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5 Recruiting Developers

Unless your package is a fairly small, you probably won’t do all the work on it yourself. Most maintainers recruit other developers to help.

Sometimes people will offer to help. Some of them will be capable, while others will not. It’s up to you to determine who provides useful help, and encourage those people to participate more.

Some of the people who offer to help will support the GNU Project, while others may be interested for other reasons. Some will support the goals of the Free Software Movement, but some may not. They are all welcome to help with the work—we don’t ask people’s views or motivations before they contribute to GNU packages.

As a consequence, you cannot expect all contributors to support the GNU Project, or to have a concern for its policies and standards. So part of your job as maintainer is to exercise your authority on these points when they arise. No matter how much of the work other people do, you are in charge of what goes in the release. When a crucial point arises, you should calmly state your decision and stick to it.

Sometimes a package has several co-maintainers who share the role of maintainer. Unlike developers who help, co-maintainers have actually been appointed jointly as the maintainers of the package, and they carry out the maintainer’s functions together. If you would like to propose some of your developers as co-maintainers, please contact

We’re happy to acknowledge all major contributors to GNU packages on the web page. Please send an entry for yourself to, and feel free to suggest it to other significant developers on your package.

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