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[DEP5] [patch] Renaming the ‘Maintainer’ field ‘Contact’

The purpose of the ‘Maintainer’ field is to provide a contact address for the
users of the software. But for some projects, the primary corresondance address
is not necessarly the developer's email address. It can be a helpdesk, or a
mailing list shared by multiple projects. In some rare cases, the users may be
asked to use other communication media than email, for instance web forms.

I propose to rename the ‘Maintainer’ field ‘Contact’, to reflect that the 
address is not necessarly the one of a person, and to clarify the purpose of
this field, which is to inform where to send messages, not to document whose 
contributors we think are maintainers the maintainers (which for complex
projects can be a very difficult exercise where the errors can frustrate 


I would like to apologise to the Debian community for not having discussed this
change in public before commiting it. Given that not all the subscribers of
debian-project and debian-devel are interested in DEP-5, I just wanted to
reduce the traffic and not bother people wiht minor changes. It was not my
intention to impose my point of view over the opinion of other people.

Later this year, I proposed again to rename the ‘Maintainer’ field ‘Contact’,
and it was not objected.


I use the Contact field instead of the Maintainer field for my packages, and
nobody commented about, and they passed through the NEW queue.

I therefore think, in my humble opinion, that the attached patch is consensual
and could be applied.

This patch also modifies an example, where the Contact adress becomes a mailing


Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan
>From 0ce807026f9776e3e87ebca6c634199a5eb6e4aa Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
From: Charles Plessy <plessy@debian.org>
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 12:29:10 +0900
Subject: [PATCH] =?UTF-8?q?=20#=20Renaming=20the=20=E2=80=98Maintainer=E2=80=99=20field=20=E2=80=98Contact=E2=80=99.?=
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

 dep5.mdwn |    8 ++++----
 1 files changed, 4 insertions(+), 4 deletions(-)

diff --git a/dep5.mdwn b/dep5.mdwn
index 152ff69..7244969 100644
--- a/dep5.mdwn
+++ b/dep5.mdwn
@@ -86,7 +86,7 @@ line is pending in [bug 491302](http://bugs.debian.org/491302).
    * Single occurrence
    * Syntax: Single line (in most cases a single word), containing the name of the software.
- * **`Maintainer`**
+ * **`Contact`**
    * Optional
    * Single occurrence
    * Syntax: Line(s) containing the preferred address(es) to reach current upstream maintainer(s).  May be free-form text, but by convention will usually be written as a list of RFC2822 addresses or URIs.
@@ -105,12 +105,12 @@ Examples:
 	Format-Specification: http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/dep/web/deps/dep5.mdwn?op=file&rev=135
 	Name: SOFTware
-	Maintainer: John Doe <john.doe@example.com>
+	Contact: John Doe <john.doe@example.com>
 	Source: http://www.example.com/software/project
 	Format-Specification: http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/dep/web/deps/dep5.mdwn?op=file&rev=135
 	Name: xyz
-	Maintainer: Jane Smith <jane.smith@example.com>
+	Contact: The XYX developing team <xyz-devel@example.com>
 	Source: http://www.example.com/gitwww
 ### Files Section (Repeatable)
@@ -481,7 +481,7 @@ Debian source package `planet-venus`:
 		Format-Specification: http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/dep/web/deps/dep5.mdwn?op=file&rev=135
 		Name: Planet Venus
-		Maintainer: John Doe <jdoe@example.com>
+		Contact: John Doe <jdoe@example.com>
 		Source: http://www.example.com/code/venus
 		Copyright: 2008, John Doe <jdoe@example.com>

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