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A while ago there was talk of moving all (or at least some?) of the packaging effort to bzr branches on launchpad. I seem to remember there were a number of benefits mentioned, such as making it easier for new developers/packagers to contribute.

Can anyone update me on whether this happened and what the benefits would be? (I might have got completely the wrong end of the stick on this, so feel free to correct me...)

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I don't have a current count, but I think most are imported. You can try to checkout packages with bzr branch lp:ubuntu/PACKAGENAME or lp:ubuntu/maverick/PACKAGENAME, for a couple examples.

Of course, replace PACKAGENAME with the package you are looking for, and you can replace maverick with the release you are looking for, lucid, karmic, etc. You can make changes and push to your own bzr branches for sponsorship.

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Can you refer to the devel version by name? I thought for devel you always use lp:ubuntu/PACKAGE – maco Aug 24 '10 at 20:06

Everything for which imports did not fail is in bzr right now. KDE branches have tended to fail due to being massive, but I think that's being worked on.

The benefits would be that we don't have debdiffs sitting in Launchpad that all have overlapping version numbers and conflict. Instead everyone can nicely merge into a single branch, reducing "oops, your patch no longer applies" round-trips.

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Import failures can be tracked on – andrewsomething Oct 3 '10 at 3:32

As others have mentioned, you can checkout packages with bzr branch lp:ubuntu/PACKAGENAME for the current developmental release or lp:ubuntu/lucid/PACKAGENAME, if you are looking for the source from Lucid for instance. Source packages from Debian are also imported. These can be fetched with lp:debian/PACKAGENAME or lp:debian/lenny/PACKAGENAME

This also allows us to easily browser the source of any Ubuntu or Debian package on-line via For instance, here is the banshee source package:

The vast majority of packages in Ubuntu are availiable as bzr branches. As of this writting, only 597 of the thousand in Ubuntu are currently not up-to-date (This can be tracked on

One of the major bennifits of distributed version control is that it can help with merging. Tasks such as viewing history and annotating to find who made a specific change and why are also made easier.

A good introduction to the Ubuntu Distributed Development project can be found here:

Documentation and how-tos can be found here:

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Quite a few people use bzr to manage their source packages. See the wiki for some information on how to do this.

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I think you're thinking of bzr-builddeb (manual). You can track it's development on bzr-builddeb's Launchpad page.

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