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Re: Improving Package descriptions


Hi Vish,

Thanks for getting in touch.

On Tue, 2010-07-06 at 17:47 +0530, Vishnoo wrote:
> As several of you may be aware there is a papercut milestone[1] setup to
> address the issue of package descriptions being too "geeky".
> To fix these bugs we can simply remove the offending lines and be done
> with them. 
> However, can these descriptions be improved? Your expertise can be
> helpful in describing these applications better. 
> We currently have a few bugs reported , could you have a look at them
> and maybe suggest a better description? I expect more such bugs to be
> filed , it would be great if you could bookmark the link [1] , keep an
> eye out for any new bugs and help improve these descriptions.

This is certainly something we can help with. I think it would be useful
to develop some guidelines for user-friendly package descriptions before
we start fixing bugs; consistency is particularly desirable in this
situation, and decent guidelines will allow developers to fix their own
package descriptions properly, if they like.

Do you have any information on what users are typically looking for in a
package description? We could guess at their requirements, but I'd
prefer to rely on actual feedback if possible. My guesses would be:

      * Broadly, what you can do with the application (simple
        description, first para)
      * Notable features
      * Supported specialist features (necessarily more technical)
      * Links to further information and documentation
      * Where the application can be started from once installed (might
        cause problems between GNOME/KDE/Xfce/etc.)
      * Equivalence to applications on other operating systems

For the GIMP, that would lead to a description something like this:

The GIMP is an advanced picture editor. You can use it to edit, enhance,
and retouch photos and scans, create drawings, and make your own images.
Lots of tools are available; you can sharpen and resize photos, and
remove dust and red-eyes, for example.

It has a large collection of professional-level editing tools and
filters, similar to the ones you might find in PhotoShop. Numerous
fine-control settings and features like layers, paths, masks, and
scripting give you total control over your images.

Many image file formats are supported, including JPEG, PhotoShop (.psd),
and Paint Shop Pro (.psp) files. It can also be used to scan and print

You can find out more about the GIMP at http://www.gimp.org. Help is
available from http://www.gimp.org/docs.

Once installed, you can start the GIMP by clicking Applications ->
Graphics -> GIMP Image Editor.

In reference to comments in some of the bugs: including technical
information is not necessarily a bad thing. There are use cases where
the user specifically wants technical information, such as which file
formats can be handled by an application, or whether certain specialist
hardware is supported.



Phil Bull

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