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Re: Please Improve Debian for Multimedia Production

Andreas Tille wrote:

>> After reading the documentation, I still don't know if a blend is useful for
>> us. Blends seem to be some kind of cooler tasks, is that true?
> Well, the terminology was taken over from tasksel at some former point
> in time - but it is a little bit more.

Could you elaborate a bit? From what I gather (after reading the docs and
skipping through the pages you have referenced), all I see are tasks (enhanced
with metapackages with Recommends), and a nice web frontend. I'm pretty sure
I'm missing something here. 

>> For them to be
>> really useful there should be clearly defined use cases that justify creating
>> the metapackages and tasks, for which I'm afraid there aren't in the
>> multimedia world. Other than ardour or audacity, every multimedia user will
>> probably use a different set of tools for doing their work (ie, there are
>> lots of alternative software synthesizers/effects processors/whatever). If
>> there is no such clear set of tools, is there a point in creating a blend?
> I'm not sure whether your point of view is based on your large amount of
> knowledge you might have about this field.  You definitely know what to use
> and where to look at.  Assume a person who is installing Debian the first
> time.  Which advise would you give if this person might ask you: What
> Multimedia software is inside Debian.  What should I install for a start.
> Which applications should I try to find out which might fit my needs best?

If a person asked me that giving me the freedom to choose OS, I would be at a
loss. For example, if somebody asked me: What should I install to get started
in sound synthesis? (A more concrete example, and which I know best) I would
not know what to say. There are big graphical sequencer and synth, like lmms,
or graphical synths like puredata, or text synths, like csound or
supercollider. Which one would be best? Install all of them? IME, people learn
a program/language and stick to it. It's like trying to create a Software
Development blend... it's just too broad and defined by personal preference,
with no clear better packages.

> I can not imagine that multimedia is that different from other Blends.  Look
> at the Debian Med biology task: There are more than 60 Dependencies inside
> Debian and there is not a single user who is using them all.  We sometimes
> consider to split this up to some extend but did not until now.  The fact is
> if a biologists asks you:  What biological software is inside Debian? You can
> simply answer: Lock here:
>      http://debian-med.alioth.debian.org/tasks/bio.html
> What should I install to get ready for work quickly?
>      apt-get install med-bio
> For sure this installs several applications which are not needed by every
> person - but this is no exception to any other method to install a group
> of software.  Metapackages are builded that way that you can deinstall
> every application because it uses only Recommends.  So the user can start,
> try and in case of get bored by something remove a package later.
> Blends are intending to give the flat package pool some user specific
> structure which regards the needs of a certain group of users.  And you
> as the multimedia developers are the people who know these users and
> might be able to prepare the system as good as possible.  I might imagine
> certain tasks (please be patient - it is a suggestion of a poor user
> regarding multimedia stuff, just correct me if I'm wrong about your
> purposes):
>     sound-recording
>     sound-playing
>     video-recording
>     video-playing
>     image-editors
>     image-viewers
>     note-editors  (for noteedit - no idea whether this is a reasonable
>     category name) ...

Although I wouldn't choose those tasks[1], but lets go over them to illustrate
my point. What should we put into sound-recording? All of them? The X more
popular according to popcon? The ones I use? Also, use cases overlap: I don't
think there is a sound recorder that is not also a sound player. 

> Probably syncing with existing DebTags (I did not checked these) should
> be a good advise.  Probably more fine graining needs to be done.
> At least I would *really* love to have an overview about these categories
> in Debian.  Technically you might also approach this by applying DebTags
> and my goal is to technically merge DebTags and Blends technique stronger
> in the future.  But as far as I know there is no such thing like a tasks
> or a bugs overview based on DebTags.  Moreover you are able to include
> packages into your focus which are maintained by maintainers who are not
> joining your Multimedia Team (for whatever reason).
> I hope I was able to give some reasons why a Blend makes sense.

I agree that it makes sense, at least for some users. However, maintaining a
Blend is (I assume) time consuming. What I'm wondering is if it is worth the
effort. Is it going to ease our work as a team? Is it going to make it easier
for 64studio to integrate with us? 

[1] Actually, the multimedia name is a bit misleading. It's mostly sound and
video apps/codecs.


  Felipe Sateler

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