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Guidelines for packaging projects on Alioth


as we have more and more packaging projects on Alioth I want to provide
some guidelines for people running those projects (and for people who
might want to start a new one).

Executive summary:
* Collaborative maintenance of a single package doesn't require a
  dedicated Alioth project, you can use the "collab-maint" project
  which exists for that purpose and which provides smooth integration
  with the Package Tracking System.
* If a maintainer wants to maintain his package in a public SVN
  repository, he can also use the "collab-maint" repository (even if
  there are no co-maintainers).
* All existing packaging projects should use svnmailer to send SVN diffs
  to the Package Tracking System. A sample configuration file is provided
  and I can help if you have troubles installing it. 

Detailed information are available in this wiki page, please check it out:

Here's a slightly edited lynx -dump of this page for your convenience:

1. Collaborative maintenance of a single package

   If you maintain collaboratively only a single package, you probably
   don't need a full Alioth project with mailing list and everything. You
   should use the subversion repository[24] of the collab-maint
   project[25]. Thanks to ACL, all Debian developers have write access on
   this repository. SVN commit notifications are automatically sent to the
   Package Tracking System (you need to subscribe in "advanced mode" on
   the web interface and to activate the "cvs" keyword, check the
   PTS documentation[26]).

   To integrate your package in the repository, use svn-inject (with
   option -o to avoid storing upstream sources) with the following URL:
   svn+ssh://svn.debian.org/svn/collab-maint/deb-maint/ If the package is
   maintained by external contributors, it should be put in the ext-maint
   directory instead of deb-maint (it can easily be moved later if

   If you need to grant access to external contributors, please ask
   [27]RaphaelHertzog to add a specific "xxx-guest" user to the
   collab-maint Alioth project.

1.1. Discussions between co-maintainers

   Since you don't have a dedicated mailing list for the maintenance, you
   have 2 solutions:
     * use extensively the BTS. You can submit wishlist bugs on your
       package to keep track of improvements that you want to do. Since
       co-maintainers are subscribed to the PTS, they will receive
       everything and the discussion can happen via the BTS itself. The
       BTS is the TODO list for your package and every contributor can
       follow your plans (and offer help and patches!).
     * create a dedicated email alias on a debian account. Putting emails
       of all co-maintainers in a ~/.forward-<package> file on
       master.debian.org will create the <login>-<package>@debian.org
       email alias.

1.2. Non-collaborative maintenance

   If a maintainer wants to maintain his package within subversion, he
   can use the collab-maint repository even if the package is not (yet)
   collaboratively maintained. This is always useful since contributors
   are more likely to propose patch if they can be sure that the work has
   not yet been done. That's why the use of the SVN repository should be
   documented as a static news[28] in the PTS (check the result on
   the debian-cd PTS[29] page for example).

2. Collaborative maintenance of a set of related packages

   If you plan to maintain many related packages with the help of a team,
   you can request a dedicated Alioth project. Its name should start with
   "pkg-". This gives you access to all the services associated to an
   Alioth project (website, mailing lists, trackers, forums, etc.).

   Examples of such projects are: [30]pkg-perl, [31]pkg-gnome, ...

2.1. Configuring SVN to send commit notifications

   It is very important that you install a SVN hook to send commit
   notifications to the Package Tracking System since this is the
   canonical way for many people to follow what's happening on a given
   source package.

   [32]Svnmailer is a python script that can be configured to
   handle this complicated task (extract the package name from the
   changeset and send out the diff to the right email) and it's available
   on svn.debian.org. You can find a sample configuration file with full
   comments (and a sample of a post-commit file for the hooks directory
   of a subversion repository) in the [33]collab-maint SVN
   repository: [34]post-commit and [35]svnmailer.conf

   You may need to modify the for_paths variable if packages maintained
   in the repository are somewhere else than in /packages/. If you have a
   mailing list which should receive all commit notifications, you can
   comment to_fake and use to_addr, listing there your mailing list for

   Please never disclose publicly the
   package_cvs _AT_ packages.qa.debian.org email address used to send the
   commit notifications. That's why the default configuration above uses
   bcc_addr instead of to_addr to effectively send the mail to
   package_cvs@p.q.d.o while pretending to send to package@p.q.d.o.

   Feel free to ask [36]RaphaelHertzog if you need more information on
   this subject.

2.2. Setup a basic web site

   Having an empty project web page doesn't look good. Please put some
   useful information in
   /org/alioth.debian.org/chroot/home/groups/<project>/htdocs, at the
   very least some links to the subversion repository, to the web page
   used to follow the status of all the packages maintained within the
   project, etc.

   Check for example [37]http://pkg-perl.alioth.debian.org/.

2.3. Disable Alioth services which are not needed

   An Alioth project provide many services like trackers, forums,
   surveys, file download, etc. Most of those services are activated by
   default. Please disable all that you don't use via the administration
   web page.


  24. http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/collab-maint/deb-maint/
  25. http://alioth.debian.org/projects/collab-maint/
  26. http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/developers-reference/ch-resources.en.html#s-pkg-tracking-system
  27. http://wiki.debian.org/RaphaelHertzog
  28. http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/developers-reference/ch-resources.en.html#s-pts-web
  29. http://packages.qa.debian.org/debian-cd
  30. http://pkg-perl.alioth.debian.org/
  31. http://alioth.debian.org/projects/pkg-gnome/
  32. http://opensource.perlig.de/svnmailer/
  33. http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/collab-maint/lib/trunk/hooks/
  34. http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/collab-maint/lib/trunk/hooks/post-commit?op=file&rev=0&sc=0
  35. http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/collab-maint/lib/trunk/hooks/svnmailer.conf?op=file&rev=0&sc=0
  36. http://wiki.debian.org/RaphaelHertzog
  37. http://pkg-perl.alioth.debian.org/
Raphaël Hertzog

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