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Re: Menu system rewrite update (Aug 6 2002)

On Thu, 8 Aug 2002 07:35:34 -0700
Clifford Beshers <cliff.beshers@lindows.com> wrote:
> At Lindows, we just assumed that our customers would want something
> different from most Debian users, so we went ahead and wrote a tool to
> post-process the packages and change the menu entries to what we want.
>  We add desktop files 
> for all the executables, etc.  Quite a few other operations, too.
> Anyone in the company can change the category of a package by editing
> a database through a web interface.  I'm wondering if such a scheme
> might be useful in a heterogeneous environment like Debian...

That's pretty cool, and I'd love if there was a small team of people who
got to decide these things :)

But as it stands, it's pretty much at the maintainer's discretion; as
such, something flexible enough that the menu generator for, say, KDE,
can cater to its target audience and end up with one hierarchy, while
the menu generator for IceWM can cater to a different audience and get a
different hierarchy, would be good.

It's really a non-trivial proposition, as far as management goes. As far
as code goes, it's pretty easy; at one point I wrote a shell script that
would prompt me to give a package some keywords, store the keywords,
then spit out menu hierarchies suitable for Aptitude's categorical view.

Worked really well, but I totally lost interest after assigning keywords
to the first 1000 or so packages :) The result, though, was that you
could find information in different ways. There were two toplevel
categories; "Sorted by look 'n feel", and "Sorted by purpose". Well,
here's what it looked like, briefly:

/-Sorted by look 'n feel
|  |_KDE
|  | \_Calculators
|  |   \_Generic
|  |      \_ kcalc
|  |_GNOME
|    \_Calculators
|      \_Generic
|        \_ SNAC
\-Sorted by purpose
      |- SNAC
      \- kcalc

You get the idea. It was actually better, but I can't remember all the
details :)

Anyways, I'm sure I had a point.

Oh, right :) So instead of Aptitude which would display all of those
trees at once, you would have a particular menu generator (say, for
KDE), would pick an output hierarchy that is "friendlier" to their
target audience. It would be pretty trivial to do, programatically.

Lindows has pretty much standardised on KDE, and few if any of their
target market will switch desktops, so I can't imagine it being such a
big deal for you guys; lucky bastards ;)

\ David B. Harris, Systems administrator   |   http://www.terrabox.com /
/  eelf@sympatico.ca, elf@terrabox.com     |     http://eelf.ddts.net  \
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