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

Alexey Khoroshilov khoroshilov at ispras.ru
Tue Apr 6 08:54:47 PDT 2010

Dear Jez,

We have published more details here [1] including Web interface for
dependencies transformation.

Web service itself is not a part of the GSoC project idea, it should be
used by tools to be developed to implement actual transformation.

The first tool should repackage rpm and deb files with transformed
dependencies. The second tool should install an 'alien' package (created
for another distribution) to a target system resolving all required
dependencies. And actually there are no strict preferences regarding
programming languages to be used. The key skills are in the area of
working with packaging formats and tools.

[1] http://linuxtesting.org/dependencySearcher/about


Jez wrote:
> 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 frontends
>     * 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:
>           o I've contributed a small bugfix to embroider
>             <http://ompf.org/stuff/embroider/>, a C++ objdump
>             pretty-printer
>           o Recently I've been contributing to vimium
>             <http://github.com/philc/vimium/>, 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).
> Regards,
> Jez

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