May 26, 2008

User's feedback

I got some feedback from users about managing software.

Raúl Moratalla. who has been blogging about using 11.0 ZYpp/YaST in 10.3, suggests two changes:

  • Updated packages filter.

Adding that feature is really easy. However, 11.0 is almost out.

  • New packages filter

This shouldn’t be impossible, but I don’t have an idea on how to do it. I think we don’t have the information on when a package appears in a repository, and even worse, we don’t keep information about the previous refresh when finishing one.

John Tomas asks and suggests an easier way to remove applications. I think the use case is valid, but I don’t like the exact proposal, specifically, I don’t like user interfaces with trees. And adding more check boxes for repo removal clutters the interface more. Moreover, I think this usecase is just part of a more generic one, how to install applications, without worrying about “packages”. This problem is already being solved by, for example, Ubuntu Appinstaller.

This problem could be solved in various way.

  • Packages could be “tagged” as such.

However that requires changing the current world, therefore it won’t work.

  • Do a .desktop file -> package mapping.

Ubuntu appinstaller does this by scanning the complete distribution archive, and generating special metadata from it. This metadata is distributed as a package called appinstaller-data. This method is sane, but the approach of scanning the distribution archive won’t work with 3rd party repositories.

Stephan Binner has a prototype for the same concept on openSUSE, called app-installer.

Any other ideas on how to solve this problem?