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Re: packages

On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 08:37:31AM +1100, Craig Small wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 12:17:04PM -0800, Ashley Ward wrote:
> > I'm interested in learning how debian is able to have so many
> > packages maintained. What is the process you use to compile them.
> > How do you keep up with all the different software sources?

<snip craig's intro> 

> Next we have about 20 architectures that most packages need to be built
> on.  Generally a package is uploaded once and works on a standard PC
> (i386). We have a bunch of systems called buildd[1] that take the
> new packages and builds them for the other architectures.

I have an (incomplete & out-of-date) diagram of the way in which the
software building process is automated here[0]. As was noted, Debian has
a lot of packages and to make this useable in a reasonible time frame,
a lot of automation is required for ever part of the Debian system.
There are bug trackers, software package status pages, software package
builders, multiple communication channels (irc -- for realtime
communication, mailing lists for regular asynchrous discussions,
world-wide meeting to deal with long-term project goals or single
topics, bug sprints). There are also tools that check the packages
before they are included in the distro like lintian so that the software
package meets some basic project standards, and tools that handle the
migration from the 'unstable' stream to the 'testing' stream.  Debian
developer are always busy maintaining or developing tools to make their
jobs easier.  
Hope that answers some more of your question. Feel free to ask a more
specific question if needed. 

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