Revision 2 as of 2005-07-31 08:55:53

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Draft: How mentorship could be handled in Ubuntu


someone who is allowed to upload packages (equivalent: Debian Developer)
Applicant/Package Maintainer/Uploader/Contributor
  • someone who wishes to become a Committer (or perhaps just someone who is happy to have a sponsor for uploading packages)
  • someone who has a solid knowledge of how Debian/Ubuntu works and guides applicants in maintaining their packages Tasks:
  • improve packaging skills of their applicants
  • procure the Code of Conduct
  • make sure the applicant is motivated and does not do it for becoming famous
  • decide when the applicant is ready to become a committer himself/herself and shall be promoted
  • proposes applicants to the technical board
  • an upload of a mentor on behalf of an applicant


Mentors decide which kind of packages they sponsor (depending on their skills)

  • Not every mentor is skilled in all programming languages or types of package. Some know a lot about libraries, other do kernel patches/modules, some are experienced C++ programmers etc. So don't just assign packages to mentors but let the mentors choose.

Let applicants upload themselves

  • Applicants should be allowed to upload their packages themselves. (In Debian applicants need to get their packages to the sponsors 'somehow' - that's why was founded because there is no easy way to get packages to the sponsors.) These packages would be stored in a special pool so they don't enter the distribution.

Help advertising new (first-time uploaded) packages

  • If a package was uploaded for the very first time it should get displayed on a web page like 'these packages need a sponsor'.

    This could look like the main page at New uploads should also be automatically announced on a mailing list like ubuntu-mentors-newuploads@l.u.c, too. Sponsors could then decide to 'confirm' the upload if everything looks right or 'reject' it with a few helpful notes mailed to the applicant. These could just be buttons/links in a web interface that are available for registered sponsors/committers.

Track packages that did not get attention after some time (a week?)

  • If packages stay in the pool for too long someone from Canonical could perhaps take a look what's wrong.

Packages should be checked automatically

  • New uploads should be checked by linda and lintian automatically. If any of the tools give warnings then the package should stay in the pool but an email should be mailed back to the uploader so they can perhaps fix that. If a tool reports an error the package should be rejected and the uploader be informed about the reason.

Try to fix sponsor/applicant relationships

  • Once a sponsor has agreed to sponsor a certain package this relationship should be fixed. That means that subsequent uploads of the package would address the same sponsor again. This could be done by having the uploader add a field to debian/control like

    "Sponsor: Bill Gates <>". Uploads would then not be displayed on the 'these packages need a sponsor' page nor announced on the mailing list but the sponsor is mailed directly.

Newer packages in the queue override old package versions

  • If an applicant decides he/she wants to do changes to a package (perhaps after they received a lintian warning they would like to fix) after it has been uploaded he/she could just upload the newer version. Older versions would get removed automatically.

To be decided

Allow uploads for people who don't intend to become committers?

  1. No, everybody who is serious about providing packages for Ubuntu should consider becoming a committer.
  2. Yes, allow a permament sponsorship through a mentor/sponsor.

Should subsequent uploads/updates be accepted automatically even from applicants?

  1. No, every upload needs to be confirmed by the sponsor.
  2. Yes, only first-time uploads are reviewed.

To Do

  1. Create a new package pool for sponsored uploads (no limitations to certain people).
    • Features:
      • new versions of the same package remove old packages
      • new uploads get announced to the mailing list
      • subsequent uploads get announced to the sponsor only
      • automatic linda/lintian checks
  2. Create a mailing list ubuntu-mentors@ for general questions. Sponsors, applicants and other interested people should subscribe here.
  3. Create a mailing list ubuntu-mentors-newuploads@ for automatically announcing new uploads. Sponsors should be subscribed here.
  4. Create a web interface for displaying new packages currently in the upload queue. Options (for committers): confirm or reject (with reason = textfield).