Debian/Ubuntu packaging expert wanted

MariaDB Foundation needs help from a Debian/Ubuntu packaging expert to continue to provide high value MariaDB Server packaging.

MariaDB Server is packaged in Debian and Ubuntu distributions, and by MariaDB Foundation as a upstream repository. A significant effort occurred to make this possible and stable. MariaDB Foundation wants to continue to innovate in the packaging to provide the best out-of-the-box experience for our users. To ensure this innovation remains stable and considered for the wide range of Debian/Ubuntu users we require a person/company/collective, with a very high quality of packaging and communication skills, to work within the MariaDB community ecosystem to deliver this outcome.

The work by our chosen expert will be appreciated by our user-base and the MariaDB Foundation, in addition to the financial compensation.


  • Resolving issues on JIRA, related to Debian/Ubuntu packaging.
  • Contributing MariaDB packaging fixes to upstream MariaDB in its codebase.
  • Reviewing packaging related github pull requests.
  • Professional communication with downstream Debian/Ubuntu maintainer(s) in ensuring largely compatible packaging, cross package upgradability.
  • Ensuring that downstream Debian/Ubuntu bug reports that aren’t packaging related have a corresponding upstream JIRA issue, if they have enough details to be reasonably repeatable/resolvable. Request specific user available information to improve the quality of Debian/Ubuntu/JIRA bug reports.
  • Assisting developers in reproducing packaging related bugs that require code changes in order to be resolved.
  • Assisting users to achieve a working MariaDB instance if they write a JIRA issue or Knowledge Base questions, or elsewhere Reddit/Stack Overflow etc., that relates to a Debian/Ubuntu system specific or its packaging issues.
  • Encouraging and/or facilitating that external community forum (e.g. Reddit/Stack Overflow questions) problems related to MariaDB, that are likely to be bugs, are communicated to and issue trackers able to resolve the problems. 
  • Representing the packaging needs of MariaDB to Debian Policy development and the developers of packaging helpers e.g. MDEV-23321 / pkg-systemd-maintainers as needed.
  • Contributing Salsa CI rules that represent realistic scenarios related to MariaDB packaging.
  • Contributing to Buildbot related CI results associated with Debian packaging.
  • Working with MariaDB server developers to ensure that required Debian packaging features are included in the core server (rather than Debian/ specific) if appropriate across distributions.
  • Advising MariaDB Server developers (e.g. ColumnStore) on Debian and open source best practices in order to preemptively minimise the packaging effort/complexity.

In performing these duties, I as the Chief Innovation Officer at MariaDB Foundation will provide further guidance, reviews and as a sounding board for any innovations you may wish to explore.

Expected Competencies

  • Ability to apply the Debian Policy Manual and Ubuntu Packaging Guide to the development of packaging.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely to multiple groups within the open source ecosystems to achieve benefits to MariaDB users.
  • A good knowledge of systemd and sysv init systems.
  • A good knowledge of Linux systems, especially Debian and Ubuntu based systems.
  • Ability to use sh/bash shell scripting to achieve packaging objectives.
  • A basic understanding of MariaDB/MySQL databases and their components and operation.
  • A practical ability to use git to work across multiple server branches, including rebasing.

Desirable Competencies

An understanding of:

  • packaging implications on init-less systems like container builds (Docker Library’s mariadb container image is Ubuntu-based);
  • CMake build systems and the ability to write CMake based packaging changes;
  • building C++/C applications on Linux;
  • building and packaging issues as they relate to non-x86 architectures; and
  • non-portable architecture and operating system (e.g. Windows, AIX, BSDs) build and library components and with this knowledge, make portable build/packaging changes.

How to apply

I expect the duties to be regular, part time, and that can occur at flexible times (any timezone) with a calm response time on communications.

If you are interested in taking this on as a personal or company/collective engagement/contract, talk to me over Zulip or email me your proposal or questions.

I’d like to see your Debian/Ubuntu packaging expert proposal by the 26th July 2021.

Edit: Extended submission date.