Welcome Back, Patch Pilots! Ubuntu’s Guiding Stars Return

Hello Ubuntu community,

We’re introducing an (old but) new initiative: the Patch Pilot Program. This is our answer to the community’s call for clearer guidance and mentorship in the Ubuntu contribution process.

The program’s main goal is simple—to support contributors with their patches, package sponsoring, and related activities. By doing this, we hope to make the process of contributing to Ubuntu smoother and more straightforward.

Given the diverse and expansive nature of Ubuntu, diving into contributions can sometimes seem overwhelming. The Patch Pilots are here to help contributors navigate this landscape more confidently.

Though still in its nascent stage, a test run of the program has shown promise. Our pilots have worked diligently, reducing the items in the sponsoring queue significantly. This efficiency is not just about numbers; it’s about ensuring that every contributor feels their effort is valued and impactful.

Getting Started

If you need guidance:

  • For contributing patches specific to Ubuntu.
  • On how to introduce a unique Ubuntu-specific package.
  • Or insights on integrating a package into Debian so it will be synced to Ubuntu.

You can connect with a Patch Pilot on #ubuntu-devel on irc.libera.chat and through MPs on Launchpad. A quick glance to the channel topic will tell you who is currently flying.

Ready to dive into Ubuntu Development? Learn more about packaging for Ubuntu or building a snap.

For those already familiar with the Ubuntu ecosystem, consider becoming a Patch Pilot. It’s an opportunity to mentor and guide newcomers, ensuring the community continues to thrive.

What’s Next

As the program finds its footing, we’re open to expanding it, potentially embracing other facets of Ubuntu development. We’ll be discussing this and seeking your opinions in a subsequent post.

The Patch Pilot Program is our commitment to making Ubuntu contributions clearer and more accessible. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned contributor, we hope this initiative adds value to your experience.

Thank you for being a part of the Ubuntu journey.


Great initiative! I would like to see an (almost) end to end process between how to create and submit a new package. I think the creation part is quite straightforward, but how to submit to universe is harder to understand. I never saw an easy tutorial talking about this.

1 Like

This is a great idea! Would you be willing to help put this together with some first hand experience? There may already be some work in progress on this that you could base off of. The patch pilots can help with information you’re not aware of.

It would be more informational. I never tried to package for Ubuntu because I can’t see the whole process end-to-end (from the source code to the package in the official repository). I already dealt with Snaps and I could understand the whole process.
The first part is simple. I have the source code and I need to create the files inside the debian/ folder to be able to build a .deb package. There is plenty of documentation about how to deal with this part. After that, the mysterious begins to me. How can I submit the .deb package or the source files (.orig.tar.xz and debian.tar.xz files) so it can be included as part of the universe repository? (with and without sync with Debian). I read someone I need a sponsor because the universe repository is controlled, so how I find this sponsor? How do I submit my code to them? How is the review process? And one technical detail I’m interested in is: after approval from the sponsor, how would we push my source to the repository for build and distribution?

Hi @mhalano!

A good and relatively up-to-date starting point should be the Ubuntu Packaging Guide – Packaging new software documentation. In essence, you can do all the technical work in the debian/ directory, as you mentioned above and then upload your package into a Personal Package Archive (PPA) – all on your own.

To get your package included into the official Ubuntu/universe distribution, you’d usually go through Debian’s WNPP process and only in special cases upload into Ubuntu NEW directly.

Finding sponsors/reviewers can be accomplished through Debian Mentors or Ubuntu Sponsors. For example, by pinging current Patch Pilots in #ubuntu-devel on irc.libera.chat or by creating a corresponding bug on Launchpad for the ~ubuntu-sponsors team. After successful review, the sponsors would push your package into the repository for you.

If you’d like help documenting this process in more detail, please consider contributing to https://github.com/canonical/ubuntu-packaging-guide

Do you have details about “how the sausage is made” by the sponsor? Commands and things like that they use to upload the source code in the build system.

Sure. That would be tools like dpkg-buildpackage (and friends, like debuild or sbuild) to build the source package and prepare/sign it for uploading and dput{-ng} to get it uploaded into the archive.

Thanks. I did a little research about the use of debsign to sign the sources and dput{-ng} to send the sources to Debian.
I have one remaining question: to upload to the Ubuntu’s archive it’s just allowed sources-only package uploads like on Debian (https://wiki.debian.org/SourceOnlyUpload)?

That’s true. Source-only is used for all common uploads into the Ubuntu archive.