From: peter sikking [EMAIL PROTECTED]

> chiming in here (getting back to speed). [...]

Peter!  Great to hear from you again!

I absolutely agree about the virtues of a tagging system, but
I fear that the difficulties are not being appreciated well enough.
Here, for example, is just one of the problems:

Problem: should tags be stored as part of a data file, or in a
separate tags-database?

1) If they are stored as part of the data file, then this calls for
a new file format for every sort of gimp resource object, and 
changing tags calls for file system operations.

2) If they are stored in a separate database, keyed by file
names, then there is a great danger of losing the linkage 
between tags and object.  If, for example, the user renames
the directory holding some brushes, all of the tags for those
brushes will be lost.  The only way to prevent this sort of
thing from happening is to make sure that all operations
on resource files are mediated by Gimp (or some new
utility program) that will make sure to keep the tags in
sync with the data files.  If for some reason a user's tags
database gets corrupted, it will be a major disaster.

There are many other issues of the same sort, which I don't
believe have been thought through.

The bottom line is that introducing tag-based resource
organization is like setting up a virtual, non-hierarchical
file system.  The ordinary file system may be weak in
comparison, but it is extremely robust, and users know
how to manipulate it.  A new tag-based file system can't
possibly be robust until it has had an extensive testing
period, and therefore exposes a user to the worst of all
disasters:  a corrupted file system.

The solution I favor is to build a tag-based system *on
top of* a filesystem-based system.  That way:

1) The tag-based system can be built gradually, instead
of being imposed all at once on a flat set of files.

2) The user can manipulate files using ordinary filesystem
operations without fear of wrecking gimp.

3)  A naive user who doesn't understand tags will still be
able to use Gimp without having to learn about tags at
the very beginning.

4) A corrupted tags database will still be very bad, but won't
make Gimp completely unusable.

  -- Bill
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