There are more than 300 GNU/Linux distributions that are based on Debian.
The DEX project aims to minimise the technical differences (informally called "delta") between Debian and its derivatives by easing the integration of patches.
This would reduce the work derivatives have to do for their maintenance and also feed back usual changes made by derivatives into the mother project.
Debian leader Stefano Zacchiroli said DEX perfectly fit in the context of the Derivatives Front Desk and was not specific to any derivative.
The Front Desk helps developers of Debian derivative distributions to contribute their changes back to Debian by mentoring them through Debian-specific details (procedures) to get their packages into Debian, getting them in touch with the right people (teams, etc) and discussing and establishing processes to share efforts among derivatives and with Debian.
"Nonetheless, the largest delta Debian has at the moment among its derivatives is with respect to Ubuntu, simply because it is the most popular and most customised derivative out there," he said.
"It is therefore normal that, at least in the beginning, there will be more Ubuntu/DEX activities than activities for other derivatives. I hope the first initiatives will pave the way to numerous similar initiatives for other derivatives."
Zacchiroli said the DEX project had come about after discussions he had had with the chief technical officer of Canonical, Matt Zimmerman, who has recently one again become a Debian developer.