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Most of the time that I was able to spend actually hacking during hackweek I spent working on the software portal. It was very helpful to be able to discuss issues with Pascal in person.

The software portal project aims to expose the software available for openSUSE and other linux distributions to users as “Applications” rather than “Packages”. The differences between applications and packages are:

  • Applications can be made up of more than one package. e.g. Amarok is split into several packages on openSUSE.
  • There can be several applications in one package. e.g. kdenetwork3 contains both kget and feedbrowser on openSUSE.
  • Applications are not tied to a particular distribution.

The idea is that the user can locate available software by searching or browsing then add screenshots, comments, ratings, tags, translations, etc. The user should also be able to install an application he/she has found without having to know what operating system he/she is running.

Software Portal automates the import of package information from package repositories (rpm-md,deb) and in the future other sources. The import process also maps packages to applications automatically based on the available package metadata a process that can be refined and guided with rules.

Package information is imported from package repositories and mapped to applications. Users can also contribute to applications.

I spent quite some time working on providing a mechanism for users to guide how the repository indexer maps packages to applications, which is quite crucial to allow users to add their own applications and specify which packages make up the application.

I was also very pleased to achieve the goal I set myself before hackweek – to get an instance of the software portal running on a server where people could access it and test it. This has already led to many defects being found and some fixed. I will not publish the URL publicly yet as there are still major problems to fix, we are breaking it fairly regularly, and having lots of people playing with it at this stage would cause problems. Hopefully we can make a test version publicly available before too long.

Some current screenshots:

Software Portal Front Page
Listing applications
Viewing an application

More screenshots are available.

At present there are only two people working on the software portal project. If you are interested in helping either with java development, or with web design, or in any other area, please do join our mailing list, or drop into #opensuse-project on freenode with any questions.

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