Updating a profile in Debian’s apparmor-profiles-extra package

I have gotten my first patch to the Pidgin AppArmor profile accepted upstream. One of my mentors thus suggested that I’d patch the updated profile in the Debian package myself. This is fairly easy and requires simply that one knows how to use Git.

If you want to get write access to the apparmor-profiles-extra package in Debian, you first need to request access to the Collaborative Maintenance Alioth project, collab-maint in short. This also requires setting up an account on Alioth.

Once all is set up, one can export the apparmor-profiles-extra Git repository.
If you simply want to submit a patch, it’s sufficient to clone this repository anonymously.
Otherwise, one should use the “–auth” parameter with “debcheckout”. The “debcheckout” command is part of the “devscripts” package:

debcheckout --auth apparmor-profiles-extra

Go into the apparmor-profiles-extra folder and create a new working branch:

git branch workingtitle
git checkout workingtitle

Get the latest version of profiles from upstream. In “profiles”, one can edit the profiles.


The debian/README.Debian file should be edited: add what relevant changes one just imported from upstream.

Then, one could either push the branch to collab-maint:

git commit -a
git push origin workingtitle

or simply submit a patch to the Debian Bug Tracking System against the apparmor-profiles-extra package.

The Debian AppArmor packaging team mailing list will receive a notification of this commit. This way, commits can be peer reviewed and merged by the team.


How is the Outreach Program going so far?

During the last internship meeting with my mentors, they suggested as a final meeting topic “Feedback on mentoring”.  I found that really useful. It’s a great idea to provide a space to talk about the human part and social interactions. Thanks!

One mentor said:

I’ve been doing mentoring for years. A couple GSoCs, a NM process, etc. And I have to say that it’s probably the first time that I have the clear feeling that I’m spending way less time mentoring, than I would spent doing the work myself.

It also feels comforting to read the blog posts of my co-interns, especially While getting things not done by Anke who works as an intern with Wikimedia.

While understanding and writing the AppArmor documentation for Debian, I realize how high the barriers to contribute to Free Software actually are: one needs to read a lot of documentation, learn many different tools, but also have social interactions with package maintainers and upstream / source code developers, request access and logins to various websites and repositories.
It’s not easy to make the first step. But once you’ve done it, you can make a second one, and then slowly learn how to run.