Proposal for new debtags facet: "system"
enrico at enricozini.org
Sat Jan 21 14:55:57 UTC 2012
after some brainstorming with Thomas Goirand on IRC about where to
place a "cloud" tag, the idea came out for a "system::*" facet as a spin
off of the "hardware::*" one, to represent the specific class of systems
a package can be specific for.
The idea is to take tags hardware::embedded and hardware::laptop out of the
hardware facet, leaving hardware more clearly defined as "peripherals", oo
"things with chips that you stick on a system", and add an orthogonal facet to
represent what kind of system a package would be specific for.
Here is a draft of the proposed new facet:
Description: Class of system
Class of system a package provides specific functionality for.
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than
a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are
provided to computers and other devices as a metered service over a
network (typically the Internet).
A computer system designed for specific control functions within a larger
A personal computer for mobile use.
A physical computer (a computer hardware system) dedicated to
running one or more such services (as a host), to serve the needs
of users of the other computers on the network. Depending on the
computing service that it offers it could be a database server, file
server, mail server, print server, web server, or other.
High-end mobile phone built on a mobile computing platform.
A mobile computer, larger than a mobile phone or personal digital assistant,
integrated into a flat touch screen and primarily operated by touching the
screen rather than using a physical keyboard
I believe such a facet has *lots* of potential, and I am rather excited
Some notes up for discussion:
- We could argue about where hardware::emulation belongs. I'd leave it
in hardware because an emulated machine looks more like a virtual
peripheral to me, rather than something that runs specific
application. In a way, we could say that hardware::* is for software
that works WITH that hardware, while system::* is for software that
works IN that hardware.
- Smartphones and tablets are becoming less and less like two different
classes of systems: with tablets having GSM modems and smartphones
working like tablets, one could say that a tablet is a smartphone
that doesn't fit in a pocket. That means that most software that's
typical of one platform will also be typical of the other one, and
in fact apps are now developed targeting both systems as one.
So they could very well be a single tag; the only problem is: how do
we name it? Is there a better name than system::smartphone-tablet?
I'd give it a week worth of discussion, after which I'll try to wrap it
up and make it happen.
 This description in a better kind of English written needs to be.
 So you could know how we got to this proposal, here is the IRC
conversation (I cut away the various digressions and other channel
conversation, I hope I didn't cut anything relevant)
enrico> zigo: I need to reread your mail to see if I catch the
difference with admin::virtualisation; it's either I add that,
or I propose a "buzzword" sort of facet with tags for all those
names that people recognise
zigo> Cloud computing *is not a buzz word*.
zigo> jwilk: In short, management of a pool of servers for providing
virtualmachines and storage.
zigo> Only people who don't understand what it is think it's a buzz
zigo> We wouldn't have about 100 binary packages in Debian *only* for
doing cloud computing if it was just a buzz word.
zigo> enrico: If you want to know why admin::virtualization isn't good
for cloud, just think about server storage like Swift.
enrico> zigo: right, so the idea would be to restrict
admin::virtualisation to one-machine virtualisation
infrastructure, and have admin::cloud to refer to
migration/cloning/ui frontend/api interfaces?
zigo> It doesn't do virtualization, has little do do with it, but it's
managing potentially 100s of servers.
enrico> uhm, ok, so things like openstack can also turn blades or
servers on and off?
zigo> Even physical machines.
zigo> Like, for saving on power.
zigo> There's also cloud without virtualization.
zigo> Like, through an API, you'd get a new physical server.
zigo> Get your OS installed automatically, and have your application to
run on it.
zigo> And possibly, do that with 10 servers at a time.
enrico> so now another question is: is the level of abstraction of
"cloud" one that fits in the "admin" facet? It sounds a bit
more high levle than "configuring" "boot", "backup", "login"...
enrico> how about a "solution::*" facet
zigo> Basically, these are administration tools.
zigo> So that you can remote-control servers.
zigo> So yes, Admin:: would fit, IMO.
enrico> zigo: uhm ok. So the tools themselves are as administration as
'admin::login', only the system they manage is at a different
abstraction level than, say, a single server. And that'd be
zigo> For example, quantum is a tool that manages VLANs for your cloud.
zigo> So that each "customer" has the illusion that he's on its own
VLAN, and wont see other private LANs.
zigo> Using VLAN tagging on switches, and configuring openvswitch.
zigo> That kind of things ...
zigo> So that's really admin::
enrico> zigo: otoh (still pondering) it's also ortogonal: you could do
accounting, automation, backup, and son on, but "for cloud
enrico> zigo: so it could be, for example, hardware::cloud
enrico> zigo: that way I can say admin::power-management &&
zigo> The issue I have with hardware:: is that it looks like it's full
zigo> Am I wrong?
enrico> zigo: there's hardware::embedded, for example, which has
embedded UI tools like GPE
zigo> Like, I've put Swift (cloud object storage) to use
hardware::storage, but it's confusing.
zigo> It's a tool that uses rsync to have a level of redundancy.
zigo> It doesn't act *at all* as a driver.
zigo> People looking at for example iSCSI tools will find swift, and
that's not what we want.
zigo> You know better than me though.
zigo> Maybe that would fit.
enrico> zigo: right.
somewhat close, in that it says "this software is used in this
specific class of hardware". Please ignore touchscreen drivers
in that page: they are mistagged
enrico> zigo: but if we think of tags to describe a "class of system",
then cloud, server, embedded, tablet, smartphone could sound
like points along the same axis
enrico> (and they could be factored out of 'hardware' into a 'system'
facet, at some point)
enrico> zigo: I'm going for lunch, then I'll reply to your mail in
debtags-devel along the lines of thinking of a 'system' facet
zigo> enrico: I like the "class of system" concept.
zigo> I really do.
enrico> zigo: then we see what people say
zigo> It'd be great to have a phone tag ...
enrico> zigo: indeed. It's a tricky conceptual game, designing
ontologies, isn't it? :)
zigo> It is.
GPG key: 4096R/E7AD5568 2009-05-08 Enrico Zini <enrico at enricozini.org>
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