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making dselect easier to use

A few ideas to help make dselect easier to use. They are geared
to help the beginner, but don't detract from its power for the

1.  More informative characters for individual package selection. +-_ are not
very intuitive - especially for the novice.
How about something like the following:
  i   install
  I   installed
  r   remove
  R   removed
  p   purge
  U   uninstalled (no need for P since it's the same as uninstalled)
Upper case letters are used for static cases and lower case for transient
cases (install and remove are only temporary conditions while the others have
a bit more permanence).

2.  Make dselect hierarchical. It could be implemented similar to the way
lynx works: you use the arrow keys to move up and down and go right to get
more detailed info on the current selection.
The top level would be a list similar (identical would be best) to the
directories in the binary level of the distribution, i.e. admin, base, comm,
Further you could pick packages simply by marking a selection at the top
level with certain letters. For example:
   a  for All packages
   c  for reCommended
   q  for reQuired
E.g., Selecting All under editors would indicate that all the packages in
editors are to be installed.
If there is a conflict, you get bounced into the conflict window.
Each selection at the top level could have a longer description telling what
types of packages it holds.

If you right arrow into a section things would look much like they do now -
only with a much shorter list.
One other modification at the second level is that packages providing the same
functionality could be further grouped into a third level. For example,
under web, all the web browsers would be in one group while the servers would
be in a 2nd. Possibly more fine grained than the expert wants, but this
is for the beginner. The expert can still just use a search at the top
level to jump right to a desired package.

Also at the top level would be an options selection. In there you could
set options to personalize dselect. For example you could set a Silent
option to let dselect silently select any dependencies for you. Of course
you'd get a warning if any dependencies couldn't be met.

This is by no means a complete blueprint, but points in what I believe is
the right direction.


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