[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Unifying the end-user package tools

There was some talk amidst the LSB discussion a while back about how
daunting Debian's packaging system can be to the new user, with basic
functionality spread across several different programs. The idea was
proposed to write a program that created a simpler interface to all the
rest, someone mentioned it was already done (but not packages), and that
was the last I saw of it on this list.

I had a program I wrote myself to automatically query the information in
a package, that automatically detected whether it should use apt-cache show
or dpkg -I. After a bit of thought, I extended it and came up with a
program I called 'Feta', or Front End To APT.

Feta currently provides a one-program interface to a lot of dpkg-repack,
dpkg, apt-get, apt-cache, and dpkg-reconfigure. It also implements an
idea I don't remember hearing about here, a "teaching" mode (set by -t)
that displays the commands that it's running in the background.

Feta is available for download at
and a signature (which should match the one on this email) at

It's not done yet. Functions I commonly use not implemented yet are:
 - searching for a file in a package
 - listing files in a package
 - searching a package description
 - building and installing source packages

Also, it's implemented in Perl. Depending on your point of view, this is
either good or bad.

I have three questions about it:

1. Is this something that Debian is interested in packaging and providing?
2. If so, would a name change to 'apt' or something more obvious to users
   be in order?
3. Also if so, what other functionality would you like to see added? I
   think it would be best to avoid have too many commands, since many
   parts of dpkg/apt aren't user-oriented (e.g. -fsys-tarfile) or might
   cause problems when a frontend is used (e.g. --force).

 - Joe "piman" Wreschnig <piman@sacredchao.net> - http://www.sacredchao.net
  "What I did was justified because I had a policy of my own... It's okay
   to be different, to not conform to society."
                                         -- Chen Kenichi, Iron Chef Chinese

Attachment: pgpVBAwXY3sWZ.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: