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Re: Package names don't matter too much

Tilo Schwarz <list@tilo-schwarz.de> wrote:

> From a techical point of view a package name is a key to identify a 
> package. This key can be fed to various tools (like dpkg, BTS, 
> apt-cache, ...) to perform some action. 

Don't forget google, mailing list archives, or other search engines.

> Now with the package name all the package (meta-) data can be accessed. 
> A simple "apt-cache show foo" gives me all kinds of information besides 
> the important Description:-field which is the semantics associated with 
> the "key" package name. If I search for a package I use something like 
> "apt-cache search X terminal emulator" and get a nice output with lines 
> like (besides others) 
> aterm - Afterstep XVT - a VT102 emulator for the X window system
> lynx - Text-mode WWW Browser
> rxvt - VT102 terminal emulator for the X Window System
> terminal - Terminal Emulator for GNUstep
> wterm - An rxvt based, color xterm replacement
> I don't mind what "key" is used, the one line description sais it all. 
> So for me as a user the package name doesn't matter, the package 
> description (and the other meta-data) matters.

There's more to a package name than just being a key to tools. It is
the name by which one remembers the software, even when he or she
doesn't really know it; it is the name one uses when asking a friend (or
Dr. Google) about it.

> So this nameing discussion is about what package data should be mangled 
> into the package name, in this case especially what dependency data. 

You wanted the discussion to be more general - then please acknowledge
that it is not only, or even mainly, about dependencies. I have learned
that I don't need to activate some GNUstep desktop to use cddb.bundle or
terminal.app, so this is no reason to prepend "gnustep-". 

There are more reasons, among them the wish to have names that can
easily be recognized and memorized, and the wish to have a name that, if
it isn't unique, at least makes it possible to distinguish the program
from others: Not only in a technical sense, but in human language.

> To conclude, I'd be still a happy Debian user even if Sarge would be 
> released with just three letter package names ;-).

I would definitely not be happy, and I think that package names do

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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