Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Fri Nov 25 18:19:13 CST 2005

On Sun, Nov 20, 2005 at 08:03:24PM -0200, Carlos Ribeiro wrote:
> Now a bit of history... I have recently started to work on a app to
> configure SoundFonts for Ubuntu. It was a problem I had while installing
> Timidity to play MIDI and Karaoke files; I had trouble to install
> SoundFonts, and more trouble yet to configure the instrument mappings for
> Timidity. The particular problems that I found are not the topic here
> though, because as soon as I started to do some research on the problem, it
> came to me that there is one underlying problem in the way package
> management is done today. It affects packages that contain SoundFonts, and
> also other kinds of packages, such as LADSPA plugins and TrueType fonts.
> For the lack of better name, I am calling it the "Application Specific
> Package Management" problem.

This isn't really an underlying problem in package management.  It's the same
package categorization problem that various people have struggled with over
the years, and it can be solved with extensions to the package management
system which don't involve any infrastructure changes.  Indeed, this is
purely an issue for package management frontends, such as Synaptic.

The most promising approach I've seen is debtags, which allows packages to
be categorized in meaningful ways by attaching an arbitrary number of tags
to them.  There was a debtags-enabled Synaptic at some point in the past,
but I'm not sure where it stands today.  Michael Vogt would presumably know.

This solves the problem in a general way, whereas your approach requires a
significant amount of work for each new category.

 - mdz

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list