Contribute to debusine

Contributions to debusine are greatly appreciated! You can contribute in many ways, be it writing documentation and blog posts, or fixing bugs and implementing new features.

Join the community

You can reach us using IRC on the #debusine channel at That channel is also available as a (bridged) Matrix room. There’s also a #debusine-notifications channel where you can see all activities happening in the GitLab project (it’s also bridged in a Matrix room).

You can also file issues in GitLab’s interface. There are two templates to help you file bug reports and feature requests.

While Freexian is driving the development forward by paying a few developers, rest assured that external contributions are welcome.

Where to start?

Starting small

Before starting to work on bigger projects, it probably makes sense to get used to our development workflows by tackling a few small issues (they have the bitesize label).

Looking for issues

If you are looking for bigger issues to tackle, you will find plenty in the issue tracker.

The paid developers are usually focused on all the issues planned in the current milestone, working through the list by order of priority (from labels P1 to P3). If you want to help with the current milestone, you should probably start with a low-priority issue.

Otherwise you can also find backlogged issues that are not part of any milestone and that paid developers will not handle at this point.

Add a new feature

If you want to work on a new feature that is not yet planned, then you should first create a new issue using the Feature Request template (see Design new features with issues).

For larger features that require significant design work, it is recommended to first write a development blueprint (see Design new features with development blueprints).

How to contribute


See runtime environment to understand the runtime environment.

Ready to contribute? Here’s how to set up debusine for local development:

  1. Create a guest account on Salsa (a GitLab instance run by the Debian project) by visiting this page:

    Follow all the steps to confirm your email, fill your profile, setup your SSH keys.

    You might want to have a look at Salsa’s documentation and GitLab’s documentation if you have doubts about something.

    Note that Debian Developers can skip this step as they already have an account on this service.

  2. Visit the project’s page and fork debusine in your own account. See GitLab’s help on how to fork a project.

  3. Clone debusine locally:

    $ git clone

    Note that your-account should be replaced by your Salsa’s username. If you want to clone the project without creating any account then use this command:

    $ git clone
  4. For a quick startup, run this command:

    $ bin/

    It will install required packages with apt and put a sample configuration file in place. It will also create a user and two databases in PostgreSQL. The user will be named after your current Unix user and will own the new databases so that it can connect to the newly created databases without any other authentication.

    Populate the database with:

    $ ./ migrate
  5. Start a local test server:

    $ ./ runserver
    Starting development server at
    Quit the server with CONTROL-C.

    Visit the URL returned to have access to the test website.

  6. If you want to run tasks, then start the Celery workers, from separate shells:

    $ python3 -m celery -A debusine.project worker -l INFO -Q scheduler --concurrency 1
    $ python3 -m celery -A debusine.project worker -l INFO
  7. Create a local Django superuser on your test instance:

    $ ./ createsuperuser
  8. Login as that user using the link in the top right of the initial REST framework site.

  9. Set up pre-commit (optional):

    $ sudo apt install pre-commit
    $ pre-commit install

    This runs some checks every time you run git commit. This downloads linters from upstream repositories; if you prefer to avoid that on your development machine, you can skip this step and rely on CI running it for you instead (but with longer latency). See Pre-commit hooks for more details.

  10. Switch to a new branch:

    $ git checkout -b name-of-your-bugfix-or-feature
  11. Develop your new feature, ideally following the rules of Test-Driven Development. Also consider whether you need to update the Release history.

  12. When you’re done, check that all tests are succeeding in all supported platforms:

    $ tox

    This basically runs ./ test with multiple versions of Django and Python. It also ensures that you respected our coding conventions. If you get errors, make sure to fix them.


    If you get errors like OSError: [Errno 38] Function not implemented, then it means that you are lacking /dev/shm with proper permissions.

  13. Push your branch to your repository:

    $ git push -u origin name-of-your-bugfix-or-feature
  14. Submit us your work, ideally by opening a merge request. You can do this easily by visiting the debusine project fork hosted in your own account (either through the “Branches” page, or through the “Merge requests” page). See GitLab’s help on merge requests if needed.

    Make sure to address any issue identified by the continuous integration system, the result of its “pipeline” can be directly seen in the merge request (and in the commits pushed in your own repository).

Test latest devel branch code

If you want to test the code in the devel branch, you can install packages from a repository that is automatically generated by our GitLab CI pipeline.

$ curl -s \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/debusine.asc
$ sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debusine.list <<END
deb [arch=all] bookworm main
$ sudo apt update

Then run:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install debusine-server debusine-worker debusine-client

And follow the instructions to set up Set up a debusine server, Set up a debusine worker or Set up debusine-client.

Write access to the git repository

Project members have write access to the main git repository. They can thus clone the repository with this URL:

$ git clone

From there they can push their changes directly. They are however free to use a fork and request review anyway when they prefer.

Django Debug Toolbar

Django Debug Toolbar can be used but only on development branches. There are commented out lines in debusine/project/settings/ and debusine/project/ which can be used to add the support.