[Debtags-devel] Updating tags on svn

Justin B Rye jbr at edlug.org.uk
Sun Aug 7 00:27:49 UTC 2005

Enrico Zini wrote:
> I was instead considering having role::sw:games, role::sw:window-manager,
> role::sw:terminal, because I think that role::sw:utility is still not an
> acceptable catch-all for "anything that you wouldn't shrink-wrap".[1]

If anything, I'd rather go to entirely the opposite extreme and
advocate the merging of role::sw:utility with role::sw:application.

The role:: facet isn't well-suited to the task of describing what
users are going to do with an application; instead it deals with the
way packages relate to one another, and "package that provides
independent executables" is only one role.  There's some trace of a
difference between role::sw:utility and role::sw:application in
terms of *how* independent they are... not necessarily enough of a
difference to have any practical value in searches. 

Well, to be honest, getting those two to be merged is very low on my
wishlist.  But I really would prefer to have fewer rather than more
role:: tags.  Take for instance role:sw::applet.  Is it really a
useful category?  There are two kinds of dock-apps: 
a) ordinary X applications that are only called dock-apps because
   they're small and square and look nice arranged along the edge of
   your desktop - which if anything sounds like a subcategory of
b) things that only work in (say) the GNOME panel, which is indeed a
   role in the same sense as the other role::sw: categories, but one
   that as far as I can see is perfectly well covered by tagging
   them as role::sw:plugin, suite::gnome. 
Some of those role::content: types might be candidates for a cull
too - if we're going to distinguish them on the basis of what kind
of data they're made of, we can do that more effectively by way of
the made-of:: facet. 
It's not the "bloat" that I worry about, exactly; I wouldn't object
to extra role:: tags that genuinely belonged under that facet.  But
category erosion is a problem, because it makes the system less of a

> I mean, I think that games, window-managers and terminals are special
> kinds of software no less than 'driver', 'input-method' or 'utility'
> are, and I can indeed see a value in providing categories for them.

Actually I don't see understand why it is that we have
role::sw:driver or role::sw:input-method.  Drivers are simply
role::aux:shlib packages associated with a specific kind of
hardware::, aren't they?  And as for input-methods... they might
deserve to be specially handled under accessibility:: somewhere, but
surely they're just servers?  They don't relate to other packages in
any particularly interesting way.  (Or if they do, why aren't you
also suggesting role::sw:x-server and role::sw:getty?)

> So, question: if we think that adding them to role::sw is bloating,
> where can we put them instead?

If users want to search for a window-manager, they already can -
there's an x11::window-manager tag entirely dedicated to the purpose
of marking out window-managers.  If people want to search for a
terminal-emulator, they already can - there's an
x11::terminal-emulator tag entirely dedicated to the purpose of 
marking out terminal-emulators.

If we start duplicating the distinctions we've already got into the
role:: facet, there's no end to the list of things we could add.
Why not role::sw:text-editor? 
Ankh kak! (Ancient Egyptian blessing)

More information about the Debtags-devel mailing list