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About package cathegories, with a summer present


Recently I had an idea for a better organization of a collection of many
items, be they browser bookmarks, application launchers in a menu or
packages in a Linux distribution.

As a hierarchy of items has some flaws, tagging every item with a set of
cathegories or attribute names seems to be a better solution.  I've been
a bit outside Gnome development lately, but I've been told that Gnome is
doing things in this way for .desktop files.

The idea is a method for converting these tagged collections in a
hierarchy, in a way that can guarantee some navigability features in the
resulting tree.  This is better explained in a small draft paper I wrote
that you can find at http://people.debian.org/~enrico/tcat_draft.pdf .

I wrote a commandline program implementing the sorting algorithm for
XBEL galeon bookmarks; you can find it at

I also wrote a proof-of-concept GUI application to do maintenance on a
bookmark collection using this tagging idea, and you can find it in the
same package of the commandline sorting tool above.

The GUI application has been written with just the intent to experiment
with possible operation on the bookmarks using the tagging phylosophy,
and it's not to be considered an application for the end user;
nevertheless, I've used it with some luck to organize my messy bookmark

All code is, of course, GPLed.

I've just posted the announce in usability@gnome.org, as an idea for the
Gnome-foot menu and for organizing Galeon bookmarks.  I'm also
announcing it here because:

 - I've tried to look for similar algorithms, but I haven't found that
   much.  I can imagine that the idea is too simple to be original, but
   I'd like some evidence on it, and maybe more audience can increase
   the probability of hitting something;
 - If the idea is good, it could be used for generating the hierarchy of
   the Debian menu and to organize the lots of packages we have;
 - If the idea has flaws, I'd like to know it, and if the flaws aren't
   that critical, maybe discuss possible solutions for what concerns
   Debian needs;
 - If you have proposals for more features for the two applications I've
   written, I'd like to implement them.

I've rushed to be able to release something functional before leaving
for vacation; I've made it, but the departure is scheduled for this
sunday.  I'm in time to make the proposal, but I won't be able to
participate for long to a possibile discussion.  However, I'll pick up
all mail when I'll be back, in the last week of august, and I'll be
available from then on.

Bye, Enrico

GPG key: 1024D/797EBFAB 2000-12-05 Enrico Zini <enrico@debian.org>

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