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Re: [RFC] New task: science-dataacquisition

Andreas Tille <tillea@rki.de> writes:

> On Tue, 8 Dec 2008, Chris Walker wrote:
> > [1] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianScience/Physics
> Interesting page.  Do you want to save some time while generating nicer and
> more feature rich output?  


> If yes you should tell me that you volunteer to
> maintain
>      svn://svn.debian.org/svn/cdd/projects/physics/trunk/debian-physics
> after I gave you a kick-start by turning the entries from your wiki into
> tasks files (which I could probably do until Sunday).  The immediate effect
> would be to have finer grained tasks pages for physics packages (including
> translations for those packages where DDTP has translations), bugs pages
> and hopefully soon an overview about watch status.  The long term effect
> would be that there might evolved a grown up Debian Physics Blend.  Your
> Wiki can be considered as the first step 

Indeed. The big advantage of the wiki is the ease with which anyone
can edit it and categorise things themselves (my initial
categorisations of the chemistry packages were rapidly improved by a
real chemist for example).

> - IMHO it is time to do the next.

Let me think about it - I'm not yet convinced we gain more than we lose. 

> Regarding the time saving aspect: The dataacquisition page took me about
> 15 minutes (the green entries only one minute, the othes costs some
> research on upstream websites).  Do you think the Wiki can compete with
> this?

No it can't. I really like the fact that the tasks pages can generate 
things like version information and homepage automatically.

What the wiki can do, and the tasks can't do (at least not yet) is
have sections and subsubsections and potentially some explanatory
text. This allows you to group packages that perform similar tasks
near each other - which makes it easier to ignore packages you aren't
interested in. If you use metapackages, you end up having information
spread across several pages - which just makes it harder to find.

To take a recent example, if you knew engauge-digitizer could extract
numbers from bitmap graphs, but it didn't do quite what you want, how
do you find g3data? With the current implementation of tasks, you
would have to look through a dozen or more other packages in the
dataacquisition task to find it[1,3]. With subsubsections, the
packages would be next to each other in the list.

In an ideal world, I think we should be able to generate something
like https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuScience#Physics
automatically - with an option of long description or short
description (to make it easier to scan down the entire list)[4].

I think the wiki should then contain some explanation of how to put
the bits together, and reviews that compare the merits of different
packages. I've started the latter at


[1] You'd also have to be aware of its existance in the first place[2]
and guess that it is in the data acquisition (or perhaps image
analysis) metapackage.

[2] Knowing that such cool software exists in the first place is
perhaps a more difficult problem to solve.

[3] The Ubuntu list also mentions a third package in that category -
"Plot Digitizer - A Java program used to digitize scanned plots of
functional data. " I don't think it is packaged for Debian, and don't
know how it compares with the other two. 

[4] I haven't had the time to look into doing this yet :-(.

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