The Ubuntu Community Council will be deciding in a week or so whether upstream or external contributions count for Ubuntu membership & commit privileges. I always thought that all contributions that were for the good of Ubuntu counted. I believe part of my thinking comes from Mark Shuttleworth’s quote in 2005:
Every Debian developer is also an Ubuntu developer, because one way to contribute to Ubuntu is to contribute to Debian….Without Debian, Ubuntu would not be possible.
But it looks like I hold the minority viewpoint.
I believe contributors should not be penalized for working upstream. For instance, I could write Ubuntu desktop documentation or I could write the documentation for Gnome, knowing that my work would be shipped with Ubuntu & other distributions. I could fix KDE bugs by patching Kubuntu or I could fix them at the source (Kubuntu in particular does try to fix as much as possible at the source). Gwibber is shipped by default in Ubuntu but not as far as I know in any other non-Ubuntu derivative distribution. Should Gwibber developers be held back because they did not make their software Ubuntu-only?
Upstream contributions should carry significant weight. It is definitely not Ubuntu’s philosophy to discourage improving upstream.
An upstream developer who has no involvement with the Ubuntu community should not gain Ubuntu status, but an individual who does have strong Ubuntu social connections but contributes upstream should get appropriate status. More specifically, Ubuntu membership should be granted, and PPU (per-package upload rights) can be granted if the individual has decent Debian packaging skills. Core & MOTU upload privileges must only be given to those with strong, proven packaging skills…which obviously includes many Debian Developers.
Therefore, my opinion is that significant upstream contributions should count as significant contributions to Ubuntu if they are indeed significant to Ubuntu. However, it is important that the prospective member also be a part of the Ubuntu community and hold to Ubuntu values.