Ubuntu (Non-)Collaboration

Today I discovered on Debian’s Package Tracking System that Ubuntu has patched my Netatalk package. The patch seems to be rather useful (start cnid_metad in init if the user requests it). I just wonder why it was never submitted directly to me. Isn’t it easier just to take the upstream message than to (re-)sync every time I release a new version?

Below are relevant comments from my old blog system:

Ubuntu mass-submits patches

by Sami Dalouche


I’m not 100% sure, but I think that Ubuntu massively sends patches when a new version is released…

Any confirmation ?

Not as far as I know

by Chris Cunningham

Canonical specifically request that work is sent upstream because it reduces the workload for their employees. Launchpad is meant to make this a straightforward process. I’m sure it wasn’t malicious, although you could always find out by asking directly.

– Chris

“Ubuntu” as an entity.

by Jeff Bailey


Remember that “Ubuntu” isn’t an entity, it’s a project of people – some of whom work for Canonical.

Canonical employees (of which I am one) are expected to submit fixes that we do to packages back to Debian. Others who work on Ubuntu (community volunteers, people paid by companies other than Canonical) are requested to do so, but are not forced.

“netatalk” is in universe, which is a section of the distribution worked on pretty much entirely by community members.

I hope that helps! Feel free to email me if you have specific questions.


Jeff Bailey

by Zak B. Elep

Hi jroger! 🙂

I was the last one to merge in the previous Ubuntu changes to your package. It (the patch) was already in Breezy courtesy of Ante Karamatic (ivoks), and I remerged it again to your last two versions of netatalk.

I was intending to inform you the soonest about this change, but my school (and non-Ubuntu) work has been my concern in the past few weeks, and, as I see that the PTS already has a link to Scott’s patch repository, I felt that I should leave it to you whether to merge in the changes or not, since it is your prerogative to do so, being netatalk’s maintainer.

Perhaps a better improvement for the PTS interacting with the Ubuntu archive would be automatic notification when Ubuntu changes are committed. I myself would like this, since I maintain/adopt some Debian packages myself, and it would be a great convenience for me if someone else looks at my package(s) in Ubuntu and makes changes without having to contact me first.

I hope that helps 🙂 If you have some questions, just look for me on freenode 🙂



by Sebastian Rittau

Thanks to everybody who has responded. I am aware that Ubuntu consists of many maintainers, and not all are working for Canonical. I would really like some automatic system that forwards (new) Ubuntu patches to Debian maintainers. The integration of Scott’s repository into the PTS is a great first step. I just probably just check the PTS more often. 🙂 


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