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RFC: Categories instead of Section - reworked

i reworked my proposal and ask for comments again.


GNU Trove Categories for Debian Packages

Dselect has been the bug-a-boo scaring novice users from installing Debian.
Tasksel, aptitude, console-apt and gnome-apt have already improved the
situation a lot.  But actually woody is suffering even more from a literally
big problem:
Debian is getting too big. Experienced users will rely to "apt-cache search",
but what will novice users do? They do not even know what software choice they
do have with Debian.

** What Debian needs is an easy way to browse packages. **

This topic _has_ been discussed multiple times in the last few years.
But I see the need to come to a solution, and i'd be happy if we could at least
get the basics into woody.

I reworked a previous proposal by me, and reduced it to GNU Trove Categories
which should be easier to understand, manage and write understandable
frontends for ;)

Current Situation:
Debian has about 8000 Packages (from tausq's Package list, including non-free)
They used to be divided into sections such as "web", "mail", "net",
"electonics", "admin", "x11", but they became very unevenly balanced.
For example "electonics" has less than 30 Packages, x11 contains all the
kde and gnome applications which makes up for > 500 Packages.
In Woody, this separation was mostly removed with the package pool.
Furthermore lots of programs would fit into more than one section
(for example an x11 mail reader, x11 games etc.)

Aptitude has some experimental Package Browser included which is a really
nice thing. Unfortunately the categorization is included in the aptitude
package and can only be changed by updating aptitude (currently).

Freshmeat and Sourceforge have a common software map based on GNU Trove.

Debian software packages should be categorized in a system based upon
GNU Trove; so people familar with freshmeat and sourceforge will quickly
find the software they are looking for.
GNU Trove is expected to be a good way to categorize software; it might
need some Debian specific modifications though (such as data-packages
split off from the original software)

Instead of the "Section" I propose using a "GNU-Trove" field, containing multiple
values from a central category list.

There is need for
- a commitee for accepting necessary modifications of GNU Trove
- translators
- frontends (preferrably inclusion into aptitude, deity, gnome-apt etc.)

Frontends should allow browsing and filtering like freshmeat does.
(like displaying packages with an OSI-Approved licence only etc.)

- Easier browsing of package lists, especially for newbies
- Same categories as freshmeat.net and sourceforge.net

- Every Package needs to be updated sometime (or overridden in the archive)
- Debian Policy Change
- Slower Frontends (more filtering of package lists)

- get the GNU Trove list and convert it into some Packages-similar data format
- Add "GNU-Trove:" field to packages
- Write Frontends

- Frontends should be kept in unstable until a good amount of packages has GNU-Trove categories
- two releases after Sections are no longer required by any tool, "Sections" can be dropped


That's it,

Erich Schubert

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