a more simple question?

Tim Chase blinux.list at thechases.com
Tue Mar 5 18:38:26 UTC 2013

> I asked on the debian list for example to see a list of all the
> packages by category...no one  Could provide this.

On Debian, if you run "aptitude", the interface is a little unwieldy
but it does display it by categorization.  The information can be
extracted from the cache on-disk with this ugly command:

sed -n -e '/^Package: */{s///;h}'
-e'/^Section:\s*/{s///;G;s/\n/: /;p;s/.*//;h}' /var/lib/apt/lists/*{Release,Packages}
| sort -u | less

That should all be one line, and beware of the copious output (on my
Debian system, there are just shy of 30 thousand packages returned.
The results should be a sorted list of the form "category: package",
so a selection of the output might look something like

 games: angband
 games: animals
 net: apache2
 net: irssi
 web: links
 web: lynx

You could further filter those results before viewing them,
appending something like

  | grep -v '\(x11\|lib\|debug\|fonts\|kde\)'

to prevent things categorized as "x11" (GUI), libraries, debugging
builds, fonts, or the "KDE" ecosystem from showing up in the list.

I'd start by looking at just the available categories with

  sed -n '/^Section: */s///p' *{Release,Packages} | sort -u

(returns 51 categories on my machine) to see if there are any you'd
want to eliminate off the bat before digging into the actual packages

> Individual choice should be easy to engage in, no matter if others
> do not think they need the program.

And that's one of the beauties of Linux.  I have the aforementioned
~30 thousand programs *available*, but less than 2 thousand are
actually installed (many of which came stock on the system, or as
auto-installed dependencies of things I manually selected for
installation). I wouldn't expect that your personal package selection
would look anything like my package selection. (grins)


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