Thursday, 23 September 2010

openSUSE Feature - push OBS repository state to users

Yesterday I wrote up a new feature request for openSUSE and the OBS on openFATE. The general idea is to make the Build Service more useful to users by giving them more information about the repositories available.

The major complaint that people using the OBS have is simple. If you search on openSUSE Software Search or webpin you may find five different packages of the software you want; What's the difference between them? Which one is stable? Which one will still be working in a week's time? On the opensuse-kde mailing list, we constantly get asked to explain the difference between KDE:Distro:Stable, KDE:Distro:Factory, and KDE:Unstable:SC - even after pointing them to the wiki pages here and here.

There is even disagreement on what "Stable", "Unstable" etc. means - people ask is it KDE that is Factory - or openSUSE? And then whenever a repository rename occurs, users are left surprised when their zypper refreshes suddenly return errors. And how do you tell users about important changes in repositories like the upcoming shift from KDE SC 4.5 to 4.6 that is about to happen in KDE:Distro:Factory?

So having thought about all this, I wrote up my suggestions on openFATE:310604. Basically I propose a NEWS file, or similar, that gets pushed to users and updated with the metadata, along with a repository stability flag where each state is very clearly defined and visible in software search results. Please vote and comment, and lets get this done for openSUSE 11.4!

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Creative Commons Licence
This work by Tejas Guruswamy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.