Providing more information to users about a package

James Westby jw+debian at
Sat May 24 08:16:21 PDT 2008

Hi all,

I'm at the airport on my way back from UDS. One of the sessions we
did there was a phone conference with Richard Hughes (on Cc) about
PackageKit. We got on to talking about wider issues, including how to
provide more information about a package when a user is thinking about
installing it, including things like screenshots.

It would be great to do this in a cross-disto fashion, as most of the
information is going to work for everyone. Obviously there are things
like the theme used in screenshots that will change this, but perhaps
it is not so important.

One possibility is for us to just get all this information and stick
it on a server somewhere, and then make the tools retrieve it as needed.
However, this would probably be a lot of data, and may also have
a lot of users retrieving it.

Debian now has support for a "Homepage" field in debian/control, and
I'm told that rpm spec files also contain this information. My 
suggestion was to use this, and have the upstream projects provide
everything that we need, distributing the problem.

We could draw up a standard way to make this information available,
and then ask upstream projects to do so. It would obviously take
a while before it is available for a large number of packages.

Are there existing standards like DOAP that we could make use of
here to get a head start? Does anyone see any problems with this

I imagine that just adding a clickable link to the homepage in the
package tools would get us a long way, and be far easier to do.



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