[Exherbo-dev] Tags vs. categories

Michael Croes mycroes at gmail.com
Wed Jul 9 19:27:32 BST 2008

> So what would a user do to install a package, lets say gcc?
> First, he would search for the package, which might look like this:
> inquisitio --search --tags compiler cpp

First off, there's 2 possibilities:
1. The user knows the package name and types 'paludis -i package-name'
2. the user doesn't know the name and uses something else to find the
name out (presumably inquisitio) and then types 'paludis -i

> Then he would install the package using paludis.
> Maybe an installation mode might be possible using tags, if the tags are 
> enough to narrow it down, but maybe that might not be a good idea.
> The good thing about this is, that 1. and 2. can change, but what the 
> user uses (and he should mainly use the tags) stays the same, so a 
> change wouldn't cause as much confusion as it would if all three change.

The thing where you go wrong is that you assume that tags are part of
the unique package name. Of course you don't want tags as part of the
unique package name, you don't want a category as part of the unique
package name either. The way this turns out right now in gentoo with
paludis is that if a package exists in multiple categories you need to
provide paludis with extra information to establish the unique
identifier for the package.

> If we also (auto-)create some special tags, like system, world or 
> installed, it would also be possible to for example search for all 
> installed cpp compilers using --tags installed compilers cpp.
> (Currently one would use --kind for that.)

Let's do versions with tags too and create the Totally Tagged Package
Manager. All you need to do is figure out tags, you don't need any other
metadata than tags, that would be useless...

> But here we see the problem with tags.
> Changing tags should not have any affect on 1. or 2., so tags should are 
> not a complete replacement for the categories we currently use.
> The should be used for the user interface and only there, not for the 
> structure our repos have.

Because tags should not be part of the unique identifier for a packge
this issue doesn't exist.

The real issue when dropping categories is how to distinguish between
different packages with the same name, I think it has already been
mentioned on the mailing list before. Your email shows that having tags
fixes the issues you see with categories and shows that if you use tags
as if they were categories, stuff would go wrong. That's why they're not
called categories, they're different.


Michael Croes

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