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Infrastructure for meta-distribution projects

Hello Debian-Jr, Debian-Med and Debian-Edu people,

The Debian-Lex mailing list just opened last week, but I would like to
draw from the experience of our related sub-projects and get some
ground-rules sorted out before we make too many irreversible decisions.

Debian-Jr (which I'll use as an example, being the first) has:

* A task called "Debian-Jr" that installs a bunch of metapackages
* A bunch of metapackages depending on various packages, some
  of which are specifically packaged for Debian-Jr and some not
* A bunch of packages whose names begin with junior-*
* (Not yet implemented) A group that a Debian-Jr user should be added
  to in order to enable customised menus and maybe other features
* A documentation package regarding installation of the system

Have I left anything much out?

I am wondering whether this is still the best way to approach it.  In
particular, although the task "Debian-Jr" installs a base Debian-Jr
system, in order to install additional packages you have to manually go
through the list of packages and look for packages that begin with the
prefix "junior-".  This seems clunky and difficult.

With the new package tags system (although not integrated into the
installer yet), we can presumably do away with this.  We may well still
have a task that would install a base Debian-Lex system, but for
additional or alternative packages we would run a tags browser which (by
default) would filter for packages with the "legal" tag, and offer the
users sub-tags that they could use for further filering or grouping
(these would replace the metapackages that Debian-Jr uses now).  Or, we
could go further than that, and do away with a task altogether, and
*just* use package tags.

What do people think is the best way to go?

Also, does anyone feel that there should be a separate installer that
installs Debian-Lex by default instead of just Debian?  That way, we can
hand it to a user and say "Here is a Debian-Lex CD" rather than "Here is
a Debian CD, and here is some documentation about how to use it to
install Debian-Lex".  Ideally, this ought to just involve a simple
change to Debian Installer or boot-floppies, without the need to change
anything else in the main distribution (a la Knoppix).  Logically, all
the meta-distributions ought to collaborate on this.

JEREMY MALCOLM <Jeremy@Malcolm.id.au> Personal: http://www.malcolm.id.au
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