Re: Proposing Tracker for inclusion into GNOME 2.18


I realize that my opinion probably cannot be considered objective, but I
will try my best.  I strongly feel that Tracker isn't ready to go into
GNOME in either the platform or the desktop.  Note that I'm not arguing
for Beagle here, just against Tracker.

The reasons essentially are:

        * Tracker hasn't gotten enough widespread use.  It is not
        shipped by default on any distribution, let alone enabled.  For
        something which by its nature has to touch *all your data*, this
        is a larger negative for an indexer than, say, Tomboy or
        * The scope of Tracker isn't clear.  Is the point to be fast
        search for files, or for all the user's data?  To what end has
        Tracker achieved its goal?
        * If Tracker's aim is to index all of the user's personal
        information (and not just files), the indexer is far too
        immature and lacking in functionality at this point.
        * The metadata storage APIs are not used by anything outside of
        Tracker as far as I know, and a Google Code Search turns up
        nothing.  Proposing an unused API for inclusion is a bad idea to
        * There doesn't appear to be any API documentation.  At least,
        none in either the libtracker/tracker.[ch] files or generated as
        part of the build process.  To give an example, there is this
        GPtrArray *tracker_search_query (
           TrackerClient *client, 
           int live_query_id, 
           ServiceType service, 
           char **fields, 
           const char *search_text, 
           const char *keywords, 
           const char *query,
           int offset, 
           int max_hits, 
           gboolean sort_by_service, 
           GError **error);
        It is hardly clear to me what fields, search_text, keywords, and
        query are or how they are different from one another.  Nor is it
        clear what type is encapsulated in the GPtrArray returned here.
        * It's hard to tell for certain because of the above point, but
        the search APIs appear to have a major usability problem in that
        you can't search for both text and metadata at the same time
        using freeform text entered by the user.  (Think Google here,
        which searches both document content and metadata.)  This will
        be a problem when searching emails, for instance, because people
        will type "Joe Shaw eggplant" and expect it to match from the
        author field and the body of the message.
        * The graphical search tool is a C application that has been
        written entirely within the last month.  This isn't long enough
        to test for stability or user experience.
        * There doesn't appear to be any way to configure tracker short
        of editing a config file in ~/.Tracker.  This also means that
        emails won't be indexed by default, and if that is turned on,
        only "Inbox" and "Sent".
While I don't want this to devolve into a Tracker vs. Beagle debate,
Beagle *is* worth mentioning because it is substantially ahead of
Tracker both in terms of functionality and maturity.  I haven't proposed
it for inclusion yet because I want it to be suitable for all GNOME
users, but I certainly don't feel that Tracker fits that criteria at
this point either.


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