Collaboration with Debian


This proposal tries to describe a way Ubuntu and Debian could collaborate in a more efficient way. This would make it more interesting for both parties to collaborate.


There is a lot of disagreement between Debian and Ubuntu regarding the way Ubuntu "gives back" to Debian.

The issue of collaboration with other distributions was already raised in other proposals, namely DebianPatchFeeding and UniverseAndDebian. But those specifications were left in an early drafting state.


This proposal deals with packages which are (or might be in the future) slightly modified in Ubuntu, not those which are closer to a fork in Ubuntu. The packages which are only slightly modified most likely reside in the universe and multiverse components of Ubuntu (see UbuntuDemystification for details), but some of the packages in main can qualify too.

Some packages are largely modified in Ubuntu (think of GNOME, for example) and can't be easily fed back. The feedback process must then be handled directly by the Ubuntu developer who made the changes. Such changes mostly are in main packages, and main Ubuntu developers have been quite good at feeding patches back to Debian. Such packages are out of the scope of this proposal.


The goal of this proposal is to make collaboration a win-win process for both Debian and Ubuntu. To achieve this, we ask the Debian maintainers to choose between two modes for their packages.

We also introduce a team called DCT (Debian Collaboration Team) here. Members of this team are Ubuntu Developers (or would-be developers) interested in collaborating with Debian.

Mode 1 : Passive giving back

This is what is currently in place. Debian maintainers have access to patches for their packages as soon as the modified packages get into Ubuntu; this is also available via the Debian Package Tracking System.

Ubuntu developers file bugs on the Debian BTS on a volunteer basis (when they have time, when they feel like it, and not for every issue).

Mode 2 : Feedback handled by the Debian Collaboration Team (DCT)

Debian maintainers willing to have a more fruitful collaboration with Ubuntu contact the DCT to switch to this collaboration mode for all or some of their packages. This mode includes duties for both parties.

Rights and Duties for the DCT

Rights and Duties for the Debian maintainer

Rights and Duties for the DCT and for Debian maintainers are of course subject to the usual rules:

Mode 3: Create RFP in Debian

How would the DCT work ?

Outstanding issues


"I'm a Debian maintainer, and don't want to be imposed duties by Ubuntu"

That's fine. Feel free to just ignore Ubuntu totally, or work with mode 1 : check the Ubuntu patches for your package from time to time, if you feel like it.

"Ubuntu cannot be considered ''special''. It's just another Debian derivative distribution."

If it wasn't special, it wouldn't be raised that often on debian-devel@. For many reasons (see also UbuntuDemystification), Ubuntu might be worth looking at for Debian maintainers.


DCT/Proposal (last edited 2008-08-06 16:31:13 by localhost)