Hello

Recently I started to exclude parts of the portage tree for various
reasons. One of them is that I play with the thought of creating my
own minidistro/livecd based on Gentoo. So keep in mind that I don't
think that it is in general useful to trim the portage tree to the
extend that I have.

One of the obvious things one might start out with is to exclude kde
when one prefers gnome or vice versa. I extended this to exclude
packages within on category that fulfill the same purpose. E.g. I use
app-admin/metalog so it doesn't make much sense to include all the
other loggers. Since the decision for metalog at the time was not
substantiated at the time a also made a note basically saying "is
metalog really the best? these are the alternatives". Once I have the
time I might include the other loggers again and evaluate them.

But to make the list of loggers I basically had to read through the
descriptions of all packages in app-admin to sort out all loggers (I
could have searched but I wanted to make sure I don't miss anything).
Since I have not done this for loggers only this was/is a lot of work
and I therefor asked myself why are there no categories like app-log
or app-cron.

So I ask you: why are there no such categories? Of course I can
imagine a few reasons myself for not having more categories:

(1) a category must in general include n packages
(2) more categories are evil, once we start creating new once there is no end
(3) moving packages in the tree is bad, things break
(4) who does all the work
(5) subcategories would be better, but to implement this...
....

Please point me to any discussions on this subject. Keep in mind I am
not demanding new categories, I am not even asking for them to be
created. I simply would like to know why there aren't more. And if you
developers are also interested in more categories I would love to make
some suggestions and help with looking through the tree to see which
packages would have to be moved.

Reasons why more categories might be usefull:

(1) Easier to find new packages

One great benefit of going through the tree to exclude packages was
for me that I came across many great packages I did not know about.
The likeliness of this would be increased e.g. for the category
app-admin, if I did not have to read the DESCRIPTION of  ~8 loggers
even though I already have selected one and currently am not at all
interested in evaluating the alternatives. In addition there are ~14
logfile analysers of some sort in app-admin ~4 logfile rotators ~2
other log related packages. And some more can probably be found in
app-misc, x11-apps and x11-misc. So all in all at least ~30 packages
that have to do with logging, why not create app-log?

(2) Easier to find alternatives to a package

Need a logger? See what is in app-log!

(3) Makes it less likely that similar packages end up in different categories

Just an example app-admin/pwcrypt DESCRIPTION="An improved version of
cli-crypt (encrypts data sent to it from the cli) but cli-crypt is in
app-crypt"

By the way why is there app-crypt but not app-log?

There are other things I noticed when weeding through the tree. E.g.
some DESCRIPTIONs start with a capitalized letter others don't. Some
end with a period, others don't. Some for now apparent reason start
with "foo is an application to do bar" instead of "do bar".

I understand that it is not very interesting for any developer to fix
such minor errors, and I am not asking anyone to do something about
it. But I would like to know if there is any change that new
categories are created if I or others collect lists of packages that
could be moved to new categories. And yes I understand that the work
doesn't end here and would possibly also help finding packages whose
dependencies would have to be modified.

For me also this is not exactly fun. But since I do this kind of work
for my own personal benefit at the moment I might as well do it in a
way that benefits others as well.

-- Jonas
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