Results of the App Installer Meeting

David Kalnischkies kalnischkies at
Thu Jan 27 09:07:21 PST 2011

On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 13:45, Andreas Tille <andreas at> wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 12:55:36PM +0100, David Kalnischkies wrote:
>> If I remember correctly, DDTP got a short mention and the result was:
>> "Wow, debian really has translations for package descriptions?!?"
>> Other distributions seem to have only failed (=very outdated) tries if any.
> IMHO this does show two things:
>  1. Debian is cool (people here know this). ;-)
>  2. Debian fails to communicate this coolness. :-(

Unfortunately yes, debtags got a similar reaction and screenshots wasn't
the best known thing either, but what this really shows is that we all fail
big-time in communication across distros as I for example personally didn't
know a single bit about zypper and the underlying sat-solver or to be fair
just a bit more than nothing about the rpm world in general.

Debian has a relatively good communication with derivates (thanks front-desk)
but between deb and rpm world¹ is a pretty big gulf and on each side we
(re)invent the wheel as its hard enough to communicate about your cool
new $something in your own world, the "aliens" are even harder to app-roach…

¹ don't even thing of 'world of gentoo' or arch or one of the others now…

I am thinking of the AppStream project therefore as a big experiment to
work together and I have the strong hope that we can find more places
where we can work on together instead of against each other.

>> AppStream focuses on translations of the name, keywords and (short)
>> summary managed by upstream. We talked shortly about longer descriptions
>> (possibly with markdown) but this would easily blow up the currently
>> rather small app-data.xml similar to how the long descriptions are quiet
>> a big part of our Packages files currently - beside the problem: Who will
>> write these descriptions: Upstream is not necessarily the best author…
> The question is: What is a "short" summary.  From my packaging

Approximation: It is our first line of the long description - at least that
is how it is called in rpm world as they have a difference between
summary and (long) description.
There are btw many ambitions resulting from the gulf as we developed
different names for essential the same thing (sections, recommends)…

> For the content itself: I agree that upstream is not necessarily the
> best author but I assume that maintainers in other dists are doing it
> quite similar to waht we do in Debian: Revise a text from upstream or
> try to invent one.  So the descriptions are there - we just need to
> define what a "good" (short) description is (there are bad examples
> as well[2])

Thats another usecase of package name matching: "look at how debian
describes the 'same' package compared to fedora."

Sharing is maybe difficult as some descriptions mention alternatives
and/or comparisons to other packages in the archive which is at least
inconvenient if the mentioned program isn't packaged for $your-distro.
Another thing is the rationality for suggesting an other package.
E.g.: To play this foo game on lan with your friends you need to install
the foo-lanserver on debian while mandriva ships both bundled…

Best regards

David Kalnischkies

P.S.: A LOT of mails regarding descriptions were send only to
the distributions at l.fd.o list, so we might proceed in talking there.
(beware: not subscribers are moderated which is kind of awkward, but
 heh, I don't make the rules…)

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