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What is an official sub-project of Debian?

We contacted Branden/DPL about a month ago to seek permission for
Debonaras (Debian On Nas And Routers And Stuff) to become an official
sub-project of Debian.  Branden responded that he was at a conference
and that he'll respond in more detail later; in the meantime, we can
say that we're "seeking status as an official subproject".  Talking to
some other people about sub-projects, they said that that one can
become an official sub-project either through the DPL or
debian-project, but nobody really knew for sure...

At the moment, it's not clear how something becomes an official
sub-project and what this status entails.  I therefore thought that
I'd forward the original message to debian-project so we can have a
discussion about this.  It's not as if Debonaras is the only project
in this situation.  In the past, we have had discussions about
projects which called themselves "official" even though it wasn't very
clear that they were officially endorsed.  In fact, a similar
question was raised just a few days ago regarding an effort to
produce a live CD of Debian [1, 2].

There are a number of questions, such as:
 - What kind of requirements does a project have to be an official

   In the past, the point was raised that they have to follow the
   constitution of Debian, e.g. be accountable to the DPL or GRs.
   Another question is how many official Debian developers you
   need to have involved to be an official sub-project.  Does the
   project need to use debian.org infrastructure, or can they use
   their own infrastructure?

 - Can sub-projects handle their own finances, and e.g. ask for
   donations (helpful for projects such as Debonaras, which needs
   to buy hardware for their porting efforts).  What about

I'm sure there are lots of other questions.  I hope that we can have a
productive discussion and in the end come up with some guidelines
against which future prospective sub-projects can be measured.

[1] http://blog.philkern.de/archives/134-Re-Debian-Live-Ressources-sic.html
[2] http://blog.daniel-baumann.ch/2006/02/28#20060228_re_debian-live-ressources

* Rod Whitby <rod@whitby.id.au> [2006-01-28 10:05]:
> To: Branden Robinson / Debian Project Leader <leader@debian.org>
> Cc: spi-board@lists.spi-inc.org, Martin Michlmayr <tbm@cyrius.com>,
>        Lennert Buytenhek <buytenh@wantstofly.org>
> Dear Branden,
> I lead the NSLU2-Linux project (http://www.nslu2-linux.org) which
> develops custom firmware images for the Linksys NSLU2, an ARM based
> consumer network attached storage device, as well as other similar
> devices (Iomega NAS 100d, Synology DS-101, etc).  I also lead
> the Debonaras project (Debian on NAS and Routers and Stuff -
> http://www.debonaras.org).  That project has a charter of porting the
> Debian distribution to consumer devices (NAS devices, routers, etc)
> with attached storage.  The presence of large attached storage
> means that we can run the full Debian distribution, rather than
> having to resort to minimal distribution installations like
> Emdebian.
> For some time now we have been developing support for running Debian on
> the NSLU2.  Recently, we joined our efforts with two Debian developers,
> Joey Hess and Martin Michlmayr, and we're working with them to merge
> out efforts into Debian proper.  This effort has now come to the point
> where we are ready to release official Debian installer images for the
> device as part of debian-installer.  We have a page called "DebianSlug"
> ("Slug" is the common name for the NSLU2 device) at
> http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/DebianSlug/HomePage
> which gives installation instructions about Debian on the NSLU2.
> This effort has been very successful, but as mentioned above we see it
> as only the first starting point in a much bigger mission: to port
> Debian to a wide range of embedded devices with attached storage,
> which are becoming increasingly popular.  We have set up the Debonaras
> project ("Debian on NAS and Routers and Stuff"), and would like to ask
> for permission to join Debian as an official sub-project, in a similar
> fashion to the Emdebian project.
> Apart from the porting effort to the NSLU2, in which some Debian
> developers are involved, the Debonaras project is also supporting
> (through shared development resources, and some buildd hardware)
> the effort behind the armeb (big-endian ARM) port of Debian (which
> is related to Debonaras but separately led by Lennert Buytenhek); we're
> working closely with Andreas Barth and Wouter Verhelst, who make
> sure that only official Debian developers upload "sid" packages
> to armeb.debian.net so the can port later be integrated into the
> Debian archive.
> I'm aware that there is no formal policy about Debian sub-projects.
> We believe, however, that we are a good candidate for a sub-project
> and we are fully committed to integrating our work into Debian.
> As mentioned above, we also have a number of Debian developers on
> our team, and some other members (including myself) are in the process
> of becoming Debian developers themselves.
> As a sub-project of Debian, we would integrate all of our work into
> Debian.  Our web site, http://www.debonaras.org would mainly act as
> a starting point for people interested in Debian on NAS and other
> devices, and to provide installation instructions that are not within
> the scope of the Debian installation guide.  As such, Debonaras
> would mainly act as a community resource to bring developers together
> and to provide support for users.
> I think this is fully in line with other sub-projects and I hope
> that you can grant us permission to use the Debian name and give us
> official blessing as a sub-project of Debian.  There's only one
> major issue which may require further discussion - that of donations.
> As far as I can tell, there is no policy as to whether sub-projects
> may solicit donations.  Given that we port Debian to various devices,
> we can benefit from donations in order to purchase hardware for
> developers (as the NSLU2-Linux project did for Joey Hess and Martin
> Michlmayr).  Is it okay for a sub-project of Debian to accept
> donations?  I assume it is since there are various organizations which
> handle donations and operate fairly autonomously (although, of course,
> with advice of the DPL), such as Debian UK.  In any case, this is an
> issues which can be discussed in more detail later, and donations could
> also be handled through a separate project, such as NSLU2-Linux.
> The big question is whether you can give us the go-ahead to use the
> Debian name for Debonaras and to join Debian as an official sub-project.
> I look forward to hearing from you and to working closely with you and
> Debian.
> Thanks for your time and attention to this matter,
> -- Rod Whitby
> -- NSLU2-Linux and Debonaras Project Lead

Martin Michlmayr

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