[Fedora-packaging] code vs. content

Toshio Kuratomi a.badger at gmail.com
Sat Nov 21 18:59:25 UTC 2009

On Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 12:26:38PM +0100, Yaakov Nemoy wrote:
> > Actually I'd expect such a repository to either starve out soon or to evolve
> > into a huge Fedora "-media", "-tube", "-tunes", "-flickr" or similar.
> That is exactly the idea.
> 1) It starves, and then we say, told you so, now get back to doing
> real packaging work.
> 2) It turns into a blob of a media repository, attracts a certain kind
> of attention and grows into its own project, i don't see anything
> wrong there either. This has some potential for alot of people, such
> as OLPC. Having Fedora's expertise on how to do packaging right means
> this project gets better quality too.
> 3) It finds a middle ground between the two. Now we're stuck with the
> tricky part where we have to evaluate if it fits in Fedora or not. The
> catch is we can't predict how it will develop though, so we can't even
> begin to discuss it.
> In all three scenarios, the idea is to let such a concept play out.
> Rather than trying to discuss it's merits now, just let it happen, and
> we can make a better decision later.
One technical point -- I don't think that Fedora rpm packaging is really the
right technology for this.  I don't think it scales to what we want.  I
don't know of any code-oriented packaging that would.

Here are some of the limitations I see:
* namespace:  I package londonpictures.  You also have pictures of london...
  what do you call your package?
* repository size:  How many individual photos are there on flikr?
  Potentially, we can have photo packages on that order of magnitude.
* description and search:  We're getting to the point where we have good
  searching via yum for packages.  But how do we do the same thing for
  collections of photos?  Let's say I want pictures of rubbish bins.  How
  does that pull a single picture out of the londonpictures package?

Is content useful?  Yes, I think so.  Should there be free software means of
delivering content to others, yes I think so.  Should there be a way to manage
content on your computer?  Yes, I think so.  Is rpm packaging the right way
to do that?  No, I don't think so.  Is the Fedora Project a venue where we
can try to launch a free software means of doing this?  I do think it fits
in with our mission.  I'm unsure of the overall benefit to our users (there
*are* definite benefits in certain areas -- like being able to search Project
Gutenberg, use a netbook like an ebook reader, have data for mapping
software, etc)  however, there might be other, distro neutral projects that
we should work more closely with to achieve these goal -- for instance,
partner with open street maps to let people upload and share mapping
information there but provide a standard location for it to be on the
filesystem, help code libraries and APIs to search and download them from
the network to the local machine, and building desktop tools that use that

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