Re: Tracker to be default search provider in next Ubuntu release


On 8/23/07, Kevin Kubasik <kevin kubasik net> wrote:
> While I've been on something of a hiatus for a good chunk of the
> summer, I must have missed the debate/argument.

It didn't get any coverage on this list, and I haven't seen much of a
discussion about it inside the Ubuntu community.  It did get a fair
amount of coverage in the blogs though.

> However, one feature that I have wanted to implement for ages,
> and have made several futile attempts at, is to offer object tagging
> live in the search interface.

I am totally in favor of adding tagging to the user interface, and
this should be really easy to do -- in the user interface.

The larger question is what is responsible for managing the tags,
where does Beagle come into play, etc.

Tracker's greatest strength in its public perception is that it
handles tagging itself, because it's a generalized metadata store.
Personally, my feeling is that we need a dedicated desktop-wide
tagging API.  I don't think this necessarily requires a daemon, and
furthermore I don't thing Beagle is the right place to do it.  My
feeling is that a simple C library, maybe built on top of SQLite and
with D-Bus notifications can take care of this.  Beagle would index
that data, and could also push back information about file moves, etc.
into the tag database.  (Or something else could do this, like a file
monitor like gamin.)

In any case, Beagle would index that data store just like it indexes
Nautilus metdata today in the trunk.  It should be reasonably
straightforward.  You *could* even implement this on top of Beagle, as
dBera mentioned elsewhere in the thread, but I don't think this is the
right approach.

> Anyways, If I could get some help implementing the GUI side of it, I
> would be more than willing to hook everything up to our current
> nautilus emblem backend. The only issue right now is that Nautilus
> doesn't care what beagle has stored as emblems, so we would either
> need to push that data down to the XML nautilus speaks, dbus into
> nautilus in some way to let it know, or just write a simple nautilus
> extension.

The biggest downside to using Nautilus for this is that it only covers
files.  And there's no reason why tagging should apply only to files.
A generic tagging API would work fine with anything, since you would
reference everything by URI.

But if you wanted to push this info back down into Nautilus, yes, some
sort of mechanism would be needed.  Just poking at the XML would
require some logic in Nautilus to reload from the file whenever
something changes.  Alternatively, D-Bus seems like a reasonable
approach here.  But ultimately I don't think that Nautilus is the
right place for tagging.

> One last thing, I do want to apologize for my lack of diligence on the
> Ubuntu front, I know that (before my absence) I was becoming something
> of the Ubuntu contact for Beagle, and I really should have at least
> caught wind that a tracker v. beagle debate was going to happen and
> notified someone, even if I couldn't address it myself.

We really need someone to be the Ubuntu liason for Beagle, now that
Brandon has moved on.  As Brian pointed out, Beagle is super broken in
Gutsy right now, and we need it fixed.  If anyone on the list is an
Ubuntu developer, or knows someone who might be willing (and able...
that includes the time to do it), it would be greatly appreciated.
There's no question that Ubuntu is the most widely used desktop
distribution, so having a good Beagle experience there is key.


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