Forwarding Mails through the Package Tracker

General Principle

The email messages to forward are received through the dispatch@distro-tracker-domain email address.

Distro Tracker is usually able to analyze the email messages from common tools (debbugs, DAK, GitLab, etc.) and to figure out the name of the package and the associated keyword. If that is not the case, there are two ways to pass the required package/keyword data:

  • either by adding the X-Distro-Tracker-Package and X-Distro-Tracker-Keyword headers in the mail sent to the dispatch@distro-tracker-domain email address;

  • or by sending the mails to dispatch+package@distro-tracker-domain or dispatch+package_keyword@distro-tracker-domain.

Once the package and keyword are known, the message can be forwarded to the package subscribers who have the corresponding keyword enabled.


When Distro-Tracker has been unable to find a keyword for the message, it will assign the default keyword. To prevent random spam from being forwarded through the package tracker, a message with the default keyword will only be forwarded if it contains the X-Distro-Tracker-Approved header with a non-empty value.


Each vendor can provide their own set of available keywords and a set of rules to tag incoming messages with one of the keywords. If there is no such tagging mechanism and no keyword in the local part of the email address, the message is tagged with the default keyword.

Forwarding VCS Commits to the Package Tracker

If you use a publicly accessible VCS repository for maintaining your Debian package, you may want to forward the commit notifications to the package tracker so that the subscribers (and possible co-maintainers) can closely follow the package’s evolution.

Debian’s Distro Tracker knows how to parse email notifications generated by GitLab’s Email on Pushes integration or by Git’s hook script. It assumes that the name of the git repository (with the eventual .git suffix stripped) is the name of the source package and it will automatically affect the vcs keyword to those messages. Thanks to this, you just have to configure your git repository to send the notifications to


The git commit emails are recognized by their X-GitLab-Project or X-Git-Repo headers. Those fields are parsed as a path whose last component is the name of the source package (with a possible .git suffix.

If you use another tool that doesn’t generate any of the recognized headers (or if your Git repositories are not named after the source package name), you will have to send your VCS commit notification mails to dispatch+sourcepackage_vcs@distro-tracker-domain.