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Re: Infrastructure for meta-distribution projects

On Wed, Jun 04, 2003 at 02:24:42PM +0800, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:
> * 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

I'm not convinced tying menus to groups is the Right Way.  Custom menus is 
a preference/role/skill level thing, not a permission thing, so to tie it to 
a group seems to be a perversion of what groups are for.  So that leaves 
"maybe other features" and I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to 

> * A documentation package regarding installation of the system

Installation is trivial.  What is probably more helpful is the as-yet-
unwritten guide for administrators of Debian Jr. systems to guide them 
through configuration for their particular needs.

> 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.

Well, you can use aptitude to browse the task dependencies and install each
meta package individually.

> 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?

Well, tags are handy for packages obviously belonging to "legal".  But what
about packages that are not specifically legal-oriented but which -Lex feels
belong in a base -Lex system?  Is it appropriate to also tag these "legal"? 
Meta packages provide precise and centralized selection of a set of
"recommended" packages.  I see tags as being more useful for people trying
to locate other material not necessarily selected to be part of the
subproject, but which still may be within the same scope of interest for the
subproject user.  You could have a package tagged "legal" that is not yet as
stable/full-featured as an alternative, and is therefore not recommended by
-Lex.  However, a user finding the "recommended" alternative inadequate, or 
who is just curious to see what else is out there may locate this package 
with the tag browser.  Of course, you could argue that we could still use 
a "lex" tag to differentiate between packages "blessed" by the -Lex 
subproject and "legal" for everything else.  But then you have two tags that 
mean almost the same thing, and therefore inevitable confusion among 
developers over which to use, and users which to search for.

> 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.

Yes!  This is one of my goals for Debian Jr.

 ,-.  nSLUG    http://www.nslug.ns.ca   synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
 \`'  Debian   http://www.debian.org    synrg@debian.org
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