1.2. The intention of Lintian

Packaging has become complicated—not because dpkg is complicated (indeed, dpkg-deb is very simple to use) but because of the high requirements of our policy. If a developer releases a new package, she has to consider hundreds of guidelines to make the package `policy compliant.'

All parts of our policy have been introduced by the same procedure: Some developer has a good idea how to make packages more `unique' with respect to a certain aspect—then the idea is discussed and a policy proposal is prepared. If we have a consensus about the policy change, it's introduced in our manuals.

Therefore, our policy is not designed to make life harder for the maintainers! The intention is to make Debian the best Linux distribution out there. With this in mind, lots of policy changes are discussed on the mailing lists each week.

But changing the policy is only a small part of the story: Just having some statement included in the manual does not make Debian any better. What's needed is for that policy to become `real life,' i.e., it's implemented in our packages. And this is where Lintian comes in: Lintian checks packages and reports possible policy violations. (Of course, not everything can be checked mechanically — but a lot of things can and this is what Lintian is for.)

Thus, Lintian has the following goals: