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It was mentioned in a private email that there is, as yet, no AM
HOWTO.  I have just concocted a mini-HOWTO, which is attached.  Any
comments or improvements would be accepted.  Maybe this can go onto
the AM part of the NM site?



  Julian Gilbey, Dept of Maths, QMW, Univ. of London. J.D.Gilbey@qmw.ac.uk
        Debian GNU/Linux Developer,  see http://www.debian.org/~jdg
  Donate free food to the world's hungry: see http://www.thehungersite.com/
Mini-HOWTO for Debian New Maintainer Application Managers

  Copyright Julian Gilbey <jdg@debian.org>, September 2000
  This is in the public domain.

The fount of all knowledge is the New Maintainer pages.  Start at
http://www.debian.org/devel/join/newmaint and look around until you
are familiar with the contents.  Your responsibilities as an AM are
described there.

As an AM, you will also be subscribed to the AM list:
debian-newmaint-admin@lists.debian.org.  Please feel free to ask for
help there; we are a friendly list all trying to get volunteers into
the project!

The other crucial web page is the database: http://nm.debian.org/.
You will have received a login there (and it's not encrypted, so
please don't use a sensitive password); see the bottom of that page.
This database is used to record the progress of your applicants.  You
are also able to specify how many applicants you are willing to
process at once (go the the link at the side "Your profile" to do
so).  If you ever do not have enough time to take on more applicants,
simply change this number to zero.

The rest of the database pages are fairly self-explanatory.  If you
ever have an applicant who is taking too long to respond or who needs
to wait for a couple of months (vacation or whatever), you can always
put them "on hold" so that you can take on another applicant.  There
is a text field "AM Comments" for noting the reasons for such things,
or for noting any other significant information for the front desk and
DAM to note.

Finally, to make life easier, I found it useful to create some form
letters, and these are attached below as follows:

Appendix 1: Sample initial email
Appendix 2: Sample email about skills, procedures and intro to
Appendix 3: Sample questions on philosophy
Appendix 4: Sample report for AM list
Appendix 5: Sample report for front desk and DAM



Hello *****!

I have just been appointed Application Manager for your Debian
maintainership application.  I have not seen your original
application, so I know nothing about you or your application, I'm

As a first step, have you checked out the New Maintainer corner of the
website?  Have a look at http://www.debian.org/devel/join/newmaint,
and especially at the checklist referred to from there.  That's what
we'll have to work through together.

So, if you can start by letting me have the following, we should be
able to progress fairly quickly:
 - GPG key (preferably signed by a current developer or certification
 - If your GPG is not signed by a current developer, you will need to
   also provide a piece of GPG-signed digitally photo ID (let me know
   if this is a problem; there are other ways to handle this step, but
   this is the easiest)
 - your preferred account name for the Debian machines
 - the email address you would like to be subscribed to debian-private

If you can also let me know a bit about:
 - what you intend to do within Debian
 - what skills you possess in order to be able to do this sort of work
that would be useful.

Once we've done this, we can look at "philosophy" and that will be

Looking forward to helping you through the process,



"Skills" and "Philosophy".

The next thing we have to figure is whether you yet know enough to
maintain a Debian package, and if not, let me help you!  You've said
what you intend to package; have you attempted to do so yet?  It's
often easiest if you take over an existing package at first: then you
get to see how someone else has done it.  You should also read how the
Bug Tracking System (BTS) works: see /usr/share/doc/debian/bug* or

A word on mailing lists: there are quite a lot of Debian mailing lists
now and packaging-related packages, and I'd just like to check with
you whether you know about the key ones.  I think all of the packages
are listed as dependencies of task-debian-devel, but you may not be
aware of what you have got.

  dpkg-dev   All of the primary tools needed to put a Debian package
             together: dpkg-buildpackage, dpkg-source, etc.
  debhelper  A very useful set of scripts designed to make
             debian/rules files more readable and uniform.
  debian-policy, packaging-manual
             Describe the policy relating to packages and details of
             the packaging mechanism.  Cover  everything from
             required gcc options to the way the maintainer scripts
             (postinst etc.) work, package sections and priorities,
             etc.  An absolute must-read.  Also useful is the file
             which lists changes between versions of policy.
  doc-debian Lots of useful Debian-specific documentation: the
             constitution and DFSG, explanation of the Bug Tracking
             System (BTS), etc.
             The New Maintainer's Guide to making Debian packages.
  devscripts Lots of useful (and not-so-useful) scripts to help build
             Lots of information on procedures and suchlike.
  dupload    Automatically upload packages to the archive once they
             are built.
  fakeroot   Build packages without having to be root.

It's not half as bad as it seems at first, but the long-term
advantages to the maintainer and user of having such detailed
descriptions of package building should be clear ;-)

And as for mailing lists, you do not really need to read lots, but the
most significant ones are probably:

debian-announce: Major public announcements
debian-devel-announce: Major announcements to the developer community

These two lists are must-subscribes.  Everything else is optional.  I
abbreviate 'debian-' to '-' from now on!

-security-announce (?):
          security updates to stable (and possibly also frozen)
-private: you'll be subscribed automatically when your new-maintainer
          application is accepted; sensitive discussions, flamewars
          etc.  You can unsubscribe if you wish.
-devel:   general mailing list for developer issues
-policy:  where possible changes to debian-policy are discussed

There are many others; check the mailing list page on the web site
for details.

The other thing we have to discuss is "philosophy".

Have you read the Debian Social Contract
(/usr/share/doc/debian/social-contract.txt)?  Do you agree to follow
it in your Debian-related work?  We'll ask some more detailed
questions next time around.




We have to check that you understand the Social Contract (at least the
way it is at the moment ;-) and the Debian Free Software Guidelines
(DFSG).  I know you have read them, and if you want, you can find them
on your machine in /usr/(share/)doc/debian.  (It's possible you've
been reading them online up to now....)

Firstly, can you explain the key points of the Social Contract and

Secondly, a few questions, based on them:

(1) Donald Knuth, author of TeX, insists that no-one has the right to
    modify the source code of TeX, and that any changes must be made
    using "change files" (a sort of patch file).  Furthermore, any
    modification of TeX which produces something which fails the "trip
    test" (a regression test suite) may not be called TeX.  So how
    come TeX (in the guise of tetex-*) is in main?

(2) What is Debian's (current) approach to non-free software?  Why?

(3) Debian was offered a Debian-specific license to package a certain
    piece of software (I forget which).  Would we put it in main?



Report for new developer applicant: 


2. Identification

3. Philosophy and Procedures

4. Tasks and Skills



Front Desk/DAM Report for new developer applicant: 


1. The applicant's photo ID which is digitized and signed by the
   applicant (if necessary)

   * Attached/Not necessary

2. The applicants GPG (or PGP if needed) public key for Identification

   * Attached

3. Logs of the discussions with the applicant to satisfy steps 2-4 in
   the checklist.

   * Attached

4. The applicants GPG public key (RSA/IDEA keys created by PGP are not
   accepted now) to sign his (or her) Debian packages. This will be
   incorporated into the Keyring of Debian

   * Attached/As in 2

5. The request from the applicant for their account name on Debian
   (used as <account>@debian.org)  

   * ???

6. The request from the applicant for the email address which will be
   used to forward the emails at <account>@debian.org. 

   * ???

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