Judging orphaned packages for possible removal
A lot of packages are orphaned, sometimes for a long time. If nobody has any interest in them, they might be better off being removed from Debian.
This document aims to list criteria to judge whether a package should be removed. Below you will find how to actually file a removal request.
- How long has the package been orphaned? If it was only recently orphaned, maybe someone is interested and will want to pick it up. You should mostly give potential adopters some time to find the package, unless it's very obvious the package is of no great use.
- Does the package have release-critical bugs? Or any important bug at all?
- Is the package (still) useful? Does it still work?
- Does anything depend on it?
- Was it ever part of a stable release?
- Did the release team already remove the package from testing?
- Does the package have an added value to the archive, does it perform some function that no other package can do?
- Is upstream still active?
- If the package is outdated with respect to upstream, did anyone care about it and file a wishlist bug? Related: is the package in use by anyone? See popcon statistics for that, or the amount of bugreports.
Sometimes, for example if a package is very buggy, it makes sense to clone the removal bug as a RC bug for the package, and ask the release team to remove it from testing. This isn't often needed, because packages get removed from testing automatically after being dropped from unstable, though it would be applicable when Debian is close to a release.
If you have any questions or doubts, please mail the debian-qa mailinglist. If you're just unsure about whether to remove a package, you can always just mail the wnpp bug with your thoughts, someone else will (eventually) process it then.