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Application Search Database

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ma_d's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-07

Being unable to install software is a common problem cited when it comes to average Joe using GNU/Linux. But, I think, the harder part is just figuring out the name of the program you need to do a task.

You're Joe User, and you're new to Linux. You finally figure an e-mail client out and your Aunt sends you pictures of the family, including your ex-gf. Well, you know you want to just color right over that _____. So, now what? What program edits images? Wouldn't it be nice if you could search somewhere: "I want to edit an image."

So, the thought is, a website which contains a database of Linux compatible applications (mostly Free I imagine) that you can search. It'd only need to go over keywords really and it'd tell you what applications do it, allow users to post comments about the applications, and tell you how to install it on several distributions. Even if the application is not in the distribution, it could at least tell you how to install it via source (from several distributions).

It should probably also let you filter your results by your distribution, and actually help you figure out what distribution you're running. Often this can be done with just the user agent string, but there's always some heuristic way to get at it from the users standpoint, they just don't know them.

What do you guys think? Does it too closely re-replicate what you can already do on apt frontends? I know apt has a NASTY tendency to give faaar too many search results. We could narrow things down quite a ways, obviously by discluding libraries.
It could also be a useful center for geeks who just don't know which applications are the best for something new they're trying.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Sounds like a good idea! I

Sounds like a good idea! I think this could be done by creating kind of directory of application programs categorized with tags rather than fixed categories old style directories are using.

If tags are properly assigned and if enough tags are assigned to an entry representing an application then the search applied to that directly should have a fair chance at finding exactly what it is supposed to find.

In alot of cases, though, it may even be enough to just click on a proper tag in a tag cloud of some kind that is closely associated with what the user is looking for.

Here's an example. Say we list Inkscape into this directory. The entry for inkscape could be tagged as drawing, graphics, vector and possibly design and svg.

Or we could have evince tagged as pdf reader, gnome which would quite simply say that it's a GNOME PDF reader.

Or something more exotic; hydrogen, a drum machine sequencer, could be tagges as music, sequencer, drums or something like that.

I think it could work quite well this way, as long as tags aren't too technical and instead kept on terms that can be easily understood to general population.

And the technology needed to do this is already available thanks to Drupal we're using on this site which allows for tagging and has a tag cloud module as well as search engine. Only thing we need is to create an additional section with a proper content type (for individual entries) where each entry can have some basic information like application name, homepage URL, possibly documentation URL and very brief and to the point instructions to install on some of the major distributions.

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
freshmeat doesn't use tags

freshmeat doesn't use tags (at least it didn't last time I used it), but does something similar to what you describe.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Freshmeat could be used as a

Freshmeat could be used as a base, but this could be a more friendly database. I think that some of the category titles on Freshmean may be a bit too technical for some users and not all are task oriented.

If we make this friendlier and simpler to browse through, using easy to identify task oriented tags for categorization and extensive freshmeat database to find projects to list, we might end up with a good thing.

Btw, I think Freashmeat also includes libraries. This database would be just for actual programs and applications and no extra clutter.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
So what do you think of this

So what do you think of this overall? MA_D, any further thoughts?

If you agree it could be a worthy project then I am willing to put it on my to do list and start working on it. We can discuss the progress and improvements together. Of course, some support and help would be great, at least to add new application entries. Eye

Thanks

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
Isn't this what Linux App

Isn't this what Linux App Finder does?

dylunio

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Indeed there is linux app.

Indeed there is linux app. finder and the extension on LFDO the DIR's section.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Oh good points. I suppose

Oh good points. I suppose ours would then pretty much be unnecessary.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
Table of Equivalents

Doesn't our Table of Equivalents on the Libervis wiki work?

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
It does indeed a_thing as it

It does indeed a_thing as it seems many people are using it (judging from the traffic it's been getting).

Well that's another reason why it's probably best to not do this particular idea. Smiling