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Re: Usability: Technical details in package descriptions?

On Sat, 2005-07-23 at 01:21 -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>         Because that information is not presented to me in aptitude,
>  one of the preferred front ends to package management.  Once the deb
>  tags system gets integrated into the front ends, the long description
>  can stop shouldering some of the load of presenting all the
>  useful/relevant infdormation to the user interested in making an
>  informed decision.

Your criticism is valid.  Indeed this is a flaw in the current proposal.
But on one point, I think you have been unfair.  I believe you have
mistaken enthusiasm for an idea that is good, but cannot yet be fully
implemented without the appropriate tools in place and the cooperation
of maintainers, with a "shrill" defense of a weak proposal.  The
proposal does need refinement to account for pieces of the system that
are not ready yet, and to clarify when package descriptions should be
changed today, but it is not fundamentally flawed.

I do not believe anyone in this thread has claimed that appropriate
mention of the langauge appears in the description now should be
removed.  If I gave this misimpression, please understand this is not
what I meant.  I merely challenge maintainers to consciously compensate
for our implementation-centric bias as developers, recognizing that
users focus on utility.  If those users are themselves developers,
certainly implementation will be important.  If they are, as a rule,
not, we should think twice about including "implementation trivia" in
our descriptions.

I see potential for debtags to help streamline the information in our
package descriptions down to the essential qualities that help a typical
user decide whether or not they want to try the package.  This is by no
means a "dumbing down" of package descriptions.  The process can start
now, both with the voluntary removal by maintainers of non-essential
details from their own descriptions and supporting the development of


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