4. Resources for Debian Members

In this chapter you will find a very brief roadmap of the Debian mailing lists, the Debian machines which may be available to you as a member, and all the other resources that are available to help you in your work.

4.1. Mailing lists

Much of the conversation between Debian developers (and users) is managed through a wide array of mailing lists we host at lists.debian.org. To find out more on how to subscribe or unsubscribe, how to post and how not to post, where to find old posts and how to search them, how to contact the list maintainers and see various other information about the mailing lists, please read https://www.debian.org/MailingLists/. This section will only cover aspects of mailing lists that are of particular interest to developers.

4.1.1. Basic rules for use

When replying to messages on the mailing list, please do not send a carbon copy (CC) to the original poster unless they explicitly request to be copied. Anyone who posts to a mailing list should read it to see the responses.

Cross-posting (sending the same message to multiple lists) is discouraged. As ever on the net, please trim down the quoting of articles you're replying to. In general, please adhere to the usual conventions for posting messages.

Please read the code of conduct for more information. The Debian Community Guidelines are also worth reading.

4.1.2. Core development mailing lists

The core Debian mailing lists that developers should use are:

  • debian-devel-announce@lists.debian.org, used to announce important things to developers. All developers are expected to be subscribed to this list.

  • debian-devel@lists.debian.org, used to discuss various development related technical issues.

  • debian-policy@lists.debian.org, where the Debian Policy is discussed and voted on.

  • debian-project@lists.debian.org, used to discuss various non-technical issues related to the project.

There are other mailing lists available for a variety of special topics; see https://lists.debian.org/ for a list.

4.1.3. Special lists

debian-private@lists.debian.org is a special mailing list for private discussions amongst Debian developers. It is meant to be used for posts which for whatever reason should not be published publicly. As such, it is a low volume list, and users are urged not to use debian-private@lists.debian.org unless it is really necessary. Moreover, do not forward email from that list to anyone. Archives of this list are not available on the web for obvious reasons, but you can see them using your shell account on master.debian.org and looking in the ~debian/archive/debian-private/ directory.

debian-email@lists.debian.org is a special mailing list used as a grab-bag for Debian related correspondence such as contacting upstream authors about licenses, bugs, etc. or discussing the project with others where it might be useful to have the discussion archived somewhere.

4.2. IRC channels

Several IRC channels are dedicated to Debian's development. They are mainly hosted on the Open and free technology community (OFTC) network. The irc.debian.org DNS entry is an alias to irc.oftc.net.

The main channel for Debian in general is #debian. This is a large, general-purpose channel where users can find recent news in the topic and served by bots. #debian is for English speakers; there are also #debian.de, #debian-fr, #debian-br and other similarly named channels for speakers of other languages.

The main channel for Debian development is #debian-devel. It is a very active channel; it will typically have a minimum of 150 people at any time of day. It's a channel for people who work on Debian, it's not a support channel (there's #debian for that). It is however open to anyone who wants to lurk (and learn). Its topic is commonly full of interesting information for developers.

Since #debian-devel is an open channel, you should not speak there of issues that are discussed in debian-private@lists.debian.org. There's another channel for this purpose, it's called #debian-private and it's protected by a key. This key is available at master.debian.org:~debian/misc/irc-password.

There are other additional channels dedicated to specific subjects. #debian-bugs is used for coordinating bug squashing parties. #debian-boot is used to coordinate the work on the debian-installer. #debian-doc is occasionally used to talk about documentation, like the document you are reading. Other channels are dedicated to an architecture or a set of packages: #debian-kde, #debian-dpkg, #debian-perl, #debian-python...

Some non-English developers' channels exist as well, for example #debian-devel-fr for French speaking people interested in Debian's development.

Channels dedicated to Debian also exist on other IRC networks.

4.3. Documentation

This document contains a lot of information which is useful to Debian developers, but it cannot contain everything. Most of the other interesting documents are linked from The Developers' Corner. Take the time to browse all the links; you will learn many more things.

4.4. Debian machines

Debian has several computers working as servers, most of which serve critical functions in the Debian project. Most of the machines are used for porting activities, and they all have a permanent connection to the Internet.

Some of the machines are available for individual developers to use, as long as the developers follow the rules set forth in the Debian Machine Usage Policies.

Generally speaking, you can use these machines for Debian-related purposes as you see fit. Please be kind to system administrators, and do not use up tons and tons of disk space, network bandwidth, or CPU without first getting the approval of the system administrators. Usually these machines are run by volunteers.

Please take care to protect your Debian passwords and SSH keys installed on Debian machines. Avoid login or upload methods which send passwords over the Internet in the clear, such as Telnet, FTP, POP etc.

Please do not put any material that doesn't relate to Debian on the Debian servers, unless you have prior permission.

The current list of Debian machines is available at https://db.debian.org/machines.cgi. That web page contains machine names, contact information, information about who can log in, SSH keys etc.

If you have a problem with the operation of a Debian server, and you think that the system operators need to be notified of this problem, you can check the list of open issues in the DSA (Debian System Administration) Team's queue of our request tracker at https://rt.debian.org/ (you can login with user "debian", its password is available at master.debian.org:~debian/misc/rt-password). To report a new problem in the request tracker, simply send a mail to admin@rt.debian.org and make sure to put the string "Debian RT" somewhere in the subject. To contact the DSA team by email, use dsa@debian.org for anything that contains private or privileged information and should not be made public, and debian-admin@lists.debian.org otherwise. The DSA team is also present on the #debian-admin IRC channel on OFTC.

If you have a problem with a certain service, not related to the system administration (such as packages to be removed from the archive, suggestions for the web site, etc.), generally you'll report a bug against a pseudo-package. See Bug reporting for information on how to submit bugs.

Some of the core servers are restricted, but the information from there is mirrored to another server.

4.4.1. The bugs server

bugs.debian.org is the canonical location for the Bug Tracking System (BTS).

If you plan on doing some statistical analysis or processing of Debian bugs, this would be the place to do it. Please describe your plans on debian-devel@lists.debian.org before implementing anything, however, to reduce unnecessary duplication of effort or wasted processing time.

4.4.2. The ftp-master server

The ftp-master.debian.org server holds the canonical copy of the Debian archive. Generally, packages uploaded to ftp.upload.debian.org end up on this server; see Uploading a package.

It is restricted; a mirror is available on mirror.ftp-master.debian.org.

Problems with the Debian FTP archive generally need to be reported as bugs against the ftp.debian.org pseudo-package or an email to ftpmaster@debian.org, but also see the procedures in Moving, removing, renaming, orphaning, adopting, and reintroducing packages.

4.4.3. The www-master server

The main web server is www-master.debian.org. It holds the official web pages, the face of Debian for most newbies.

If you find a problem with the Debian web server, you should generally submit a bug against the pseudo-package www.debian.org. Remember to check whether or not someone else has already reported the problem to the Bug Tracking System.

4.4.4. The people web server

people.debian.org is the server used for developers' own web pages about anything related to Debian.

If you have some Debian-specific information which you want to serve on the web, you can do this by putting material in the public_html directory under your home directory on people.debian.org. This will be accessible at the URL https://people.debian.org/~your-user-id/.

You should only use this particular location because it will be backed up, whereas on other hosts it won't.

Usually the only reason to use a different host is when you need to publish materials subject to the U.S. export restrictions, in which case you can use one of the other servers located outside the United States.

Send mail to debian-devel@lists.debian.org if you have any questions.

4.4.5. salsa.debian.org: Git repositories and collaborative development platform

If you want to use a git repository for any of your Debian work, you can use Debian's GitLab instance called Salsa for that purpose. Gitlab provides also the possibility to have merge requests, wiki pages, bug trackers among many other services as well as a fine-grained tuning of access permission, to help working on projects collaboratively.

For more information, please see the documentation at https://wiki.debian.org/Salsa/Doc.

4.4.6. GitHub.com: Submitting pull requests to upstream repositories

If some upstream repository is hosted on GitHub.com, you can use the Debian organization to create repository forks and submit changed branches with pull requests to upstream maintainers.

The organization is open to all Debian Members. To request membership, open an issue in the Debian/.github meta repository.

4.4.7. chroots to different distributions

On some machines, there are chroots to different distributions available. You can use them like this:

vore$ dchroot unstable
Executing shell in chroot: /org/vore.debian.org/chroots/user/unstable

In all chroots, the normal user home directories are available. You can find out which chroots are available via https://db.debian.org/machines.cgi.

4.5. The Developers Database

The Developers Database, at https://db.debian.org/, is an LDAP directory for managing Debian developer attributes. You can use this resource to search the list of Debian developers. Part of this information is also available through the finger service on Debian servers; try finger yourlogin@db.debian.org to see what it reports.

Developers can log into the database to change various information about themselves, such as:

  • forwarding address for your debian.org email as well as spam handling. See https://db.debian.org/forward.html for a description of all the options.

  • subscription to debian-private

  • whether you are on vacation

  • personal information such as your address, country, the latitude and longitude of the place where you live for use in the world map of Debian developers, phone and fax numbers, IRC nickname and web page

  • password and preferred shell on Debian Project machines

Most of the information is not accessible to the public, naturally. For more information please read the online documentation that you can find at https://db.debian.org/doc-general.html.

Developers can also submit their SSH keys to be used for authorization on the official Debian machines, and even add new *.debian.net DNS entries. Those features are documented at https://db.debian.org/doc-mail.html.

4.6. The Debian archive

The Debian distribution consists of a lot of packages (currently around 30000 source packages) and a few additional files (such as documentation and installation disk images).

Here is an example directory tree of a complete Debian archive:








As you can see, the top-level directory contains two directories, dists/ and pool/. The latter is a “pool” in which the packages actually are, and which is handled by the archive maintenance database and the accompanying programs. The former contains the distributions, stable, testing and unstable. The Packages and Sources files in the distribution subdirectories can reference files in the pool/ directory. The directory tree below each of the distributions is arranged in an identical manner. What we describe below for stable is equally applicable to the unstable and testing distributions.

dists/stable contains four directories, namely main, contrib, non-free and non-free-firmware.

In each of the areas, there is a directory for the source packages (source) and a directory for each supported architecture (binary-i386, binary-amd64, etc.).

The main area contains additional directories which hold the disk images and some essential pieces of documentation required for installing the Debian distribution on a specific architecture (disks-i386, disks-amd64, etc.).

4.6.1. Sections

The main section of the Debian archive is what makes up the official Debian distribution. The main section is official because it fully complies with all our guidelines. The other two sections do not, to different degrees; as such, they are not officially part of Debian.

Every package in the main section must fully comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) and with all other policy requirements as described in the Debian Policy Manual. The DFSG is our definition of “free software.” Check out the Debian Policy Manual for details.

Packages in the contrib section have to comply with the DFSG, but may fail other requirements. For instance, they may depend on non-free packages.

Packages which do not conform to the DFSG are placed in the non-free or non-free-firmware sections. These packages are not considered as part of the Debian distribution, though we enable their use, and we provide infrastructure (such as our bug-tracking system and mailing lists) for these non-free software packages.

The Debian Policy Manual contains a more exact definition of the four sections. The above discussion is just an introduction.

The separation of the four sections at the top-level of the archive is important for all people who want to distribute Debian, either via FTP servers on the Internet or on CD-ROMs: by distributing only the main and contrib sections, one can avoid any legal risks. Some packages in the non-free section do not allow commercial distribution, for example.

On the other hand, a CD-ROM vendor could easily check the individual package licenses of the packages in non-free and include as many on the CD-ROMs as it's allowed to. (Since this varies greatly from vendor to vendor, this job can't be done by the Debian developers.)

Note that the term section is also used to refer to categories which simplify the organization and browsing of available packages: admin, net, utils, etc. Once upon a time, these sections (subsections, rather) existed in the form of subdirectories within the Debian archive. Nowadays, these exist only in the Section header fields of packages.

4.6.2. Architectures

In the first days, the Linux kernel was only available for Intel i386 (or greater) platforms, and so was Debian. But as Linux became more and more popular, the kernel was ported to other architectures and Debian started to support them. And as if supporting so much hardware was not enough, Debian decided to build some ports based on other Unix kernels, like hurd and kfreebsd.

Debian GNU/Linux 1.3 was only available as i386. Debian 2.0 shipped for i386 and m68k architectures. Debian 2.1 shipped for the i386, m68k, alpha, and sparc architectures. Since then Debian has grown hugely. Debian 9 supports a total of ten Linux architectures (amd64, arm64, armel, armhf, i386, mips, mips64el, mipsel, ppc64el, and s390x) and two kFreeBSD architectures (kfreebsd-i386 and kfreebsd-amd64).

Information for developers and users about the specific ports are available at the Debian Ports web pages.

4.6.3. Packages

There are two types of Debian packages, namely source and binary packages.

Depending on the format of the source package, it will consist of one or more files in addition to the mandatory .dsc file:

  • with format “1.0”, it has either a .tar.gz file or both an .orig.tar.gz and a .diff.gz file;

  • with format “3.0 (quilt)”, it has a mandatory .orig.tar.{gz,bz2,xz} upstream tarball, multiple optional .orig-component.tar.{gz,bz2,xz} additional upstream tarballs and a mandatory debian.tar.{gz,bz2,xz} debian tarball;

  • with format “3.0 (native)”, it has only a single .tar.{gz,bz2,xz} tarball.

If a package is developed specially for Debian and is not distributed outside of Debian, there is just one .tar.{gz,bz2,xz} file, which contains the sources of the program; it's called a “native” source package. If a package is distributed elsewhere too, the .orig.tar.{gz,bz2,xz} file stores the so-called upstream source code, that is the source code that's distributed by the upstream maintainer (often the author of the software). In this case, the .diff.gz or the debian.tar.{gz,bz2,xz} contains the changes made by the Debian maintainer.

The .dsc file lists all the files in the source package together with checksums (md5sums, sha1sums, sha256sums) and some additional info about the package (maintainer, version, etc.).

4.6.4. Distributions

The directory system described in the previous chapter is itself contained within distribution directories. Each distribution is actually contained in the pool directory in the top level of the Debian archive itself.

To summarize, the Debian archive has a root directory within a mirror site. For instance, at the mirror site ftp.us.debian.org the Debian archive itself is contained in /debian, which is a common location (another is /pub/debian).

A distribution comprises Debian source and binary packages, and the respective Sources and Packages index files, containing the header information from all those packages. The former are kept in the pool/ directory, while the latter are kept in the dists/ directory of the archive (for backwards compatibility). Stable, testing, and unstable

There are always distributions called stable (residing in dists/stable), testing (residing in dists/testing), and unstable (residing in dists/unstable). This reflects the development process of the Debian project.

Active development is done in the unstable distribution (that's why this distribution is sometimes called the development distribution). Every Debian developer can update their packages in this distribution at any time. Thus, the contents of this distribution change from day to day. Since no special effort is made to make sure everything in this distribution is working properly, it is sometimes literally unstable.

The testing distribution is generated automatically by taking packages from unstable if they satisfy certain criteria. Those criteria should ensure a good quality for packages within testing. The update to testing is launched twice each day, right after the new packages have been installed. See The testing distribution.

After a period of development, once the release manager deems fit, the testing distribution is frozen, meaning that the policies which control how packages move from unstable to testing are tightened. Packages which are too buggy are removed. No changes are allowed into testing except for bug fixes. After some time has elapsed, depending on progress, the testing distribution is frozen even further. Details of the handling of the testing distribution are published by the Release Team on debian-devel-announce. After the open issues are solved to the satisfaction of the Release Team, the distribution is released. Releasing means that testing is renamed to stable, and a new copy is created for the new testing, and the previous stable is renamed to oldstable and stays there until it is finally archived. On archiving, the contents are moved to archive.debian.org.

This development cycle is based on the assumption that the unstable distribution becomes stable after passing a period of being in testing. Even once a distribution is considered stable, a few bugs inevitably remain — that's why the stable distribution is updated every now and then. However, these updates are tested very carefully and have to be introduced into the archive individually to reduce the risk of introducing new bugs. You can find proposed additions to stable in the proposed-updates directory. Those packages in proposed-updates that pass muster are periodically moved as a batch into the stable distribution and the revision level of the stable distribution is incremented (e.g., ‘6.0’ becomes ‘6.0.1’, ‘5.0.7’ becomes ‘5.0.8’, and so forth). Please refer to Special case: uploads to the stable and oldstable distributions for details.

Note that development in unstable during the freeze should not be continued as usual, as packages are still build in unstable, before they migrate to testing, thus unstable should only contain packages meant for testing. Thus only upload to unstable during freezes, if you are planning to request an unblock (or if the package is not in testing).

If you want to develop new stuff for after the freeze, upload to experimental instead. More information about the testing distribution

Packages are usually installed into the testing distribution after they have undergone some degree of testing in unstable.

For more details, please see the The testing distribution. Experimental

The experimental distribution is a special distribution. It is not a full distribution in the same sense as stable, testing and unstable are. Instead, it is meant to be a temporary staging area for highly experimental software where there's a good chance that the software could break your system, or software that's just too unstable even for the unstable distribution (but there is a reason to package it nevertheless). Users who download and install packages from experimental are expected to have been duly warned. In short, all bets are off for the experimental distribution.

These are the sources.list 5 lines for experimental:

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ experimental main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian/ experimental main

If there is a chance that the software could do grave damage to a system, it is likely to be better to put it into experimental. For instance, an experimental compressed file system should probably go into experimental.

Whenever there is a new upstream version of a package that introduces new features but breaks a lot of old ones, it should either not be uploaded, or be uploaded to experimental. A new, beta, version of some software which uses a completely different configuration can go into experimental, at the maintainer's discretion. If you are working on an incompatible or complex upgrade situation, you can also use experimental as a staging area, so that testers can get early access.

Some experimental software can still go into unstable, with a few warnings in the description, but that isn't recommended because packages from unstable are expected to propagate to testing and thus to stable. You should not be afraid to use experimental since it does not cause any pain to the ftpmasters, the experimental packages are periodically removed once you upload the package in unstable with a higher version number.

New software which isn't likely to damage your system can go directly into unstable.

An alternative to experimental is to use your personal web space on people.debian.org.

4.6.5. Release code names

Every released Debian distribution has a code name: Debian 10 is called buster; Debian 11, bullseye; Debian 12, bookworm; the next release, Debian 13, will be called trixie and Debian 14 will be called forky. There is also a pseudo-distribution, called sid, which is the current unstable distribution; since packages are moved from unstable to testing as they approach stability, sid itself is never released. As well as the usual contents of a Debian distribution, sid contains packages for architectures which are not yet officially supported or released by Debian. These architectures are planned to be integrated into the mainstream distribution at some future date. The codenames and versions for older releases are listed on the website.

Since Debian has an open development model (i.e., everyone can participate and follow the development) even the unstable and testing distributions are distributed to the Internet through the Debian FTP and HTTP server network. Thus, if we had called the directory which contains the release candidate version testing, then we would have to rename it to stable when the version is released, which would cause all FTP mirrors to re-retrieve the whole distribution (which is quite large).

On the other hand, if we called the distribution directories Debian-x.y from the beginning, people would think that Debian release x.y is available. (This happened in the past, where a CD-ROM vendor built a Debian 1.0 CD-ROM based on a pre-1.0 development version. That's the reason why the first official Debian release was 1.1, and not 1.0.)

Thus, the names of the distribution directories in the archive are determined by their code names and not their release status (e.g., bookworm). These names stay the same during the development period and after the release; symbolic links, which can be changed easily, indicate the currently released stable distribution. That's why the real distribution directories use the code names, while symbolic links for stable, testing, and unstable point to the appropriate release directories.

4.7. Debian mirrors

The various download archives and the web site have several mirrors available in order to relieve our canonical servers from heavy load. In fact, some of the canonical servers aren't public — a first tier of mirrors balances the load instead. That way, users always access the mirrors and get used to using them, which allows Debian to better spread its bandwidth requirements over several servers and networks, and basically makes users avoid hammering on one primary location. Note that the first tier of mirrors is as up-to-date as it can be since they update when triggered from the internal sites (we call this push mirroring).

All the information on Debian mirrors, including a list of the available public FTP/HTTP servers, can be found at https://www.debian.org/mirror/. This useful page also includes information and tools which can be helpful if you are interested in setting up your own mirror, either for internal or public access.

Note that mirrors are generally run by third parties who are interested in helping Debian. As such, developers generally do not have accounts on these machines.

4.8. The Incoming system

The Incoming system is responsible for collecting updated packages and installing them in the Debian archive. It consists of a set of directories and scripts that are installed on ftp-master.debian.org.

Packages are uploaded by all the maintainers into a directory called UploadQueue. This directory is scanned every few minutes by a daemon called queued, *.command-files are executed, and remaining and correctly signed *.changes-files are moved together with their corresponding files to the unchecked directory. This directory is not visible for most Developers, as ftp-master is restricted; it is scanned every 15 minutes by the dak process-upload script, which verifies the integrity of the uploaded packages and their cryptographic signatures. If the package is considered ready to be installed, it is moved into the done directory. If this is the first upload of the package (or it has new binary packages), it is moved to the new directory, where it waits for approval by the ftpmasters. If the package contains files to be installed by hand it is moved to the byhand directory, where it waits for manual installation by the ftpmasters. Otherwise, if any error has been detected, the package is refused and is moved to the reject directory.

Once the package is accepted, the system sends a confirmation mail to the maintainer and closes all the bugs marked as fixed by the upload, and the auto-builders may start recompiling it. The package is now publicly accessible at https://incoming.debian.org/ until it is really installed in the Debian archive. This happens four times a day (and is also called the dinstall run for historical reasons); the package is then removed from incoming and installed in the pool along with all the other packages. Once all the other updates (generating new Packages and Sources index files for example) have been made, a special script is called to ask all the primary mirrors to update themselves.

The archive maintenance software will also send the OpenPGP signed .changes file that you uploaded to the appropriate mailing lists. If a package is released with the Distribution set to stable, the announcement is sent to debian-changes@lists.debian.org. If a package is released with Distribution set to unstable or experimental, the announcement will be posted to debian-devel-changes@lists.debian.org or debian-experimental-changes@lists.debian.org instead.

Though ftp-master is restricted, a copy of the installation is available to all developers on mirror.ftp-master.debian.org.

4.9. Package information

4.9.1. On the web

Each package has several dedicated web pages. https://packages.debian.org/package-name displays each version of the package available in the various distributions. Each version links to a page which provides information, including the package description, the dependencies, and package download links.

The bug tracking system tracks bugs for each package. You can view the bugs of a given package at the URL https://bugs.debian.org/package-name.

4.9.2. The dak ls utility

dak ls is part of the dak suite of tools, listing available package versions for all known distributions and architectures. The dak tool is available on ftp-master.debian.org, and on the mirror on mirror.ftp-master.debian.org. It uses a single argument corresponding to a package name. An example will explain it better:

$ dak ls evince
evince     | 3.22.1-3+deb11u2 | oldstable           | source, amd64, arm64, armel, armhf, i386, mips, mips64el, mipsel, ppc64el, s390x
evince     | 3.22.1-3+deb11u2 | oldstable-debug     | source
evince     | 3.30.2-3+deb12u1 | stable              | source, amd64, arm64, armel, armhf, i386, mips, mips64el, mipsel, ppc64el, s390x
evince     | 3.30.2-3+deb12u1 | stable-debug        | source
evince     | 3.38.2-1         | testing             | source, amd64, arm64, armel, armhf, i386, mips64el, mipsel, ppc64el, s390x
evince     | 3.38.2-1         | unstable            | source, amd64, arm64, armel, armhf, i386, mips64el, mipsel, ppc64el, s390x
evince     | 3.38.2-1         | unstable-debug      | source
evince     | 40.4-1           | buildd-experimental | source, amd64, arm64, armel, armhf, i386, mips64el, mipsel, ppc64el, s390x
evince     | 40.4-1           | experimental        | source, amd64, arm64, armel, armhf, i386, mips64el, mipsel, ppc64el, s390x
evince     | 40.4-1           | experimental-debug  | source

In this example, you can see that the version in unstable differs from the version in testing and that there has been a binary-only NMU of the package for all architectures. Each version of the package has been recompiled on all architectures.

4.10. The Debian Package Tracker

The Debian Package Tracker is an email and web-based tool to track the activity of a source package. You can get the same emails that the package maintainer gets, simply by subscribing to the package in the Debian Package Tracker.

The package tracker has a web interface at https://tracker.debian.org/ that puts together a lot of information about each source package. It features many useful links (BTS, QA stats, contact information, DDTP translation status, buildd logs) and gathers much more information from various places (30 latest changelog entries, testing status, etc.). It's a very useful tool if you want to know what's going on with a specific source package. Furthermore, once authenticated, you can subscribe and unsubscribe from any package with a single click.

You can jump directly to the web page concerning a specific source package with a URL like https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/sourcepackage.

For more in-depth information, you should have a look at its documentation. Among other things, it explains you how to interact with it by email, how to filter the mails that it forwards, how to configure your VCS commit notifications, how to leverage its features for maintainer teams, etc.

4.11. Developer's packages overview

A QA (quality assurance) web portal is available at https://qa.debian.org/developer.php which displays a table listing all the packages of a single developer (including those where the party is listed as a co-maintainer). The table gives a good summary about the developer's packages: number of bugs by severity, list of available versions in each distribution, testing status and much more including links to any other useful information.

It is a good idea to look up your own data regularly so that you don't forget any open bugs, and so that you don't forget which packages are your responsibility.

4.12. Debian's FusionForge installation: Alioth

Until Alioth was deprecated and eventually turned off in June 2018, it was a Debian service based on a slightly modified version of the FusionForge software (which evolved from SourceForge and GForge). This software offered developers access to easy-to-use tools such as bug trackers, patch managers, project/task managers, file hosting services, mailing lists, VCS repositories, etc.

For many previously offered services replacements exist. This is important to know, as there are still many references to alioth which still need fixing. If you encounter such references please take the time to try fixing them, for example by filing bugs or when possible fixing the reference.

4.13. Goodies for Debian Members

Benefits available to Debian Members are documented on https://wiki.debian.org/MemberBenefits.