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Application Index fields (was: Re: [seul-edu] SEUL/edu projects page)

Cameron Miller wrote:

> Perhaps there can be a category in the application index for currently
> unusable or alpha stage software projects.  It does appear fairly
> obvious that less than half of all open or free software projects
> started actually produce anything usable. Alpha or bare beginning stage
> projects being in their own category would allow an occasional removal
> of the dead wood, and an opportunity for developers to see where help
> may be wanted in the realm of Linux edu software.

This is a useful suggestion, as was an earlier one I received about rating
apps for age appropriateness.  These suggestions bring up two points.

First is the somewhat subjective nature of such information.  All the
fields we currently have are taken from information provided by the
projects themselves.  In the cases of usability and age-appropriateness
we'd have to judge those things ourselves.  This isn't necessarily bad, but
it would require much more effort (if we're to be conscientious about
accuracy) than we've heretofore had to expend.  To make these evaluations
we'd have to install and use the applications for at least a little bit.
Admittedly, some of the apps would obviously not be usable or would
obviously be of "production" quality, but even if only a quarter of the
listed apps need testing, that's nearly 100 programs.

That brings us to the second point.  The ~390 apps we have listed don't all
have their records completely filled out.  Some have just a title,
description, homepage, category, and license.  I keep meaning to fill them
all out, but there never seems to be enough time.  And that would only
require visiting the various homepages te find the requisite information.
I wouldn't mind if others would volunteer to fill out a few of the existing
records :-), but my performance at it suggests that without major effort by
more than just me the evaluations talked about above wouldn't happen.

Adding new categories to try to divide applications a bit more finely would
also entail editing a few records, but it would be much less onerous that
the evaluations would be.  Having said that, if we can generate the effort
to do the evaluations I think that could be a very useful addition.

Eventually, it would be nice to have our database set up so the project
maintainers themselves could keep them updated.  Then we'll need to monitor
the listings to make sure the updates are being done, but that's a solvable

Doug Loss                 All I want is a warm bed
Data Network Coordinator  and a kind word and
Bloomsburg University     unlimited power.
dloss@bloomu.edu                Ashleigh Brilliant