Debian Machine Usage Policies

Version 1.1.2
This version of the Debian Machine Usage Policies becomes effective on July 4th, 2010 and supersedes all previous versions. It was announced on May 9th, 2010.

  1. Introduction
    This document describes the policies for using Debian machines and all rules surrounding those.

    In short:

    • The Debian Systems Administration Team will do whatever is necessary to keep all machines and services working and running in a secure fashion.
    • Don't by any wilful, deliberate, reckless or unlawful act interfere with the work of another developer or jeopardize the integrity of data networks, computing equipment, systems programs, or other stored information.
    • Don't use Debian Facilities for private financial gain or for commercial purposes, including consultancy or any other work outside the scope of official duties or functions for the time being, without specific authorization to do so.
    • Don't use Debian Facilities for unlawful activities, including, but not limited to, software piracy.

    This document contains two parts: policies and guidelines. The rules in the policies are binding and may not be violated. The guidelines specify rules that may be violated if necessary but we would rather one did not.

  2. General statements
    1. Used abbreviations
      • DSA - Debian Systems Administration
      • DMUP - Debian Machine Usage Policy (this document)
      • DPL - Debian Project Leader
      • DAM - Debian Account Managers
    2. Privilege
      Access to Debian Facilities is a privilege, not a right or a commercial service, and DSA reserves the right to revoke this privilege at any time, without prior notice. An explanation will be given within 48 hours.
    3. Guarantees
      There is no guarantee of service. Although DSA will do its best to assure that everything functions perfectly, they can't give any guarantees.
    4. Privacy
      If necessary to keep machines working properly the DSA is allowed to edit user files. (for example modifying .forward files to break mail loops.)
  3. Penalties
    If someone violates the rules set in this document they will be subjected to a penalty. The penalty depends on the number of previous violations and the offense involved.
    1. First offense
      1. The accounts of the offender will be suspended and access will not be available.
      2. The offender will be required to contact DSA and convince them that there will be no further breaches of the DMUP by the offender.
      3. If the offender fails to contact DSA within 14 days, DSA will suspend the corresponding account and propose to DAM the expulsion of the offender from the Debian project. If the offender has announced they will be on vacation in this time frame, this period will be extended with the announced duration of the vacation.
      4. If the offender is expelled from the project they can register to become a maintainer again after a period of a month. The offense will remain on record.
    2. Second offense
      1. The offender's accounts will be suspended immediately and DSA will propose to DAM the expulsion of the offender from the Debian project.
      2. If the offender does not file for an appeal within the designated time frame the account is terminated.
    3. Publication
      1. The offense and the penalty will be announced to Debian developers only.
      2. Should it, in the sole opinion of the Debian project leader, be considered necessary, then a public announcement will be made. This can include the offender's identity.
    4. Appeal
      1. If the offender does not agree with the decision made by DSA they can appeal to the developers. This is only possible in the 14 days directly following the day the offender was informed of the sentence. This is done using the procedure as detailed in section 4.2 of the Debian constitution.
      2. During the time the appeal is processed the account will remain suspended.
  4. The policies
    This section lists the policies. This list is not and cannot be comprehensive.
    Disk usage:
    All machines run a /tmp cleanup daemon and expire files after a week. Some machines have /scratch partitions specifically for storing large data sets without fear of them being erased. If you receive an email notification that your homedir is large and that more free space is needed then please promptly take action. DSA may find it necessary to clean up without warning.
    Please use ssh/scp if at all possible rather than less secure alternatives (rsh, telnet or FTP).

    Idle connections are killed after an hour; this is easy to bypass, but please don't do so without good cause.

    Mirroring via any private means any portion of the public archives from the private servers is strictly forbidden without the prior consent of the residing Mirror Master. Developers are free to use any publicly available forms of access.

    Do not run any long running process without the permission of DSA. Running servers of any sort (this includes IRC bots) without prior permission from DSA is also forbidden. Avoid running processes that are abusive in CPU or memory. If necessary DSA will clean up such processes without warning.
    WWW pages:
    In general, web space on Debian machines is provided for the purpose of communicating ideas and files related to the project, or to the Free Software community in general. Private 'vanity' pages on Debian machines are discouraged.

    Commercial web pages are not permitted.

    You are responsible for the content of your WWW pages, including obtaining the legal permission for any works they include and ensuring that the contents of these pages do not violate the laws that apply to the location of the server.

    You are responsible for and accept responsibility for any defamatory, confidential, secret or other proprietary material available via your WWW pages.

    You may not advertise your WWW pages, or cause another person to advertise it, by techniques that would be classified as abuse if they were carried out from a Debian Account. This includes, but is not limited to, bulk emailing and excessive news posting. Such action may be treated under the appropriate DMUP as if it had been done from the Account, or as a violation of this DMUP or both.

    Using Debian machines for reading mail is OK, please choose a lightly loaded machine. We do not support the use of mail download methods such as POP or IMAP, use your ISP's mail server and forwarding. As with web pages incoming mail is generally encouraged to be of a Free Software nature or related to the project somehow. DSA may find it necessary to compress, relocate or erase mail without warning.

    If a Developer becomes unreachable for a prolonged time, their accounts, data and mail forwarding/filtering/etc may be disabled until they reappear.

    Don't use Debian facilities in a manner which constitutes net abuse. Debian does not have any Usenet news servers. It may be that some of the Debian machines have access to such a news server, but their use through Debian machines is strictly forbidden.

    Examples of what DSA considers net abuse:

    • Chain Letters and Ponzi Pyramid-Selling Schemes
      Such messages work (or rather, don't work) in much the same way as their paper-based cousins. The most common example of this in email is MAKE-MONEY-FAST. In addition to being a waste of resources, such messages are illegal in certain countries.
    • Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE)
      Unsolicited Commercial Email is advertising material received by email without the recipient either requesting such information or otherwise expressing an interest in the material advertised.

      Since many Internet users use a dial-up connection and pay for their online time, it costs them money to receive email. Receipt of unsolicited commercial advertising therefore costs them money and is particularly unwelcome.

      It should be noted that a user has not expressed an interest by the mere act of posting a news article in any particular newsgroup, unless of course they have made a specific request for information to be emailed to them.

    • Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE)
      Similar to the above UCE but not attempting to sell anything. Its sole purpose is usually to annoy.
    • Forged headers and / or Addresses
      Forging headers or messages means sending mail such that its origin appears to be another user or machine, or a non-existent machine.

      It is also forgery to arrange for any replies to the mail to be sent to some other user or machine.

      However, in either case, if prior permission has been granted to you by the other user or the administrators of the other machine, then there is no problem, and of course "null" reverse paths can be used as defined in the relevant RFCs.

    • Mail Bombing
      Mail bombing is the sending of multiple emails, or one large email, with the sole intent of annoying and / or seeking revenge on a fellow Internet user. It is wasteful of shared Internet resource as well as serving no value to the recipient.

      Due to the time taken to download it, sending long email to sites without prior agreement can amount to denial of service, or access to email at the receiving site. Note that if binary attachments are added to mail this may increase the size considerably. If prior arrangement has not been made, the mail will be extremely unwelcome.

    • Denial of Service attacks
      Denial of Service is any activity designed to prevent a specific host on the Internet making full and effective use of their facilities. This includes, but is not limited to:
      • Mail bombing an address in such a way to make their Internet access impossible, difficult, or costly.
      • Opening an excessive number of mail connections to the same host.
      • Intentionally sending email designed to damage the receiver's systems when interpreted; for example, sending malicious programs or viruses attached to an email.
      • Using a smarthost or SMTP relay without authorization to do so.
    • Mailing List Subscriptions
      You must not subscribe anyone, other than a user on your own host, to a mail list or similar service without their permission.
    • Illegal Content
      You must not send via email any item which it is illegal to send or possess.
    • Breach of Copyright or Intellectual Property
      You must not send (via email) or post Copyright material or Intellectual Property unless you have permission to do so.
    • Binary Postings to non-Binary Groups
      Outside of the alt.binaries... and newsgroup hierarchies, the posting of encoded binary data is considered most unwelcome. The majority of Usenet sites and readers do not have the capability for selective transmission of articles (kill-filing) and such posts can result in a significant amount of resources being tied up and wasted in the transmission process, and as such can be considered as a denial of service attack on multiple recipients. [Example]
    • Excessive Cross-Posting
      Simply put, this form of unacceptable behavior occurs when the same article is cross-posted to a large number of unrelated newsgroups.
    • Excessive Multi-Posting
      Simply put, this form of unacceptable behavior occurs when a substantively similar (perhaps differing only in Subject header) article is posted to a large number of unrelated newsgroups.