[Exherbo-dev] Tags vs. categories

Bryan Østergaard bryan.ostergaard at gmail.com
Thu Jul 10 10:26:47 BST 2008

On Wed, Jul 9, 2008 at 11:08 PM, Michael Croes <mycroes at gmail.com> wrote:
> Actually the notion of tags solves point 3. Tags and categories are somewhat
> similar, but with categories as implemented in gentoo you limit packages to
> one category. If you extend this so packages can be in more than one
> category then you might as well call it tags so you can mix more metadata
> in. In the end you can still have a multi-level structure where you can find
> your packages, so that should not be an issue for the end user.
Categories and tags aren't as closely related as you seem to imply
here. The way I understand tags (while not at all well-defined yet) is
that tags are pure metadata about what a package is (Hey! I'm a
library, written in C++, providing bindings for libfoo and being able
to read/write PDF files) whereas categories is used to make a somewhat
clean filesystem layout of the repository and simultaneously allow
multiple packages with the same name. Tags have nothing to do with
filesystem layout. The way I see tags are much more like the
DESCRIPTION variable in exheres.

Now, extending the exheres-0 EAPI to allow the same package in
multiple categories is something I've been interested in for a long
time - we started discussing that long before tags was mentioned the
first time and there should be mentions of multilevel categories and
package aliases in the exherbo-dev archive.

Multilevel categories isn't quite as interesting to me anymore as
we've begun separating things into different repositories instead of
keeping everything in one big repository like most other distributions

Package aliases are however as interesting to me as they've always
been - allowing the apache httpd to be known as both net-www/apache
and net-www/httpd and making sure the package manager knows it's the
same package would be fairly cool imo. But that only makes it easier
to find the package if you know (one of) its name. Tags (as applied to
searching) would allow you to search for packages based on what
features the packages provides.

As for my own opinion about tags.. I quite like the idea on some
abstract level but I'm unsure what it should be used for besides
searching (if anything) and how tags should be implemented (both from
a developer and a user perspective). I would probably be quite
supportive of tags if we can get a proper definition and be sure we're
all talking about the same thing.

Bryan Østergaard

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