Divide and conquer of package maintenance

The Debian Project is an association of individuals who share the intention to create the best possible free operating system. This operating system that which is created is called Debian GNU/Linux, or simply Debian for short. Everybody in the internet may initiate a site and offer packages for the installation in Debian. A local administrator has to decide, if this public source may be trusted.

For Free Software development to work it requires a critical mass of supporters. Development without feedback prior to the submission of the final product is disadvantageous. The development of programs is not the main concern of a regular Linux Distribution. However, with the focus on Free Software and smooth local compilation, Debian considerably eases the contribution of comments and concise feedback of the technically skilled early adopters. Debian such helps to bring developers and users of applications together.

Figure 1: Debian web of trust
Image earthkeyring Image earthkeyring

All members of the Debian project are connected in a web of trust, which is woven by signing GnuPG (www.gnupg.org) keys1. A central requirement to become a member of the Debian project is to have one's GPG key signed by an already accepted member of the Debian community. When Debian developers first meet in person, they sign each other's keys. Thus, the web of trust is woven.

Debian does its best to have every member profit of somebody else's work as quickly as possible.

Andreas Tille 2005-05-13