[lsb-discuss] GSOC: Cross Distribution Package Dependency Translation

Jez jezreel at gmail.com
Mon Apr 5 01:50:02 PDT 2010

Hi there,

I'm Jez, a student from Singapore; I'll be attending Amherst College in the
US later this fall.

I saw the package dependency translation idea, and it seems like an
interesting project that will be useful for a lot of people. I can't speak
from a developer's point of view, but I know how annoying it is when you've
found the perfect software for the task but can't get the desired package
for your distribution.

Well, here's a rundown on my programming skills:

   - My experiences thus far consist mostly of personal projects. Languages
   of choice: C++, Python, and more recently Javascript
   - For instance, I've built a Scrabble AI in C++/Qt and a Raytracer (C++
   as well)
   - With Python, I've done some screen scraping scripts and simple GUI
   - Javascript: I've written some Google Chrome extensions, as well as some
   scripts to analyze a web game. I'm comfortable with JQuery.
   - Open source contributions:
      - I've contributed a small bugfix to
      a C++ objdump pretty-printer
      - Recently I've been contributing to
      a Google Chrome extension allows for Vim-style keyboard navigation
   - I have a grasp of basic algorithms, e.g. DP, simple DFS/BFS search,
   simple trees etc, from working on the UVa problemset archive

Of the skills listed under 'desired knowledge', I think I have C/C++ down
(I'm aware of the differences between C and C++, though I rarely write in
C). I know almost nothing about rpm and deb formats, but I hope that can be
picked up pretty quickly. The other two, packaging basics and Web services,
sound a bit more vague... I'd say I understand a little bit of both, but
neither particularly well. I haven't packaged anything of my own, though I
understand how the build system of my favorite distro (Arch) works.
(Naturally, it would be nice if I could add support for Arch pkgbuilds in
this project as well.)

Still, I'd like to find out more about this project... I'm probably missing
something since I don't yet know the intricacies of packaging, but it sounds
like most of the package conversion work consists of querying the database
and substituting certain strings. Maybe sync the database with a local DB
and query from there, which could speed things up. However, I'm not sure
implementing all that would take three months, and I can't really see what
else would need to be done. Does the web service itself need more work? If
so, what language is it written in?

Anyway, it would be great if you could tell me more about the project as a
whole, give me pointers on what to read up, etc (:

Of course, do let me know whether this project (or any other related ones)
is a good fit for my skills and experience (or lack thereof).


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