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Semantics of objects in UDD : seeking more standardization, interoperability ?


(message about UDD, CC-ed to qa list, although I'm not so sure it
belongs here)

I've just already responded (Message-Id:
<1234456666.7959.46.camel@hortense>) to Enrico Zini on d-d@l.d.o about
the lack of semantics (in the sense of Semantic Web standards used to
convey ontological references, like RDF schema, etc.) in the outputs of
DDE, so this message's subject is quite similar.

I guess the same kind of criticism indeed transitively applies to UDD
(DDE exports UDD data, IIUC).

The meaning of the data in the database comes from the choices done at
database schema design time, and in the code that injects data to UDD
(sometimes not in obvious ways, as it seems there are inconsistencies
preventing links between tables, for good reasons).

I'm thinking about trying to help improve that situation, maybe by
providing some docs first (UML diagrams and more ?). The goal is to
enable the use of "commonly agreed" semantics for representation of some
data, at extraction time, for instance.

For instance, that could imply mapping bug attributes to EvoOnt BOM (or
baetle) ontology (http://www.ifi.uzh.ch/ddis/evo/).

As a (rencent) maintainer of bts-link, and in the frame of project
(https://picoforge.int-evry.fr/cgi-bin/twiki/view/Helios_wp3/Web/) I'm
thinking about mapping Debian "facts" to such standard ontologies. That
would help for instance making semantic links between bugs in different
bugtrackers in a more standard way, which would supposedly enable easier
implementation if all bugtrackers understood the same RDF dialects, for

We're trying to evaluate the mapping of different bugtracker's data to
EvoOnt at http://code.google.com/p/baetle/wiki/EvoOntBomMappings for
instance (debbugs is on our list).

I have written a short piece on the subject
(http://www-public.it-sudparis.eu/~berger_o/weblog/2009/02/10/udd-swim-flossmetrics-facts-databases-about-libre-software-distributions-going-semantic/) after the FOSDEM, and I'd like to get your comments on these ideas.

Of course, more semantics may not be necessary from the strict immediate
needs of Debian-specific tools. But I imagine that using standard
representation formats (for the same semantics of similar objects), QA
tools could be "ported" from distributions to other distributions, and
eventually manage inter-distributions data.

An immedate example would be sharing the "database" of links between
related bugs (forwarded-to like) allover the net between all
distributions bugtrackers, enabling maintainers to explore the graph of
interrelated bugs to ease identification of similar work done by other

Comments, flames much welcome.

Best regards,
Olivier BERGER <olivier.berger@it-sudparis.eu>
http://www-public.it-sudparis.eu/~berger_o/ - OpenPGP-Id: 1024D/6B829EEC
Ingénieur Recherche - Dept INF
Institut TELECOM, SudParis (http://www.it-sudparis.eu/), Evry (France)

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