Debtags interesting times

An unbelievable amount of interesting, fun and bleeding-edge things to do are coming out with Debtags.

Erich did some javascript tag cloud.

Interactive tag clouds are probably the coolest thing to provide as a link for when people click on a tag. They can also replace the current navigator we have at

I started using Xapian, which is cool. It does fast text search with all the cool things like stemming and whatnot. Check out a prototype package search interface using it.

Xapian can also find packages similar to a given one by looking at the description, which is cool. I can already use it to suggest tags, until we manage to put some of the bayesian code we are accumulating into production.

Plus, I had an IRC chat with a Xapian developer: he was really nice. We had one of those neat chats in which really cool ideas keep coming out and it won't be so hard to implement even and wow, that'd be so cool, let's do it!

Then there's the new web-based tag editing interface to do to replace the old one. I can add the smart search idea to it allowing to display tags giving keywords: and that'd give suggestions that automatically follow existing tag practices, which rocks.

The C++ daemon backend that we now have for the website is great to allow to quickly intermix tag updates and queries, and still hope to scale. Maybe it means that soon we finally can start handling debtags mail submissions on Alioth as well.

Distro-wise I have a plan to finally get rid of apt-index-watcher. The plan is already working in my computer, and just needs some more tests before hitting unstable.

I'd also like to have the Python Debtags interface packaged somewhere, so that people who don't grok C++ can have fun with the Debtags data. Work is underway.

Then there's the debtags-updatecontrol experiment, which didn't go quite as I expected, but still went well. I've already sent my first tag override update to aj incorporating data from control files.

Other ideas? For example, implementing Xapian indexing in libept, and finally have a package manager with an amazingly fast search-as-you-type.

And that, as a side effect, would create a Xapian package description in /var/something that is ready for any installed software to use.

Then there's popcon. That's another piece of data to make available to package managers, and I already know how to do it.

With Phil Hands at Debconf6 we had also started designing a way to use the unaggregated popcon database to implement an Amazon-style functionality that would go like "users which have a system similar to yours also have packages X and Y installed: would you like to have a look at them?"

Joey Hess suggested to filter popcon analysis data with debtags, so that one can get suggestions, for example, only limited to game packages. Oh so cool!

And this all feels like just a beginning...