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Re: Why apt-get is not a proper software search engine (was Re: And now for something completely different... etch!)

On Tue, Jun 07, 2005 at 09:06:16PM +0200, Alban Browaeys wrote:
> Le Tue, 07 Jun 2005 19:40:52 +0200, Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña a
> écrit :
> > No package frontend I am aware of can currently pull that stunt. Aptitude
> > or dselect can only search in the package names ('/' key). Synaptic can
> > search in the descriptions (with equivalent results as apt-get).
> This was about debtags i guess . Which is deterministic . Thought he idea
> of providing feedback about popcon is great . Why not a "I feel lucky"
> like search which looks for the debtags and retrieve the most popular one
> from a cache of popcon results ... .

Debtags might not cut it either, but might be an improvement over a free 
keyword search which ends up turing the wron packages just because they 
have the word used in the query. A good search function could:

- use keywords/tags (using boolean logic or even regular expressions)
- use package sections and priorities to adjust results (few users look 
directly for 'libs' or 'oldlibs')
- use package dependancies to ponder if this is an end-user package or 
something pulled in by other packages (users typically look for end-user 
- use popcon to priorise results (users typically look for programs many 
others use)
- i18n/l10n search, through translation of package descriptions (so that 
searching in != english is possible)

an improvement over the 1st thing (keyword search) would be the use of
"intelligent" text analysis tools (bayesian analysis, N-grams, TFIDF and
the like). For an example implementation of this take a look at
remembrance-agent (which uses the 'bag of words' library: bow)



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