Email Messages

When a user is subscribed to a package or to a team, it will receive different types of emails related to the package (or to the team’s packages).

Type of Emails

Each email sent through the package tracker is classified under one of the keywords listed below. This classification enables the users to select the mails that they want to receive.

The following keywords are enabled by default but users can opt-out from each of them if they are not interested:

All the bug reports and following discussions.
Metadata and status changes on the bug reports. In the case of the Debian bug tracker, notifications from the control bot at
Notification of a source package upload that got accepted in the archive.
Other notifications related to the package archive. In the case of Debian, includes all other emails generated by DAK like override disparity or package removal notifications.
Build failure notifications.
Mails sent to the package maintainer. In the case of Debian, a copy of the mails sent to the email aliases.
Regular summary emails about the package’s status. In the case of Debian, this includes notification related to its testing migration. Ideally it should also include notifications of new upstream versions, and a notification if the package is orphaned (but this is not yet the case).
Any other notification received by the package tracker that could not be better classified.

The followed keyword are disabled by default but users can opt-in to each of them if they wish to receive the corresponding messages:

Notification of a binary package upload that got accepted in the archive. In the case of Debian, it means a dozen of emails for each source package upload, every time that the package has been built for another architecture.
VCS commit notifications, if the package has a VCS repository and the maintainer has set up forwarding of commit notifications to the package tracker.
Notifications related to translations. In the case of Debian, it includes translations of descriptions or debconf templates submitted to the Debian Description Translation Project.
Information about changes made to the package in derivative distributions. In the case of Debian, this notably includes information about Ubuntu source package uploads.
Bugs reports and comments from derivative distributions. In the case of Debian, this includes bug reports traffic from Ubuntu’s Launchpad.

Mail Headers

Once subscribed to a package, the user receives mails forwarded by the package tracker. Those mails have special headers appended to make it easy to filter them in a special mailbox (e.g. with procmail). The added headers are X-Loop, X-Distro-Tracker-Package, X-Distro-Tracker-Keyword, List-Id and List-Unsubscribe. In the case of Debian, X-Debian-Package and X-Debian are also added.

Here is an example of added headers for a source upload notification on the dpkg package (for the distro-tracker instance running on

X-Distro-Tracker-Package: dpkg
X-Distro-Tracker-Keyword: upload-source
X-Debian-Package: dpkg
List-Id: <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>

Subscribing to a package

On the website

On each package page (https://distro-tracker-domain/pkg/package-name) you will find a Subscribe button. If you are authenticated, it will immediately subscribe you and show you an Unsubscribe button that you can use to revert the operation. If you are not authenticated, it will invite you to login first to be able to complete the operation.

If you have have multiple emails associated to your account, the subscription process will ask you to select the email address that will receive the notifications.

With the mailbot

To subscribe to a package through email, you will have to send an email to control@distro-tracker-domain containing the command subscribe package-name either in the subject or in the body of the mail. This will subscribe the email address that you used to send the message. You can ask for the subscription of another email address by using the command subscribe package-name email.

The mailbot will send back a confimation mail to the email address being subscribed. The message will contain a confirmation command that the user must send back to the mailbot. A simple reply is usually enough for this as the mailbot is smart enough to detect the command even when it’s quoted in the reply.