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Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of questions that are frequently asked by new contributors on #ubuntu-motu and the ubuntu-motu and ubuntu-motu-mentors mailing lists. If you don't find an answer to your question here, please add it along with the answer when you find out.
I want to help out Ubuntu MOTU and learn packaging, where do I start?
Take a look at [wiki:MOTU/Contributing MOTU/Contributing], [https://help.ubuntu.com/6.10/ubuntu/packagingguide/C/index.html the Packaging Guide] and generally acquaint yourself with the documentation under [wiki:MOTU MOTU].
How do I get a mentor?
Read the information about finding a guide at [wiki:MOTU/Mentoring/Contributor MOTU/Mentoring/Contributor]. You can also subscribe to the ubuntu-motu-mentors mailing list and join #ubuntu-motu on freenode for guidance.
I want to maintain a package
Here's what it means if a package has your name and mail address in the Maintainer: field in debian/control:
- You will take care of the package's bugs. It makes sense if you are bug contact for that package in Launchpad.
- You will liaise with upstream.
- You track what's going on upstream.
- You will try to build a good communication to the upstream developers.
- You will find out how to fix bugs appropriately. Uploading new upstream versions is just not enough. (Think of fixes in stable releases.)
How do I get my changed package into Universe/Multiverse?
Via the SponsorshipProcess
NOTE : If it's important enough to be shipped in the stable distro, read StableReleaseUpdates.
What version number should my package have?
Ubuntu and Debian have slightly different package versioning schemes, for an explanation see https://help.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/packagingguide/C/basic-scratch.html#id2577623
Should my package have -0ubuntu1 appended to the end of the version number?
If the package is being newly packaged for Ubuntu and hasn't come from Debian then the Debian revision number should be 0 and the Ubuntu revision should be 1, so in that situation it would be -0ubuntu1. See the previous question for details.
How can I make multiple pbuilders? How can I make a pbuilder for <release name>?
You can read about setting up pbuilder (a system to easily build packages in a clean chroot environment) at http://wiki.ubuntu.com/PbuilderHowto or you can use these [http://revu.tauware.de/~laserjock/ scripts] to automate the process (just name the script pbuilder-releasename).
What options do I need for debuild to make a source package including tar.gz?
debuild -S -sa
Upstream already provided a debian-dir in the orig.tar.gz, what now?
- Always ask upstream kindly to remove it.
- At your option (if you need to remove a file from the upstream debian-dir you will need to remove the upstream debian-dir from orig.tar.gz):
- Remove it from the tarball, renaming the tarball while doing so. Example: foo_0.2.orig.tar.gz would then be foo_0.2repacked1.orig.tar.gz.
- Just modify the package as usual.
I need to fix a bug in the upstream provided source, modify the source or add a patch?
- If the package already has a packaging system, make a patch and add it.
- If the package does not have a packaging system and the patch is small, you can modify the source. It is an Ubuntu goal to keep diffs with Debian small and so if modifying the source makes a smaller diff than adding a patch system you should generally modify the source.
- If your package uses cdbs, you ought to consider using simple-patchsys and use cdbs-edit-patch to make your patch in any case.
See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MOTU/School/PatchingSources for more information on patching
What does XSBC-Original-Maintainer mean?
When a package is changed in Ubuntu, the Maintainer field (in debian/control) is changed to indicate the Ubuntu team responsible for the Ubuntu specific changes (often "Ubuntu MOTU Developers <firstname.lastname@example.org>" for universe packages). In order to ensure appropriate credit for the packaging work, the original maintainer is preserved in a new field: XSBC-Original-Maintainer. This is a user-defined field (X) which is included in the .dsc file for the source package (S), the .deb file for the binary package (B), and the .changes file (C).
When the Maintainer field is adjusted, the value of XSBC-Original-Maintainer should exactly match the previous value of Maintainer.
Which license should I release the packaging under?
Ideally, under the closest possible license to that of the original software. "Packaging" includes patches made by the packager, and thus is considered a derivative work. Using the same license means that the patches can be easily incorporated upstream.
Which GPL/LGPL versions are compatible with each other?
Generally, as a rule of thumb, "GPLvX and above" is compatible with GPLvX, GPLvX+1, "GPLvX+1 and above" etc., but the aggregate will be subject to their common subset: for example, "GPLv2 and above" code aggregated with GPLv2 (GPLv3) software can only be distributed under GPLv2 (GPLv3, respectively).
LGPL libraries can be linked with just about anything, but if LGPL code is to be incorporated into a GPL work, it will have to be converted to the corresponding GPL version (LGPLv2.1 to GPLv2, LGPLv3 to GPLv3).
The FSF has a compatibility table at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#AllCompatibility.