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Debian Packages Screenshots Repository Launched

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the worth-1024-words-a-least dept.

GUI 72

Christoph Haas writes "A picture is worth a thousand words. And thanks to screenshots.debian.net this finally comes true for Debian packages. The new website was launched just a week ago and has already collected screenshots for 740 packages shipping with the Linux distribution — with new uploads pouring in every hour. Debian users can finally get an impression of how an application would look before installing it."

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Great, but needs guidelines. (3, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821851)

Great idea, but it needs some guidelines. Styling being the most obvious one (no I don't want to see how it looks using the custom skin you made that shows off several varieties of wood), but much more importantly is libraries. If you have a look through their "things needing screenshots" section, you'll notice that it's full of libs, many of which have no interface at all. That being the case, why are they there? Seems to me like all the data here needs some garbage collection and more rigid guidelines.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (4, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821971)

Great idea, but it needs some guidelines.

Yeah, guidelines like these [debian.net] would be great.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822257)

Those guidelines govern the screenshots themselves, not what does and does not warrant a screenshot.

For instance... what possible reason would you want a screenshot for the 'linux-image' package?

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822335)

Wow, 800x600 resolution is pretty harsh. Nobody uses that as a desktop resolution anymore, so every screenshot will be resized, and harder to read. They really should try to support a decent resolution, 1024x768 at a bare minimum.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (2, Interesting)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822479)

Or you could just take a screengrab of a single window. There are only two windows usually on my desktop larger than 800x600: my browser and a text editor.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822949)

I almost always keep my windows maximized. Why waste all that screen real estate?

If I need another application, that's what virtual desktops are for.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (3, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823003)

Hard to enter information in on application that requires you to be examining the other application, if they arn't both on screen at once.

Different kinds of work require different layouts.

Also, just because you use your windows maximized, doesn't mean you can't dial that back to take a screenshot. If your widgets can't handle a resize, said application has some issues...

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823181)

I almost always keep my windows maximized. Why waste all that screen real estate?

you're already wasting screen realestate by keeping your windows maximized, and time by shuffling them.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823581)

How do you figure? With maximized windows, 100% of the desktop is in use by the application I'm using. If I tiled my windows, then some of my desktop would be used by an application I'm not using. That's wasteful.

I don't spend an inordinate amount of time switching desktops. That's what hotkeys are for.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823645)

If I can read all the information in application A when it is only taking up a 3rd of my screen, then I still have 2/3 of my screen for other applications. If I maximize the same application to full screen, I have gained nothing, but lost spare space to display further applications.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25828763)

With maximized windows, 100% of the desktop is in use by the application I'm using.

I'm not sure about the GP, but the problem with dedicating 100% to one window is that I am never 100% doing one thing.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25825051)

I've been thinking for a while now that what we need is a comic book style layout. As applications open windows, a new panel opens up, shrinking all the other windows so that every non-minimized window gets screen space with no overlapping. For example: One window would take the whole screen; two would split the screen and be side by side; three would be done as one on the left half, two splitting the right half, one on top, one below; etc. The panels would be resizeable and it should be easy to re-sequence the display.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (3, Informative)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25825635)

You've just described tiling window managers. You might want to look at Xmonad, Awesome, DWM, StumpWM or WMII. I personally use Xmonad and definitely wouldn't go back to a traditional window manager.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25825833)

There are plenty of those already: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiling_window_manager

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

augustw (785088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830453)

It's called "tiling". And it's already been done, by Wirth's Oberon system, and the WM from Bell Lab's Plan 9. Mind you, they also had some prety idiosyncratic things about them, too. For something more X11 conventional (albeit written in Haskell) try Monad - http://xmonad.org/ [xmonad.org] .

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

Undead NDR (1252916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25871203)

You might want to try the Ion window manager [modeemi.fi] .

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 5 years ago | (#25835845)

oh, finally somebody with my usage pattern :)
i recently went from 1024x768 to 1600x1200. i had seen screenshots with people using tiled desktop with smaller resolution than my new one, so i expect myself to adapt to such a thing. nah. i still use windows maximised, because i rrrrreally want to reduce any scrolling.
now, i see that sometimes making a small window always on top in some cases is easier to use than before... but still, maximised windows ftw :)

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25823375)

Wow, 800x600 resolution is pretty harsh.

It is, but the other way to look at it is whether applications should be able to work at 800x600, especially considering the Eee PC / MSI Wind / OLPC portables and their resolution requirements. Remember that this is more about using these screenshots in package managers like Synaptic and seeing a clickable thumbnail of what it'd look like. I'm a web designer and I understand the constraints of resolutions and GUI design, and this is going to make some applications look a bit cramped. These applications should probably be designed a bit better though considering the portables market that Linux is getting a foothold in.

so every screenshot will be resized, and harder to read.

Well I'd hope that they'd crop the image, not resize it :) A bit of gimpery and you can even crop a 1600x1200 image down to something that looks like it was taken on an 800x600 screen and this screenshot repo would never know any different.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (3, Interesting)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821977)

On Windows, you can always make up a screenshot of any DLL file by opening it in Dependency Walker, and listing the functions exported by the DLL. I'm sure there has to be something similar for Linux.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822531)

even if you could post a picture representing a library, there seems to be little point. After all the idea of this picture repository is to give people a sense of what a program will look like before they decide to install it. In this case, installing a library by itself does nothing until a program is installed which actually uses it.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (4, Informative)

kv9 (697238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823251)

On Windows, you can always make up a screenshot of any DLL file by opening it in Dependency Walker, and listing the functions exported by the DLL. I'm sure there has to be something similar for Linux.

man nm

# nm /lib/libz.so
0000cb88 A _DYNAMIC
0000cc44 A _GLOBAL_OFFSET_TABLE_
[...]
00005f64 T zcalloc
00005f88 T zcfree
00005f28 T zlibVersion
#

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (4, Informative)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25821987)

True, but most of the open-source programs begin this way. Hackish and just working as the developers want it. After that you get feature enchancements and discussions about implementation of functionality. I expect that the lib picture problem is full resolved in a month or 3.

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822587)

Wow, +5 Informative. Mega Whoosh on the mods.

still waiting for the yes(1) screenshot ;( (5, Funny)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822077)

y
y
y
y
y
y
y
y
y
y

:)

Re:still waiting for the yes(1) screenshot ;( (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822831)

I think that screenshots for "true" and "false" are going to be even more interesting.

Re:still waiting for the yes(1) screenshot ;( (1)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822847)

My version must be broken - I don't get the colon and bracket at the end...

Re:still waiting for the yes(1) screenshot ;( (4, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823465)

No, you just didn't let it run all the way through.

Re:still waiting for the yes(1) screenshot ;( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822977)

almost as good:
ed [debian.net]

Re:Great, but needs guidelines. (1)

unifyingtheory (1357069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837563)

I bet developers will now spend a little more time making the GUI look better (more pretty).

A killer feature? (5, Informative)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822015)

This is a very good idea. I could see this being one of those new killer features to brings linux to more desktops. Integrating this into a package manager could really help new users see the (perceived) quality of some of the software projects available to them -- most people only see GUIs. Integrate a user comment/review section for individual programs, and it becomes even more accessible.

I'm aware that this is already contained in a site like freshmeat, but the point would be to make a unified experience to the new/old user. Throw in bug submission, and it's even more useful. A single program to browse, view screenshots, review/comment and submit bugs for programs. You could even throw in a paypal donation, which either gets disbursed to everybody or specific projects. There's a lot that could be done, and this is one area that OSS really shines.

Re:A killer feature? (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822715)

I'd also want integration of the tagging debian has added to each package into some sort of easily accessible GUI.

The "Tag: devel::editor, implemented-in::c, interface::text-mode, role::program, scope::application, uitoolkit::ncurses, use::editing, works-with::text, works-with::unicode" information attached to the vim package in this case is only accessable via debtags on the commandline.
Show a user a tag cloud with screenshots for specific programs and the wealth of 10k+ packages becomes much more accessible.

Re:A killer feature? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823031)

Ick, tag clouds are ugly, and don't really belong with this kind of information

Why not just provide a hierarchical list like sf.net does it?

Re:A killer feature? (1)

Cillian (1003268) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822761)

And if we're going to go for the whole moon-on-a-stick. Unified bugs, donations, screenshots and installation/uninstallation of programs, all in one program, and the same frontend program available on all (well, most sane) distros, whichever backend package management they use. Maybe add something to individual package files so that 3rd party packages can also use these features, by having the magic program connect to the 3rd party developer's website or server. No idea about the practicality or implications of any of this, and it may well have been done before. I'm just having an "Ooh, shiny" moment.

Re:A killer feature? (1)

websitebroke (996163) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823097)

Lots of projects have their own repositories because they update at a higher frequency than the distro updates. For example, Spring [clan-sy.com] has it's own repository. Once you add the repository via Synaptic (or whatever), it's packages are available and get updated right along with every other package. I'm guessing the Debian packages would include the screenshots, or have links to some place in a repository. No (good) reason 3rd party packagers wouldn't be able to do this.

Re:A killer feature? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25824375)

Why do you want to add bug tracking/submission to this? That's what Sourceforge, etc. where the project is hosted and located is for. The last thing we need is _another_ place a bug could be hosted that the main developers have to keep track of.

Re:A killer feature? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25826341)

Because bugs can be added/removed during the packaging process, so a bug report for, say ssh that was installed in from the Debian repo, would not necessarily apply to the upstream ssh.

Re:A killer feature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830053)

Debian already has an integrated bug tracking process for all their packages. It is just a question of providing a unified interface for the package manager, bug tracking and screenshots, as well as a discussion forum. These days everyone would expect it to be web 2.0 in order to be cool.

And yes, the debian package maintainers do forward bug reports to upstream maintainers, ie. the original providers of the software. The debian maintainers also sort out which bugs are debian specific and which are problems with the upstream, and they even contribute by fixing problems in the original package sources.

Sounds a lot like CNR - Linspire's Click and Run (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25826571)

I could see this being one of those new killer features to brings linux to more desktops. Integrating this into a package manager could really help new users see the (perceived) quality of some of the software projects available to them -- most people only see GUIs. Integrate a user comment/review section for individual programs, and it becomes even more accessible.

Everything old is new again. CNR.com [cnr.com]

More Colab Please (1, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822189)

Would have been really better if they had tried to gather some cross distro support, and host it somewhere other than *.debian.net. Especially as we are moving toward a package UI abstraction in the form of PackageKit.

How do I like look? (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822231)

Debian users can finally get an impression of how an application would like look before installing it.

But what if I want to know what an application would look like, not how it will like look, after it will have been installed?

Re:How do I like look? (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822675)

But what if I want to know what an application would look like, not how it will like look, after it will have been installed?

I had to read that four times and each time it hurt my head even more.

Re:How do I like look? (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823011)

Perhaps it was supposed to read: how it would, like, look.

Re:How do I like look? (1)

jmobley (463432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823727)

Oddly enough, I didn't even see this mistake the first time I read that sentence. That grammar is so bad my brains internal sed and awk processes must have made corrections in-line.

Either that or I'm a closet dyslexic. :/

Re:How do I like look? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25831235)

Meh, stick a comma after 'like' and it becomes surfer lingo. :P

A picture is NOT worth a thousand words... (0, Offtopic)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822253)

The photograph told the story.

It was simple enough. A small handwritten sign that had no doubt been quickly and effortlessly designed in a single moment in the locker room after the game. Rob Limo's sweaty jock-strap was hung with the utmost care slightly above and to the right of CmdTaco's heavily-disfigured face. The heavy ink scribbled on the front stated not a word, but a number - 400. 400 times Rob Limo had ejaculated sperm in Malda's waiting mouth.

400 times. The picture really was worth a thousand words. That and Kathleen Fent's face when she heard the horrifying news: her husband is a homo.

But, there are more than just facts to this story. There's the emotional side, the side not caught in the picture showing only the smiling, disfigured face of Malda, after Kathleen cut his face with a broken glass ashtray.

There's the overjoyed ESR, who once said that many wins only means he's getting old. Too old to keep his shit in from taking RMS's cock in too far...too many times. 400 times.

ESR is far from old by college head coaching/cock sucking standards, but he is extremely successful by any measuring dip-stick.

The photograph told the story, but the single teardrop that escaped and ran down the veteran coach's left cheek filled in the emotion. And - some would say - sperm from Limo's man-meat.

He didn't have to say a word. The teardrop said it all.

When ESR sat down for his usual postgame radio interview with Stallman, Athletics Radio Network play-by-play broadcaster Casey Hogan, he had no idea what was to come. Then Malda came and his life became and unending man-brothel of heathen delight. ESR would never be the same.

University presidents and system admins don't just go around giving out pats on the back and congratulations for minor accomplishments.

This was big. As big as Stallman's meat-sword.

As the congratulatory statements played out, Malda, who calls himself blessed to have the opportunity to coach the game, was overwhelmed. And he cried like a little girl.

And for a moment, just a moment, he allowed himself to enjoy some much deserved satisfaction.

On the road, it's just the old cuckolded coach and his most faithful supporters. The fans making the road trip three hours away over the break are the ones who bleed purple and white (mostly hot, yellowish white cum).

Determination to get the job done, whatever the cost. Determination to be successful by doing the right things, off the court as well as on it.

While the only thing remaining to have evaded the coach thus far in his illustrious career is a national title, he is determined to fix that, too.

Because when ESR is determined, and can finally get off the booze long enough to get it up, there is nothing that can stop him.

The picture spreads the news of 400 AIDs-virus spewing cums.

But it was the teardrop that said it all.

Re:A picture is NOT worth a thousand words... (2, Informative)

taupin (1047372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822489)

Forgot about that checkbox, eh?

Re:A picture is NOT worth a thousand words... (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822935)

Yeah, sorry. Forgot to post as AC.

"Brother, can you spare some karma?"

=Smidge=

Re:A picture is NOT worth a thousand words... (2, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823203)

Sorry, you have forever been marked as a troll.

Screenshots (2, Insightful)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822277)

Great idea, absolutely but is it really necessary? When I want to try out a package, I immediately just type the name into Google Images and get a good impression that way.
But it's of course great for Linux-newbs to see it. It's probably more eyecandy than useful.

Re:Screenshots (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25826627)

Do you also just google for the debian package when you want to install it? After all, it will show up there anyway. You'll also get a list of the dependencies, so any apt isn't even necessary.

Re:Screenshots (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25827697)

Yes, I will. Why?

Re:Screenshots (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25876057)

I don't think you realize the potential a site like this one can have for integration with package managers. Instead of going to google, you click on the package name and immediately see some representative screen shots of the program. The package manager can also add thumbnails to the list of packages so that you can at glance see if an application is console app, GNOME or KDE based.

Synaptic (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822309)

I read on the site that someone integrated this into Synaptic, can't wait to try that out later.

Also there's an image for Extreme Tux Racer but not Tux Racer. Boo.

Re:Synaptic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25829195)

tuxracer is dead upstream and was removed from Debian.

Sooo..praytell... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822323)

What exactly does a screenshot of openldap-server look like?

Re:Sooo..praytell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822615)

What exactly does a screenshot of openldap-server look like?

Like this [tinypic.com]

Nice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822471)

I found a screenshot [rr.com] of the new release - looks awesome!

Re:Nice (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25823231)

Yea, and you couldn't even be bothered to shop the date (1998).

Fail.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25826243)

Hi, Troy Baer. AC posting link to personal webspace which includes all personal contact info. Nice indeed.

eat flaming death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822509)

Well, I just submitted a screenshot of GNU ed, it shouldn't be too hard to guess the contents.

Nice! (-1, Troll)

Ungulate (146381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25822535)

I found a screenshot [rr.com] of the new release - looks awesome!

Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822763)

Screenshots of lesbian packages? I didn't know lesbians had packages, but even if they did, what's this doing on /.?
Oh, wait...

Re:Wha? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25827867)

It should have a section for eye candy... it would be a far better use of resources than Idle.

"Does this screenshot make my app look fat?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822815)

When showing a visual profile of each application, they should also show the typical memory usage. (A screenshot of top with the resident size highlighted would be an imperfect but OK first cut.)

Firefox has done a great job of reducing its memory footprint (and could do even more). Let's see some other desktop memory pigs follow suit.

Anglais (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822901)

I like the guideline "Please set your language to english so that everybody understands it. If you don't use english by default please start your application from a shell using after setting "export LANG=C". (sic)

Clearly the word English should be capitalised, but more to the point the assumption that everyone in the world will understand if it's in English amuses me. This Comment from an English AC. P.S Don't reply about English being a common language, I know that.

cowsay is there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25822917)

they beat me to it.

Christoph Haas and the great idea (1)

binarymutant (1200449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25825737)

This is a great idea. I've already uploaded 3 pages to it and I can't wait until I see screenshots in synaptic :)

apt-ss perl script (1)

kunwon1 (795332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25828393)

mostly useless

#!/usr/bin/perl

my $package = shift;
$package = lc($package);
my $url = "http://screenshots.debian.net/screenshot/$package";
exec 'xdg-open', "$url";

RNG (1)

shakparl (750460) | more than 5 years ago | (#25828653)

Is there a decent random number generator in there somewhere?

actually quite nice (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829393)

It's a different way to discover new applications. Sometimes you know what you're looking for is going to 'look' like. That's why your looking for it.

Awesome (1)

apostle1978 (1417915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907893)

I had installed Debian for the first time just a few days ago on my Labtop. I was asking around in the irc suggesting that they Debian people spice up there website. With some screenshots and screencasts. Someone pointed out to me the website and I was like....Awesome. :)
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