Thursday, April 17, 2008

[RFC] Maemo package guidelines: mandatory categories

Here is my first suggestion to clean up the complete mess we have at the moment when it comes to package categories in the maemo extras repository. There is no official list of categories, which has brought us to state we are in now.

We have these nice categories for example: 'Boingo', 'Canola'. Those should never be a category by themselves. We also have a lot of duplicates like 'cli' ,'Commandline' and 'Web','www' and 'Utilities','utils'.

This really has to stop as this is confusing for end users. We, the maemo community, need to find a solution and fix this.

If we look at Debian, we can see that they have the following list of categories:

admin, base, comm, contrib, devel, doc, editors, electronics, embedded, games, gnome, graphics, hamradio, interpreters, kde, libs, libdevel, mail, math, misc, net, news, non-free, oldlibs, otherosfs, perl, python, science, shells, sound, tex, text, utils, web, x11

My suggestion would be to base our list off the Debian list and remove the categories that are not suitable for Maemo. We might also want to add some categories if we find some missing.

admin, comm, devel, doc, editors, games, graphics, interpreters, mail, net, news, utils

and add:

desktop, database, education, internet, multimedia, office, scientific, security, system, travel

Please feel free to suggest other categories. Try to keep them as broad as possible. I would really like to get a list of categories where every application can be in at least one category. It would be nice not to need the 'misc' or 'other' category.

Perhaps it would also be a good idea to have the Application Manager display the pretty name for each category. e.g. comm -> Communication. That might be step 2 though.

I also would like your feedback on this idea:
"For diablo we only accept packages in the extras/extras-devel repositories when they have a valid category."

I'm really not sure if we can do this in time for diablo, but at least we can try to get the community to agree on this. I don't think we can do anything for existing repositories, but at least we could try for the new ones.

Please respond with your ideas in the comments section, but keep it to the category subject only.


There seems to be a list of categories for the Application Manager. I don't think that list has enough categories, but it is a start.


SirFelix said...

As a newbie to Linux, I must agree. I pried my lips away from the Microsoft Windows teet only to be dazed and confused with this new environment.

If the non-Microsoft community wants to gain a market share they need to cater to folks that just want something that works and easy to find/install. Some of us aren't Unix savvy or iGearheads. And until you focus on this market you won't get the support needed to turn some hardcore heads at both Apple and Microsoft.

Mr said...

This is a good idea. Please please make it happen.

Nick said...

Great idea; I'd love to see the list of categories cleaned up.

I'd love to see the Application Manager in general get some love.

Some things that bug me:

-Clean up the category names as you've already mentioned.

-Make better use of space; the list of category buttons could be three columns wide, rather than one long list. I'd like to see a concise enough list of categories that they could all fit onto one screen with finger sized buttons. Then give each category a nice thumbnail.

-Make the UI more finger-friendly. While the category buttons are large enough to press easily, scrolling isn't possible without a stylus.

-Increase performance, perhaps through better use of caching or eliminating reloading of package lists. Current performance is only acceptable with default repositories and perhaps Maemo Extras. Once you start to add in more repos/catalogs, performance goes into the toilet. Think about removing things like package size from the default view; if I need to see how large it is, I can always pull up the detail view.

Speaking of details, I hate how the application manager forces a refresh of the package list in some situations but not others. If you double-tap a package and then cancel, it will refresh. If you select a package and tap details, then cancel, you return to the package list without a (lengthy) refresh. Why the difference?

Arthur said...

This has to be done for Diablo, there is no question about it. Blowing this off until the next release (major or otherwise) has been the situation for the last 12-18 months. Maemo/Nokia/the Community needs to put their collective foot down and deal with this mess once and for all, and the sooner the better. Ignoring this problem is simply not acceptable - I'd rather Diablo was delayed than put up with this mess any longer.

Guidelines are clearly not being followed, so *nothing* should go into extras/extra-devel until it meets minimum quality requirements as determined by an independent party and *NOT* the developer. And since Nokia developers are the worst offenders, they most definitely should not be excluded from having to hit the quality benchmark that consitutes entry to extras/extras-devel for Diablo.

If Nokia can't get the basics right with these devices, and by that I mean properly organised repositories, then please Nokia just do us all a favour and forget what you are doing and stick to crappy Symbian and mobile phones. Leave Linux distros and the basics of software distribution to those that can.

geneven said...

When I am looking for something in Applications Manager, I always look in the All category. It works ok. You don't need to be Linux savvy to use All.

Valery Tolkov said...

I love the idea. Currently the only way is using All.

Another thing, we need something to do with is multiple dependent canola, gcomprize, gpe packages. Really, we do not need all of them to be seen in the list of applications. But this is another story.