2. Packaging

2.1. Newcomer guidelines

Newcomers may try to start off with a debian/ directory and move files around until they have a working binary .deb. This sort of package will never enter the official Debian archives however. The only way to get your package into the Debian archives is through a proper source package that complies with Debian Policy. See the Debian New Maintainers Guide for help on getting started with packaging. You may also find our salsa script useful for configuring new repositories if you have an account on salsa.debian.org.

2.2. Announcing intention to package

If the package you would like to work on is new to Debian, you should announce your intention to create the package. You do this by filing a WNPP bug report. Please add an X-Debbugs-CC header pointing to the Debian Hamradio Maintainers mailing list when you submit the bug.

2.3. Team Policy

It will be expected that you have read the Debian Policy, Developers Reference and the New Maintainers Guide.

In order to harmonise the packages within the Debian Hamradio Maintainers team, please adhere to the following additional team policy:

2.3.1. debian/control

The following considerations should be made when creating or modifying a package’s control file.


Should be hamradio for the source package in most cases. In some cases science will be more appropriate.


Should be optional unless forbidden by the Debian Policy (see §2.5).


Maintainer should be Debian Hamradio Maintainers <debian-hams@lists.debian.org>. Please subscribe to this list if you list yourself in the Uploaders: field of one of the team’s packages.


Please add yourself as an uploader when you have a significant interest in a package. Being Uploader means that you are expected to be responsive to bug reports and act as a primary contact for the package. For more occasional works, you can do a team upload. There must be at least one named person in the Uploaders field for each team package.


Please always use the latest unless there are concerns for backporting. If no changes are needed, please indicate this fact in the changelog, and increment the value of the field.


Should be documented whenever possible.


Please use the following template when using the team’s Git repositories on Salsa:

Vcs-Browser: https://salsa.debian.org/debian-hamradio-team/<pkg>
Vcs-Git: https://salsa.debian.org/debian-hamradio-team/<pkg>.git

It is a good idea to check the syntax of the control file with Config::Model. This tool is also capable of reformatting the control file to a unified format (although the reformatting currently appears to only work if there are errors in the file to be fixed).

sudo apt-get install cme libconfig-model-dpkg-perl libconfig-model-itself-perl
cme check dpkg-control # checks the control file syntax
cme fix dpkg-control # fixes errors if possible

2.3.3. debian/changelog

Packages hosted in our Git repositories on Alioth that have been modified but not uploaded must use UNRELEASED as a distribution name. QA tools will use this to identify packages that are being worked on but for which uploads are not yet ready.

2.3.4. debian/README.source

This file is recommended by the Policy (§4.14) from version 3.8.0 for documenting source package handling. Please follow the recommendation.

2.3.5. debian/README.test

This file was recommended by the Security team for describing to others than the regular maintainer how the package’s functionality can properly be tested. If it is not obvious how to test the functionality of your package, please consider including this file.

2.3.6. debian/source/format

This file should contain “3.0 (quilt)” in order to use this source format. Other formats should be avoided unless they bring a specific advantage.

2.3.7. Debhelper

Debhelper uses compatibility levels to control the behaviour of its commands. We currently recommend to use the level 13 which is available in both stable (bullseye) and as a backport in oldstable (buster). However, there is no urgent need to touch packages only because it has an older Debhelper version.

It is strongly recommended to use the short dh notation in debian/rules files which makes code factorisation very simple and easy to understand the packaging for other members of the team. Even complex packaging becomes quite transparent this way.

2.3.8. Team Uploads

If you have contacted the uploaders listed for a package and they are unresponsive, or if you have been asked by the uploaders to perform a team upload, you may perform an upload without adding yourself to the uploaders field. Team uploads are distinguished from NMUs by adding “* Team upload” as the first changelog entry, and this is supported by debchange (–team).

For more information about team uploads, you can see the page about team uploads <https://wiki.debian.org/TeamUpload> on the Wiki.

2.3.9. /var/ax25

Many packet radio applications use /var/ax25 as a location for storing operational state. This directory is not listed in the filesystem hierarchy standard but this has been the directory used in Debian for decades and so has become a de-facto standard. Unless the Debian technical committee decide otherwise (no one has asked at the time of writing) use /var/ax25 in preference to /var/lib/ax25. The team will consider use of /var/lib/ax25 as a bug in Debian packages.