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Debian Constitution

Constitution for the Debian Project (v1.3)


1. Introduction

2. Decision-making bodies and individuals

2.1 General rules

3. Individual Developers

3.1 Powers
3.2 Composition and appointment
3.3 Procedure

4. The Developers by way of General Resolution or election

4.1 Powers
4.2 Procedure

5. Project Leader

5.1 Powers
5.2 Appointment
5.3 Procedure

6. Technical committee

6.1 Powers
6.2 Composition
6.3 Procedure

7. The Project Secretary

7.1 Powers
7.2 Appointment
7.3 Procedure

8. The Project Leader's Delegates

8.1 Powers
8.2 Appointment
8.3 Procedure

9. Assets held in trust for Debian

9.1 Relationship with Associated Organizations
9.2 Authority
9.3 Trusted organisations

10. A. Standard Resolution Procedure

10.1 A.1. Proposal
10.2 A.1 Discussion and Amendment
10.3 A.2. Calling for a vote
10.4 A.3. Voting procedure
10.5 A.4. Withdrawing resolutions or unaccepted amendments
10.6 A.5. Expiry
10.7 A.6. Vote Counting

11. B. Use of language and typography


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SiSU Manifest, alternative outputs etc.

Debian Constitution

Constitution for the Debian Project (v1.3)

Debian Project

copy @ Debian

Debian Constitution

Constitution for the Debian Project (v1.3)

6. Technical committee

1. Decide on any matter of technical policy.

This includes the contents of the technical policy manuals, developers' reference materials, example packages and the behaviour of non-experimental package building tools. (In each case the usual maintainer of the relevant software or documentation makes decisions initially, however; see 6.3(5).)

2. Decide any technical matter where Developers' jurisdictions overlap.

In cases where Developers need to implement compatible technical policies or stances (for example, if they disagree about the priorities of conflicting packages, or about ownership of a command name, or about which package is responsible for a bug that both maintainers agree is a bug, or about who should be the maintainer for a package) the technical committee may decide the matter.

3. Make a decision when asked to do so.

Any person or body may delegate a decision of their own to the Technical Committee, or seek advice from it.

4. Overrule a Developer (requires a 3:1 majority).

The Technical Committee may ask a Developer to take a particular technical course of action even if the Developer does not wish to; this requires a 3:1 majority. For example, the Committee may determine that a complaint made by the submitter of a bug is justified and that the submitter's proposed solution should be implemented.

5. Offer advice.

The Technical Committee may make formal announcements about its views on any matter. Individual members may of course make informal statements about their views and about the likely views of the committee.

6. Together with the Project Leader, appoint new members to itself or remove existing members. (See §6.2.)

7. Appoint the Chairman of the Technical Committee.

The Chairman is elected by the Committee from its members. All members of the committee are automatically nominated; the committee votes starting one week before the post will become vacant (or immediately, if it is already too late). The members may vote by public acclamation for any fellow committee member, including themselves; there is no default option. The vote finishes when all the members have voted, or when the voting period has ended. The result is determined using the method specified in section A.6 of the Standard Resolution Procedure.

8. The Chairman can stand in for the Leader, together with the Secretary

As detailed in §7.1(2), the Chairman of the Technical Committee and the Project Secretary may together stand in for the Leader if there is no Leader.


1. The Technical Committee consists of up to 8 Developers, and should usually have at least 4 members.

2. When there are fewer than 8 members the Technical Committee may recommend new member(s) to the Project Leader, who may choose (individually) to appoint them or not.

3. When there are 5 members or fewer the Technical Committee may appoint new member(s) until the number of members reaches 6.

4. When there have been 5 members or fewer for at least one week the Project Leader may appoint new member(s) until the number of members reaches 6, at intervals of at least one week per appointment.

5. If the Technical Committee and the Project Leader agree they may remove or replace an existing member of the Technical Committee.


1. The Technical Committee uses the Standard Resolution Procedure.

A draft resolution or amendment may be proposed by any member of the Technical Committee. There is no minimum discussion period; the voting period lasts for up to one week, or until the outcome is no longer in doubt. Members may change their votes. There is a quorum of two.

2. Details regarding voting

The Chairman has a casting vote. When the Technical Committee votes whether to override a Developer who also happens to be a member of the Committee, that member may not vote (unless they are the Chairman, in which case they may use only their casting vote).

3. Public discussion and decision-making.

Discussion, draft resolutions and amendments, and votes by members of the committee, are made public on the Technical Committee public discussion list. There is no separate secretary for the Committee.

4. Confidentiality of appointments.

The Technical Committee may hold confidential discussions via private email or a private mailing list or other means to discuss appointments to the Committee. However, votes on appointments must be public.

5. No detailed design work.

The Technical Committee does not engage in design of new proposals and policies. Such design work should be carried out by individuals privately or together and discussed in ordinary technical policy and design forums.

The Technical Committee restricts itself to choosing from or adopting compromises between solutions and decisions which have been proposed and reasonably thoroughly discussed elsewhere.

Individual members of the technical committee may of course participate on their own behalf in any aspect of design and policy work.

6. Technical Committee makes decisions only as last resort.

The Technical Committee does not make a technical decision until efforts to resolve it via consensus have been tried and failed, unless it has been asked to make a decision by the person or body who would normally be responsible for it.

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