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Assume I have programmed a cool application and released it as open source. But not many people are using it, as most install their programs through their distribution of choice.

Can I somehow add my program to a distribution, specifically Debian? What have I to do to be accepted?

You can assume Debian in all cases this is different between distributions in your answer. So you can explain this specific to Debian, but I would like it, if it is mentioned which part is general for all/most distributions.

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    It is different for every distribution. For Debian, you might start by reading: debian.org/doc/manuals/maint-guide/start.en.html#socialdynamics – bmargulies Jul 9 '15 at 15:03
  • It would probably be best to make this question only about Debian (and its descendent distributions). It would be more useful to have separate questions about the others. – curiousdannii Jul 10 '15 at 11:42
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    @curiousdannii: I agree. I edit the question to focus more on Debian. – Mnementh Jul 10 '15 at 11:51
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For Debian you can proceed as follows:

  1. Post an Intent to Package (ITP) bug report to the Debian Bug Tracking system (https://www.debian.org/Bugs/). Or if an existing RFP (Request for Packaging) bug report for the software already exists, you can assign it to yourself.
  2. Create the packaging for the software.
  3. Upload the software and the packaging to http://mentors.debian.net/. Wait for a sponsor (a Debian Developer who is interested in uploading your package to Debian) to show up and people (mentors) to critique your packaging. Possibly also post to the debian-mentors mailing list about your package.
  4. Improve your packaging to the point that a sponsor is willing to upload it to the Debian NEW queue. If such a person doesn't show up within a certain period of time, you are out of luck, but can try again later. Note that your package will eventually be automatically removed from http://mentors.debian.net/.
  5. If a sponsor has uploaded it to the Debian NEW queue, wait and see if the FTP masters, who are Debian's gatekeepers, accept or reject your package. If they reject it they will normally give a reason, and you can try to fix the package and resubmit it.

If you happen to know a Debian developer who is willing to upload your package for you, you can skip steps 3 and 4. Note also that the #debian-mentors IRC channel on OFTC is a useful resource for packaging help.

  • This answer is missing at least a link to "Create the packaging" information. How do I go about creating the packaging? – Serge Stroobandt Sep 6 '17 at 9:20
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    @SergeStroobandt Creating the packaging isn't really the topic of the question, but I could add a link. If you have questions about packaging, feel free to stop by the U&L chat room - chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/26/dev-chat. There are a few Debian users among the regulars there. And of course, you can ask on the site. – Faheem Mitha Sep 6 '17 at 9:25
  • @SergeStroobandt Added a link; but really, it's simple enough to do a search. – Faheem Mitha Sep 6 '17 at 9:28
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@FaheemMitha already gave a perfect answer for Debian, but I wanted to add the process for Ubuntu. If a package is included in Debian, it will automatically be included in Ubuntu shortly down the road:

Ubuntu regularly incorporates source packages from Debian, so it is encouraged to upload a package to Debian first to automatically have it in Ubuntu in due time. In addition to that your package will reach a much broader audience if it is in Debian and all of its derivatives.

You are also recommended to file a bug with Ubuntu's LaunchPad to move the process along faster.

Packages that have recently been added to Debian unstable will be automatically synced into Ubuntu prior to the Debian Import Freeze (DIF). After the Debian Import Freeze, you will have to file a bug with the summary field "Please sync from debian " where is the package you would like to see. Find the date for Debian Import Freeze on the release schedule page.

Fedora's process also involves filing a ticket. For CentOS, the process is here and is done primarily through a mailing list.

For OpenSUSE, see this guide.

Amazon does not seem to provide a guide for Amazon Linux, but getting it into CentOS and Fedora should get Amazon to pick it up after a while.

Last but not least, don't forget about FreeBSD (and NetBSD, and OpenBSD)!

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