[maemo-users] my two big fustrations with the N800 - please help me find a workaround!

From: Neil MacLeod gmane at nmacleod.com
Date: Thu Jul 19 06:59:48 EEST 2007
James Sparenberg wrote:
>   Part of the problem (I'm peering in, not in the know on this) I can surmise 
> surrounding the lack of a single 3rd party repository comes with Nokia (the 
> company not individuals) and their legal Dept still working on getting a 
> handle on OSS and what people are used to.  I can see where legal may have 
> problems with liability in relation to what people install, if they perceive 
> that Nokia endorses it.  (which the company supplied repo would imply)  This 
> is why RH Mandriva Ubuntu etc require you to submit 3rd party packages in 
> source form for them to build/vet as well as often requiring some means of 
> verification as to who you really are.  Nokia  really does need a Dag Wiers 
> for this I think.  
>    I too would like some formality around some of this.  Perhaps a consensus 
> on package categories.  Since clicking all and then scrolling is the only 
> practical way to find out what is installable it seems that every dev has a 
> different type of category and a different way of spelling it. ;)

I totally agree on these two points.

1. We need fewer repositories, and repositories that are hosted on stable infrastructure. Too often I've added a third party repository to Application Manager in order to install one application, only for the web site to go offline for unknown reasons which then causes the Application Manager to fail when updating the catalogue - it's easy enough to fix by disabling that repository, but end users shouldn't be faced with this Russian Roulette each time they update the catalogue.

2. Consensus on categories.

I've got 7 repositories in my App Manager:

	Nokia Catalogue
	Nokia Catalogue (3rd party software)
	Maemo Main

	Pidgin On Maemo
Only the last 3 are third party repositories, but let's see what interesting collection of categories I have as a result...

Accessories     <---- Too general? Includes evince, would Office be a better choice?
Applications    <---- Again, too general?
cli             <---- All lowercase, and pretty meaningless
Communication   <---- Only contains VNC, and gets it about right
connectivity    <---- Again all lowercase, contains mnotify... hmmm Communication??
Daemon          <---- Only dropbear, maybe Communication?
Daemons         <---- Can never have enough Daemons
extras          <---- Lowercase again, contains microb-refui whatever that is...
graphics        <---- Contains an image viewer (mirage) - "Image Viewers" as a category?
home-applet     <---- So good it needed it's own home-applet category
instantmessaging <--- Bless you, Pidgin but what's wrong with Communication?
Locales         <---- Is this really necessary? Again, it's Pidgin
misc            <---- Insightful (not)
Other           <---- Mostly gaming related (fceu, visualboyadvance, xmame etc.)!
Programming     <---- Python, could have gone in Support maybe?
Protocols       <---- More Pidgin!
religion        <---- rrrrrrrr!
sound           <---- kmplayer, what's wrong with the Multimedia category?!
Support         <---- Would seem like a good category for locales, runtimes and other stuff
Tools           <---\
Utilities       <---- Tools/Utilities/utils... one category to rule them all?
utils           <---/
web             <---- privoxy... how about Daemon, Communication or connectivity?
Web             <---- wordpress... Communication or Applications perhaps

I know it will be a tough job, but there needs to be some co-ordination and perhaps even quality checking/review of packages and maybe even ground rules describing how packages should be categorised, otherwise the end product is a free for all with the ensuing mess in Application Manager.

Incorrectly and inappropriately categorised packages make it impossible to find anything when searching by Category, and the quickest option is always to perform a manual search by clicking "All", rendering the whole categorisation GUI a waste of time and effort.

Would it be possible/appropriate for Maemo to mandate a fixed number of allowable categories? Package builders would not be allowed to define and use their own categories outside of this approved list, but of course this won't be a workable solution while third party repositories proliferate. Should there ever be centralised repositories for Maemo a la Debian/Ubuntu, then part of any package acceptance process into the repository should be validation of the package categorisation.


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