If you are a somewhat experienced Debian user [1], you may have encountered following situations:

If you wanted to create a Debian package to fulfill these wishes and to share your work with the community, you are the target audience of this guide as a prospective Debian maintainer. [2] Welcome to the Debian community.

Debian has many social and technical rules and conventions to follow since it is a large volunteer organization with history. Debian also has developed a huge array of packaging tools and archive maintenance tools to build consistent sets of binary packages addressing many technical objectives:

These make it somewhat overwhelming for many new prospective Debian maintainers to get involved with Debian. This guide tries to provide entry points for them to get started. It describes the following:

The author felt limitations of updating the original “New Maintainers' Guide” with the dh-make package and decided to create an alternative tool and its matching document to address modern requirements. The result is the debmake (version: 4.4.0) package and this updated “Guide for Debian Maintainers” in the debmake-doc (version: 1.17-7) package.

Many chores and tips have been integrated into the debmake command making this guide simple. This guide also offers many packaging examples.

[Caution] Caution

It takes many hours to properly create and maintain Debian packages. The Debian maintainer must be both technically competent and diligent to take up this challenge.

Some important topics are explained in detail. Some of them may look irrelevant to you. Please be patient. Some corner cases are skipped. Some topics are only covered by the external pointers. These are intentional choices to keep this guide simple and maintainable.

[1] You do need to know a little about Unix programming but you certainly don’t need to be a wizard. You can learn about the basic handling of a Debian system from the Debian Reference. It contains some pointers to learn about Unix programming, too.

[2] If you are not interested in sharing the Debian package, you can certainly work around your local situation by compiling and installing the fixed upstream source package into /usr/local/.