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Re: debian-trivia Re: Evan Prodromou's comment

I also make no claim to genius, but I have long felt that a system that was based on ideas of relational database with a multiple descriptor attributes that could be searched using a query language would be great for the user. The present system has a purely hierarchical structure. This structure is repeated almost everywhere, and in many cases whole trees of directories are empty, but, apparently, must be present for the correct functioning of some part of the support software. I don't have a well formed suggestion for change, but it does seem that a review of existing experience in the light of know principals of database design would lead to a design that is much more accessable to the user. But I'm a newbie and don't have knowledge of the existing experience. I guess I'm offering moral support. At least moral support for continued discussion. On the other hand, maybe there are people talking about these issues on another list that Evan and I have not yet discovered.


Evan Prodromou wrote:

"AH" == Alexander Hvostov <alex@aoi.dyndns.org> writes:

   AH> That should be a good start. Anyone care to comment?


I'm no genius, but even to a dunderhead like me, it seems like the
Debian package mechanism is getting quite creaky with age. Something
that scaled well for a package catalog in the hundreds does terribly for
package catalogs in the tens of thousands.  For example:

       * Loading package catalogs takes a long time on loaded or
         low-memory machines.

       * Browsing package catalogs for useful packages is practically

It seems like we need a revamp of the Debian catalog and package
format to allow at least the following:

       * Sub-architectures. Allow some binary packages that are
         CPU-bound to be optimized for particular chips. For example,
         a Pentium II computer might be able to install packages
         tagged for the i386/i686 architecture, the i386/i586
         architecture, and the i386 architecture.

       * Multiple versions of the same package. Instead of having 10
         jillion python2.2, python2.1, and python1.5 library
         packages, allow multiple binaries tagged with the
         appropriate version.

       * Hierarchical categories. We have <10 categories of software
         in the Debian system right now. This is just laughable. We
         need to be able to tag packages according to real useful
         categories, like "Network/Internet/Clients/Chat/IRC" or
         "Libraries/DataFormat/XML/Parser". This should make browsing
         for appropriate software a lot easier than "apt-cache search
         irc" or "apt-cache search xml".

       * Optimizations of the catalog as stored at the leaf node

My main comment is this: where does this discussion go on? On
debian-devel? -private? Who do I talk to to get Debian working better
for me.


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