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Is Ubuntu a debian derivative or is it a fork?

Forgive me if this has already been discussed ... if so could someone
give me a pointer to the thread.

I find myself fairly confused about Ubuntu packages.  I had thought
that Ubuntu is a Debian derivative.  Therefore I expected new
packages to be first placed in Debian and then flow to Ubuntu.

However, I recently found this page:


The project seems to have established a mechanism for putting new
packeges directly into Ubuntu.  Are new Ubuntu packages also put in
Debian by the Ubuntu team members?

The Ubuntu literature indicates that Ubuntu is a derivative of debian
but it looks more like a fork to me.

Also, when Ubuntu makes improvements to packages how do those
improvements flow back to Debian?


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