakes by reading the policy and new maint docs, and checking
your package with lintian and debuild (or similar tools)
* ideally ITA instead of ITP: given the large number of orphaned packages,
adopting one is often more appreciated than packaging a new program (this is
not to say that there aren't new programs that are worth adding to the
* prepare QA uploads: this refers to shaping up packages that have been
orphaned [1, 2] (ie, packages with maintainer set to Debian QA group); QA
work is a great way to contribute because you can gain experience without
committing to a package, and you are more likely to get sponsorship.
Certain QA uploads are trivial, but only after one has knowledge of policy
and practical packaging experience. Consider inspecting QA uploads that get
sponsored in d-mentors and consult .
Careful though not to waste any time with QA work on packages that should be
considered for removal from the archive .
> With that said I would like to put out a formal request for a mentor and/or general help in starting and continuing to contribute to the community.
I understand the need for a personal mentor but unfortunately debian doesn't
have such a provision. Instead there's the mentors mailing list and irc
channel, where people are fairly helpful and polite. Plus you will be getting
feedback on a case-by-case basis when your work is sponsored by a DD.
Finally, as a new maintainer I was given an excellent piece of advice which I
happily pass on: not to rush to apply for NM status, but instead postpone it
until ones reaches a point of significant and systematic contribution. This
may at first feel frustrating, especially with the need to get sponsorship,
but it's for good reasons: to maintain the quality of debian and let new
contributors demonstrate that they are up for a long-term commitment.
- From: Setheck <email@example.com>