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The RULE applications database

(A very rough first (kind of) working version of the database described below was reachable online through the DAn tool (see Software category on this blog))

Please read what follows first, then add as amuch data to the database as you can. Report on the mailing list any error/improvement, etc..

The goal

While discussing which packages should be included in RULE, it has become evident that, to share efficiently informations, and to easily find out and compare how much each single package would impact on overall performances, we need an online database. What I mean is some web page where we list, for each candidate application (temporary list):

  • home page
  • download link
  • RPM: exists or not?
  • maintainers
  • RAM/disk space needs
  • disk space of package plus all dependencies
  • disk space saved if only this one package is unselected
  • dependencies, i.e. other packages needed, HOW MUCH SPACE DO THEY TAKE, if they are already in by some other reason, etc..
  • used RAM if only this package runs, no files opened (maybe several figures since many packages contain more than one application)
  • “application group” (i.e. belonging to networking/ browsing/text processing/whatever)
  • selected by default
  • link to documentation
  • (links to) user comments/feedback on bugs, performance, whatever (this would also make them searchable much more easily than browsing the mailing list archives)
  • pointer to known bugs/security issues?

“Hairy Larry” and Martin Stricker have kindly volunteered to take care of this. Actually Larry, having relatively more free time and hosting possibilities, will write the code, with Martin’s and mine assistance. Everybody else willing to help, raise your hand on the list, please!

How to use the database

This tool should help us to find out how much adding one app weights on the whole system pre-install analysis: “Will this mix of packages fit in my 200 MB HDD? Let’s query the RULE app database”.

The database should make possible to know how much HDD space will be needed by a user selected combination of application and by all the packages/libraries coming along to satisfy dependencies (and the base system also, of course)

I say disk space and not RAM too because the first is known for sure, the second depends from how many applications one tries to run simultaneously, and from how big are the files they are processing, so it’s much more difficult (IMHO) to code something that will give a meaningful answer to this. The database should still give the RAM needs of each single app, though, and all the other info I mentioned in the original post, either internally, or pointing to where it is

It would also be very nice to know the relative impact of each package, i.e. “combination so and so takes 50 megs too much: I can trim it down, according to the database, either by removing these ten self contained, totally independent apps, or only BIG_APP, because then would remain 60 megs of libraries and such not needed by anybody else”

Pre-install support

Another use is to be the basis for a future “pre-install configuration tool”. Such a tool would help people to select all the applications they need way before install, five minutes at a time during lunch break in the office, and generate a kickstart file or something so that their unique, particular package selection will happen automatically while they have dinner, with miniconda/slinky reading that file. (for the record, this is an old dream of mine (M. Fioretti): I proposed it for the first time on the Mandrake 5.1 users list…., but this might just be the right time…)

RULE = Run Up to Date Linux Everywhere
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