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Re: Derived distributions and the Maintainer: field

In response to your request for replies to 

>1. Most of the source packages in Ubuntu are inherited from Debian
>   unchanged (example: tetex-base).
Then the *source* packages can legitimately use the same Maintainer: field.

If they are also compiled with a toolchain unchanged from Debian, the binaries 
can legitimately have the same Maintainer: field as in Debian, because they 
are essentially the same package.

If not, the binary packages should have different Maintainer: fields, unless 
the maintainer agrees to have his name on it.  For instance, debugging bugs 
in your package generated by a toolchain you don't have is obnoxious, 
frustrating, and a waste of time; Ubuntu should be sorting out whether such 
problems are present in Debian before sending them to the Debian maintainer.  

Given Ubuntu's practice, this means all the binary packages should have 
automatic Maintainer: changes.

> 2. Some source packages in Ubuntu are modified relative to Debian.  These
>    are assigned a version number of the form
>    "<Debian version number>ubuntu<ubuntu revision number>".  Of those which
>    are modified, in most cases the modifications are trivial, such as a
>    library transition, Python transition or other dependency change
>    (example: python-adns,
>    In some cases, the packages are modified more extensively (example:
>    several d-i components, such as partman

These should not have the same Maintainer: field as in Debian (unless the 
Ubuntu maintainer is in fact the same, of course).  "Trivial" dependency 
changes have much the same effect as toolchain changes in that the Debian 
maintainer may have good reasons to not want to hear about that version of 
the package.  They should also have their Origin: changed.

>   If a binary package is built by a third party from unmodified Debian
>   sources, should its Maintainer field be kept the same as the source
>   package, or set to the name and address of the third party?
Third party.   Exception: if it's built with an unmodified Debian toolchain 
and dependencies.  Exception: Maintainer gives explicit permission.

>   Should Debian-derived distributions change the Maintainer field in source
>   packages which are modified relative to Debian?  If so, should this be
>   done in all cases, or only if the modifications are non-trivial?
Yes, and in all cases; the definition of "trivial" varies with the observer.  
(Well, if the only change is to rename the .deb file, I guess everyone would 
agree that that was trivial enough.)  Exception: Maintainer gives explicit 

This doesn't seem like rocket science to me; it's just a matter of accurate 

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