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As a beginner Linux user, I was wondering how Debian developers update their entire packages list, because it has tons of packages. Do they get a pre-compiled package from the original developer and add it to the list and how?

closed as off-topic by karel, N0rbert, user535733, DK Bose, Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 15 '18 at 0:50

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Thousands of volunteer package maintainers update each package in Debian on their own schedule. Debian provides upload, source versioning, build, and bug tracking tools for those volunteers to use. Debian has policies in place that govern what packages can be added, how often packages should be updated, and when packages should be removed.

See https://mentors.debian.net for a complete explanation of the processes and policies, and to get involved.

Though Ubuntu is closely based upon Debian, Ubuntu's goals, governance, and policies are very different. Debian questions should be addressed to Debian instead of Ubuntu.

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If I got this right, then you ask about two peculiarities of the Debian Linux distribution:

How are the package lists updated?

This is completely automated. The developers only package one package at a time and send it to the project's FTP server where it is detected and queued for peer review and eventually it appears on the file servers from where the mirrors take it. The package lists are also updated and either retrieved as a complete file or as many small files with the accumulated differences.

You can have your own small repositories. Ubuntu championed that via the personal package archive (PPA).

What is uploaded and where does it come from?

One distinguishes the upstream developers (who programmed the software) from the Debian/Ubuntu developers. The latter take the source code offered from upstream, describe build dependencies, automate the build process, add automated tests, ensure that files are installed where they should go. This often needs patches to the original source tree. All work performed by the Debian/Ubuntu developers goes into a separate directory. The original source tree and the subdirectory created with packaging instructions, and for Debian also a binary, are uploaded by the developers to the project's server.

The authenticity and integrity of the work is ensured by an electronic signature by the developer. This requires as GPG key that is accepted by the distribution.

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