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The Debian GNU/Linux project has announced that it will be welcoming as full project members those who make a contribution other than packaging applications.


The project, which is now in its 18th year, has allowed its account managers to permit this for some time but the procedure has not been used often.

The new Debian project leader Stefano Zacchiroli recently proposed a general resolution on these lines to make it plain that the entire project welcomed and recognised those who make contributions other than packaging.

While the general resolution has met with broad support, there is some debate continuing over what such contributors would be called and what kinds of upload rights they should be granted.

Debian has a fairly stringent process for those who want to join the project; the end result is that while the flow of new blood into the project has not been as high as some other projects, the quality of the distribution has been maintained.

The move to welcome non-packaging contributions is in keeping with trends over the last couple of years where many people have called for contributions other than code to be recognised as making a meaningful contribution to a free software project.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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