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Debian Software Linux

Debian Package of the Day 58

flok writes "The Debian project has started a new webpage: the 'Debian package of the day.' It does what it says — every day another package from the Debian repository is posted with an elaborate description and some nice screenshots. As Debian (and all the other distributions as well) contains way too many packages for it to be feasible to inspect all of them yourself, this is then a nice way of learning about all kinds interesting software packages."
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Debian Package of the Day

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  • Not really official (Score:5, Informative)

    by duncf ( 628065 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @01:12PM (#18308360)
    Just to make things clear, this isn't an official Debian project webpage. The debian.net subdomains are available to Debian Developers to do their own thing, and occasionally sites will migrate from debian.net to debian.org, if they get accepted by the community as "official". Debian Planet [debian.org] started out this way, at least.

  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @01:13PM (#18308372)
    My "problem" with debian packages is not to find them (apt-cache makes quite a good job on it) but comparing "competing" packages, and I don't know about any resource on Debian on this.

    Just an example: I don't mind about an explanation on how good apt-cacher is (a Debian package to cache access to Debian repositories), but it would be much better a side-to-side comparation among apt-cacher, apt-proxy and squid on repository-caching functions so I can use it to make my opinion for my environment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stevey ( 64018 )

      The problem here is two-fold:

      • You need somebody to write the comparisons. Somebody either unbiased, or capable of overlooking that.
      • You need somewhere to host the writeup(s).

      The bigger problem is that very few people write documentation, and yet so many people seem to want it. I started some here [debian-adm...ration.org], and have been lucky enough to get a reasonable number of submissions from external people. But the fact remains if you wait for people to volunteer to write documentation .. well you'll be a long time waitin

      • "The problem here is two-fold:
        You need somebody to write the comparisons. Somebody either unbiased, or capable of overlooking that.
        You need somewhere to host the writeup(s)."

        Well, I think there's already somebody (or, it's suppoused to be somebody at least) writing the "one package a day" articles. My point was not so much about somebody stepping front (they're going to do it on their spare time, so I wouldn't dare to say they *must* do this or that), but about what I would find a better way to get most be
        • by stevey ( 64018 )

          Ahh I misunderstood - for some reason I was thinking of "comparisons.debian.net", or similar, linked into package descriptions..

          Good idea :)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2007 @02:47PM (#18308932)
      Use debtags for that, e.g. you have vim:
      $ apt-cache show vim | grep '^Tag:'
      Tag: devel::editor, interface::text-mode, role::program, scope::application, uitoolkit::ncurses, use::editing, works-with::text

      then you can search for packages with similar tags
      $ debtags search '(works-with::text && use::editing && interface::text-mode)'

      and, whoa, you get quite a lot of stuff, and the first entry, abiword-plugins, seems to be mistagged too :) - But the concept seems sound. IIRC debian also allows wiki-like editing of the tag-db somewhere.


      P.S.: Yes, emacs is among the results:
      emacs21 - The GNU Emacs editor
      emacs21-nox - The GNU Emacs editor (without X support)
      qemacs - Small emacs clone editor with HTML and DocBook editing support
      xemacs21-bin - highly customizable text editor -- support binaries
      zile - very small emacs-like editor
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I agree that different packages that do roughly the same thing are sometimes hard to compare without installing all of them to try out (and who really wants to do that?). What I tend to do is check their buglist [debian.org], and if I'm still curious, there's a beast of a list ranking how "popular" each package is [debian.org]. You can get a gist for how many other people installed and have used certain packages (or files in them). Of course that doesn't have to correlate with quality, but quality is usually a subjective measure bas
    • Try PopCon (Score:5, Informative)

      by moyix ( 412254 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @03:19PM (#18309166) Homepage
      Give the Debian Popularity Contest a shot. It's an opt-in thing that reports what packages you have installed back up to a central server, which then produces stats on the popularity of packages. This won't necessarily tell you what package is *better*, but it will tell you which one is more widely used (and hence probably more supported).

      http://popcon.debian.org/ [debian.org]
    • My "problem" with debian packages is not to find them (apt-cache makes quite a good job on it) but comparing "competing" packages, and I don't know about any resource on Debian on this.

      Ultimately, you are the only person who can judge which application is right for you. Others may and do write their opinion about various packages but those are no substitute for your own experience. Googling narrows things down, but you the best resources are really your peers who are doing the same things or your own t

    • Agreed. If debian could tell me which is the best (ie, most compatible and most featureful) combination of packages for "web serving, python, smtp, imap, and bandwidth accounting", say, then it really would be the perfect OS. For the moment, it's just the best :)
    • Maybe Linux App Finder is what you're looking for? It allows users to rate applications.

      http://linuxappfinder.com/ [linuxappfinder.com]
      • "Maybe Linux App Finder is what you're looking for?"

        No, it isn't. It is an interesting place on its own, but doesn't hit the bulleye. I was talking explicitly about Debian. While one part of a comparasion could be the one that App Finder offers, there are other elements like "beware this package because it's orphaned" or "this is two main versions behind upstream while this other is only one" or (these are real cases) "kmail works awfully on Debian on disconnected IMAP" or "while documentation implies so
  • The "Debian package of the day" seems to be the "Slashdotted of the day"!
    • Yeah, it's back. Unfortunately, it's RSIBreak today. I was hoping for something useful.
      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )
        Hmm - the website calls it a utility to help prevent RSI.

        I like portage's description of it better:
        A small utility which bothers you at certain intervals
  • or... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @01:18PM (#18308398) Homepage
    You could bookmark the debian package-of-the-day page, or you could bookmark this freshmeat page, which takes you to a random project [freshmeat.net]. If you use other OSes in addition to Linux, the freshmeat one might be more useful. Freshmeat also has ratings, user comments, etc.
  • 3..2...1... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Cue "my package is bigger than yours" jokes.
  • Loading... Loading... Loading...
  • top o' the day (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OriginalArlen ( 726444 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @01:43PM (#18308544)
    Bored? Looking to kill five minutes? Nothing new on the newsfeeds? Start here...:

    $ ls -l /usr/bin/a*
    I bet you don't know what half of those do. Go hit the man pages (or google up docs on anything your system for which you don't have the manual.) Rinse & repeat for b,c,.. I've been doing this for years & still find plenty of new stuff.
    • by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @01:53PM (#18308608) Homepage
      This must be why so few people know about the xargs command...
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Much easier to do:

      $ a [tab][tab]
    • by nih ( 411096 )
      well, you gotta have goals
    • Re:top o' the day (Score:4, Informative)

      by lakeland ( 218447 ) <lakeland@acm.org> on Sunday March 11, 2007 @03:24PM (#18309236) Homepage
      Okay, I'll give this a go... (Disclamer: I did this to learn unix a bit over a decade ago, so some stuff I'll have simply remembered).

      a2p: Awk to perl. Converts an awk script to a perl script that does the same. Creates a poor script really.
      a2ps used to be ascii2postscript, now anything to postscript. Generic converter.
      aclocal Part of autoconf, handles checking where things are on the local machine (.pkginfo IIRC)
      aclocal-1.9 Ditto for 1.9 (the latest version)
      aconnect Dunno
      acpi_fakekey Not sure :(
      acpi_listen Monitor for ACPI events (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface, which I know far too much due to owning a crap MB)
      acpitool Send ACPI commands, query ACPI state
      acroread Yeah, I still have acrobat - kpdf doesn't have rotate yet
      activation-client Dunno
      adddebug Dunno
      addftinfo Dunno
      addr2line Dunno
      adept Nice gui for apt.
      adept_batch Backend adept uses to do the commands
      adept_installer Backend adept uses to install packages, has a gui
      adept_notifier The little widget that goes on your kicker
      adept_updater Runs aptitude update
      afmdiff.awk Adobe Fount Manager no doubt, but dunno
      afmtodit Used by TeX somewhere, font conversion no doubt
      akode-config Replacement for ARTS I think
      akodeplay See above, does the playing
      akregator Really Simple Syndication for KDE
      alistat Dunno
      alsamixer Does both HW and SW mixing, can be compiled to have a GUI but normally curses
      amarok Great music interface
      amarokapp The actual binary (don't run gdb against amark, use amarkapp instead...)
      amarok_daapserver.rb provides data for itunes clients
      amarok_proxy.rb Dunno, though the name gives a strong hint...
      amidi From the alsa toolsuite, never needed to use it but no doubt is alsa's interface to MIDI devices
      amixer See above, I prefer alsamixer
      amor An Amusing Misuse Of Resources. Hadn't realised this was still installed. Puts a silly smiley on windows
      animate Dunno
      annotate-output Dunno
      ant Apache/Jakata. Build system. Supposed to be quite good
      anytopnm Convert any image to pnm, uses imagemagick
      aplay Alsa player
      aplaymidi See above, for .mid
      apm Old version of ACPI, this command much like acpitool
      apm_available As above, check features MB supports.
      apmount Not sure
      apmsleep can be sent using apm, but some people might forget the difference between S1 and S3 I suppose
      apogee_ppi Dunno
      appletproxy Dunno, probably java
      appletviewer Ancient java program, not used much since doesn't get used for apps any more.
      appres Not sure
      apr-config Apache Portable Runtime?
      apropos One of the misunderstood and misprounced english words. In this context, much like in LISP, it searches help by keword.
      apt A Packaging Tool.
      apt-cache Caches dpkgs and Package.gz
      apt-cdrom APT method for reading off CDroms (as opposed to normal people, who read off HTTP)
      apt-config Query apt from a script for how it is installed
      apt-extracttemplates One of apt's internal tools, puls out the 'what this package does'
      apt-ftparchive Not sure, probably for reading ftp:// [ftp]
      apt-get Get the stuff
      aptitude Nice replacement for APT
      apt-key GPG key management for APT.
      apt-sortpkgs Internal apt tool, I've only seen it used to present lists in alphabetical order but I'm sure it has more features.
      apu-config Dunno, sounds familiar.
      ar Arrrrr, tar hasn't taken over the world yet... We still have ranlib!
      archpath Dunno
      arecord alsa recording features
      arecordmidi See above
      ark KDE archiver. Uses tar rather than ar (I think).
      arm2hpdl Dunno
      arping Address resolution protocol, look up a host and check it is online/available
      artsbuilder clearly ARTS related, but I can't remember exactly what this one does.
      artscat See above
      artsc-config For checking arts' install state from a script
      artscontrol Mute, vol, etc.
      artsd The main Adaptive Real Time Synthesiser Daemon
    • for i in /usr/bin/a*; do whatis `basename "$i"`; done

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Thank god. It would've taken me forever to get to `whatis.'
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        ...and if that returns a lot of "nothing appropriates", you may need to run /usr/sbin/makewhatis . As I just found by reading the whatis manpage.
  • This is an attempt to make the most boring distro on earth slightly less boring! ;)

    (I kid, I kid! I like Debian.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I mean, how would one make a screenshot from the commandline program "screen" ? Its an invaluable tool, tucked away in its own package, and the only way to know that you're using it is using the magical ^AW keycombination. I'd like to seem them making a screenshot out of that :-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      This is what I get when I type screen in my terminal: Screen version 4.00.02 (FAU) 5-Dec-03 Copyright (c) 1993-2002 Juergen Weigert, Michael Schroeder Copyright (c) 1987 Oliver Laumann This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without
  • Just a thought... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ajehals ( 947354 ) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Sunday March 11, 2007 @01:53PM (#18308606) Homepage Journal
    This may go a long way to help people finding those little applications (or large applications :) ) that you don't know exist and don't know you need until you stumble across them. You know, the ones you find out about from someone in IRC or on a random blog or forum, usually out of context and often without knowing how the application name is spelled or what package would provide it... yakuake anyone? - or am I just slow on the uptake...).

    Now if someone where to be really clever then they would integrate this site into a nice gui package manager and make it available with Ubuntu, or any of the other distro's aimed at new Linux users. It would be nice to get some additional info (screen shots etc..) above and beyond the descriptions that are normally availale when using apt. -- if its already been done then excuse me for not having come across it yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 3seas ( 184403 )
      And for something like this to really have a different package every day then in one years time it will have covered 365-1/4 (adverge over four years) packages.

      Certainly the pages are not just going to vanish. Perhaps the side effect is to create a wiki of debian packages.
  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @02:03PM (#18308654) Homepage
    Otherwise you'll be getting something like:


    ORBit is a lightweight CORBA ORB designed for use with the Gnome project. (Nothing about it requires Gnome, though.)
    This package contains the headers and static libraries used for developing ORBit-based applications. It also contains the IDL compiler needed to import object definitions into your C programs.

    Whoa, sexy!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dionysus ( 12737 )
      What about the screenshots? We need the screenshots. Otherwise, how will we know whether we want to use it or not?
  • idea for enhancement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fragbait ( 209346 ) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @02:31PM (#18308828) Homepage
    Along with the package of the day, put a "similar packages" list of links.

  • Not quite new (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    May this "new" project be a reincarnation of this site: http://debaday.livejournal.com/ [livejournal.com] ? [I've stumbled across this when i wanted to add the feed and wondered that my liferea examples already contained a "Debian Package a Day" feed :)]

    If it is, the question will be: Why did it die back in 2004 (the last article is dated Nov. 15, 2004)? I guess it suffered from not enough people actually adding reviews of packages. As this article http://debaday.debian.net/2007/02/15/we-need-your- help-now/ [debian.net] suggest, th
  • My recommendation for today is tzdata [debian.org] - I upgraded/installed this on several servers today to address the DST issue. Apparently it used to be part of the libc package in sarge, so you might look at updating that instead if you're a die-hard sarge user.
  • by hbar ( 7950 )

    Disclamer: I made the following, so this post is technically self-promotion.

    (Another Unofficial) Debian Package of The Day (updated hourly) [redsymbol.net]

    This verion ("POTH" - Package of the Hour) differs from the article feature ("DEBADAY"), in that it is fully automated (subject to some filters for interestingness; libraries, -dev packages, etc. are filtered out.) DEBADAY produces deeper and more interesting descriptions, since they are written by humans. POTH is done by a software agent, so it has greater breadt

  • What distributions should do is add a "software of the day" screen which automatically when you login show you, well, what this webpage does.
    But then served from local disk or so.
  • Although I applaud their effort to showcase less prominent linux software, they could have worked off of an existing linux software database: gentoo-portage.com [gentoo-portage.com]. It doesn't have the "package-a-day" feature, but it does have short descriptions for each package and uses a wiki-style CMS in that it allows users to upload screenshots related to a given application. Also, the gentoo package repository is more diverse than that of debian's (owing to its package management system being source-based), so I'm sure m
  • I've been having ongoing problems all day trying to access engrade.com - which is hosted by godaddy.com. I initially thought it was an my DNS server's problem (opendns.com) but now that I read this I guess it's godaddy. Can this really be related to DLS? I live in Colombia now and we don't change our clock ever ;)
  • Yakuake, I think it's called, maybe the third one down.

    This looks decidedly cool. All those people who are used to hitting tilde to get under the hood of their FPS and cheat, or just tweak stuff (admin_slap even)... Well, now they understand. Commandline is cheats for Linux!

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.