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Old 01-02-2008, 01:44 AM
Andrew Dougherty
 
Default Debian-AI

Dear Debian Developers,

There is a lot of great libre software related to the field of
Artificial Intelligence either directly or indirectly that has not
been packaged yet for Debian.

The field of Algorithmic Information Theory suggests that the
capabilities of computer systems are constrained by program size.
Therefore, a heuristic for increasing the capability of the system
would be to add additional software, which means packaging this
software, the benefits of which you know more than anyone else.

As a result of this, it has been my goal to assemble a comprehensive
software ontology of existing systems and package as many of them as
possible, ordered in such a way that the new packages can improve the
automatic creation of packages.

Packages created this way will most likely lack the love required to
pass Debian's quality assurance process and make it into the primary
Debian repository, therefore I have started my own repository. (If I
commit to packaging the software to the quality standards of Debian,
then it is my guess that I will not be able to make all the packages I
feel are necessary in order to achieve the desired level of completion
and service.) However, I am not opposed to this and the goal is
eventual integration into the Debian archive.

In addition to creating packages, I am also working to systematically
lobby developers of nearly free systems to release their code open
source, as well as hundreds of other task related to the goal of
creating intelligent systems through clustering, studying and applying
existing systems.

I think I would like to become a DD eventually so that I can learn
about Debian's existing systems, standards and processes.

I am requesting comment on this approach, review of my project, and
looking for guidance. Though I have tried for 7 years, I have not
been able to make the breakthrough into the community (most likely
owing to a lack of social skills). I tried to discuss this project on
the Debian channels, where they suggested I post to the Debian-devel
mailing list.

Would there be any interest in a Debian-AI sub-project?

My project can be found at:

http://frdcsa.onshore.net/frdcsa

I appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely,
Andrew Dougherty

P.S.: the following systems may be of interest
radar
packager
cso
architect


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Old 01-02-2008, 07:38 AM
Michael Tautschnig
 
Default Debian-AI

[...]
>
> I am requesting comment on this approach, review of my project, and
> looking for guidance. Though I have tried for 7 years, I have not
> been able to make the breakthrough into the community (most likely
> owing to a lack of social skills). I tried to discuss this project on
> the Debian channels, where they suggested I post to the Debian-devel
> mailing list.
>
> Would there be any interest in a Debian-AI sub-project?
>

Hmmm, I kind of fail to see the exact point: Are you really proposing a
sub-project related to AI software (like Debian-Med is for medical tools), or
are you rather proposing an AI approach to selecting and packaging any software?
Judging from the beginning of your post I was tempted to think of the latter,
but suggesting an AI sub-project seems something pretty different from that.
Further, your repository mainly contains AI-related tools, but also some
unrelated software.

Could you/somebody else clarify this a little?

Best,
Michael
 
Old 01-02-2008, 07:49 AM
Andreas Tille
 
Default Debian-AI

On Tue, 1 Jan 2008, Andrew Dougherty wrote:


As a result of this, it has been my goal to assemble a comprehensive
software ontology of existing systems and package as many of them as
possible, ordered in such a way that the new packages can improve the
automatic creation of packages.


I startet building Debian packages about 10 years ago and in no single
case I had the impression that this process could be done automatically.
You might be lucky if you try to package some kind of standardized
archives like CTAN or CPAN, but I doubt that this is possible if
you are picking random FOSS from the net.


Would there be any interest in a Debian-AI sub-project?


It sounds like you should think about joining the Custom Debian
Distribution effort:

http://wiki.debian.org/CustomDebian
http://people.debian.org/~tille/cdd/

If you are using the CDD tools you could gain some profit for your
users by technically grouping set of packages to takss. We have also
automatic tools to document what we just have inside official Debian
and what is on our todo list like for instance

http://debian-med.alioth.debian.org/tasks/bio.php

(Please note that the later URL is just a preview of the web tools
that are currently developed and once they are bug free there will
be an official announcement. It's just to give you an idea of the
profit you might have if you are building an official CDD.)

Kind regards and good luck for your project

Andreas.

--
http://fam-tille.de


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Old 01-02-2008, 09:17 AM
Isabel Drost
 
Default Debian-AI

On Wednesday 02 January 2008, Andrew Dougherty wrote:
> There is a lot of great libre software related to the field of
> Artificial Intelligence either directly or indirectly that has not
> been packaged yet for Debian.
>
> As a result of this, it has been my goal to assemble a comprehensive
> software ontology of existing systems and package as many of them as
> possible.

If your goal is to provide a comprehensive repository of AI software, I think
you have forgotten some rather important AI projects on your list. You might
want to have a look at the following two lists:

http://ml-site.grantingersoll.com/index.php?title=Existing_Learning_Tools

http://mloss.org/software/

Isabel

--
BOFH excuse #188:..disk or the processor is on fire.
| _,,,---,,_ Web: <http://www.isabel-drost.de>
/,`.-'`' -. ;-;;,_
|,4- ) )-,_..; ( `'-'
'---'(_/--' `-'\_) (fL) IM: <xmpp://MaineC.@spaceboyz.net>
 
Old 01-02-2008, 06:22 PM
Andrew Dougherty
 
Default Debian-AI

From: Michael Tautschnig <mt@debian.org>
Subject: Re: Debian-AI
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 09:38:34 +0100

> [...]
> >
> > I am requesting comment on this approach, review of my project, and
> > looking for guidance. Though I have tried for 7 years, I have not
> > been able to make the breakthrough into the community (most likely
> > owing to a lack of social skills). I tried to discuss this project on
> > the Debian channels, where they suggested I post to the Debian-devel
> > mailing list.
> >
> > Would there be any interest in a Debian-AI sub-project?
> >
>
> Hmmm, I kind of fail to see the exact point: Are you really proposing a
> sub-project related to AI software (like Debian-Med is for medical tools), or
> are you rather proposing an AI approach to selecting and packaging any software?
> Judging from the beginning of your post I was tempted to think of the latter,
> but suggesting an AI sub-project seems something pretty different from that.
> Further, your repository mainly contains AI-related tools, but also some
> unrelated software.
>
> Could you/somebody else clarify this a little?
>
> Best,
> Michael
>

No I'm not really proposing a sub-project related to AI, I should have
titled the subject "the FRDCSA project", not "Debian-AI" to avoid
confusion.

One would not start a sub-project without lots of interest. Andreas
Tille points out that joining the Custom Debian Distribution effort
might make more sense than a sub-project.

As far as proposing an "AI approach to selecting and packaging any
software", yes I am proposing that.

I propose to work with people on tools that:

Create a Comprehensive Software Ontology (CSO) in Semantic Web's OWL
format of existing software, including license information, project
capabilities, all sorts of information about the projects, and make
tools that use this information. A large number of projects can be
queued from the FLOSSMole data.

Create a webspider that can automatically index metasites like the
ones Isabel Drost called to attention
(http://ml-site.grantingersoll.com/index.php?title=Existing_Learning_Tools,
http://mloss.org/software/), (detecting duplicates using alias
detection and the same software they use to differentiate people), and
begin adding those repositories to the CSO.

Develop additional tools that enhance the coverage of automated,
scripted and data-driven methods of transforming from upstream sources
to source packages (a.k.a. packaging the software).

The CSO must manage software licensing information and determine which
software is appropriately licensed for packaging into different
archives, whether it is free, non-free or simply a package that
generates an installer. For software which is not licensed compliant
to DFSG, systematically petition the authors to rerelease the software
under a compatible license.

Create a separate package archive for rough quality automated packages
that users may use at their own risk, as well as begin manually
tweaking these packages for inclusion to the main Debian repository.

Regarding the difference between AI-related tools and unrelated
software, IMHO any software or dataset may be considered as a
component to a weak-AI because of the correspondance between
proof-systems and programs (Curry Howard Isomorphism). While this may
be an erroneous viewpoint, the main point is that we should package
software relevant to increasing the capabilities of the system. Right
now one great provider of improved capabilities are the unused AI
systems, but there are many other sources as well.

I hope this has gone some way towards clarifying exactly what I
propose. Thank you for taking the time to consider my proposal.

Sincerely,
Andrew Dougherty


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Old 01-02-2008, 08:54 PM
Andrew Dougherty
 
Default Debian-AI

> I startet building Debian packages about 10 years ago and in no single
> case I had the impression that this process could be done automatically.
> You might be lucky if you try to package some kind of standardized
> archives like CTAN or CPAN, but I doubt that this is possible if
> you are picking random FOSS from the net.

Though it would be nice, I do not pretend to be able to automatically
package software to the Debian archive quality standards. However, I
do have tools that expedite the semi-automatic creation of rough
quality packages (see Packager [0]), and believe that certain tasks in
the package creation process can be completely automated to a high
success rate (especially when more "AI" systems are integrated part of
the available tool chain, and the large archive of source packages and
their upstream sources is used as a training and testing data source).
I am using debaux to completely automatically package Perl modules,
and for every package in CPAN would like to attempt to create a rough
quality package.

[0] http://frdcsa.onshore.net/frdcsa/internal/packager/

> > Would there be any interest in a Debian-AI sub-project?
>
> It sounds like you should think about joining the Custom Debian
> Distribution effort:
>
> http://wiki.debian.org/CustomDebian
> http://people.debian.org/~tille/cdd/
>
> If you are using the CDD tools you could gain some profit for your
> users by technically grouping set of packages to takss. We have also
> automatic tools to document what we just have inside official Debian
> and what is on our todo list like for instance
>
> http://debian-med.alioth.debian.org/tasks/bio.php
>
> (Please note that the later URL is just a preview of the web tools
> that are currently developed and once they are bug free there will
> be an official announcement. It's just to give you an idea of the
> profit you might have if you are building an official CDD.)

I am definitely interested in the CDDs, and think the Comprehensive
Software Ontology (CSO) (which should have formal representation of
software capabilities), along with a tool I am working on for
generating custom distributions based on required capabilities, would
help with that effort.

> Kind regards and good luck for your project
>
> Andreas.
>
> -- http://fam-tille.de

Slainte,
Andrew


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Old 01-03-2008, 06:52 AM
Andreas Tille
 
Default Debian-AI

On Wed, 2 Jan 2008, Andrew Dougherty wrote:


One would not start a sub-project without lots of interest. Andreas
Tille points out that joining the Custom Debian Distribution effort
might make more sense than a sub-project.


Well, to be precise a "Custom Debian Distribution" _is_ (despite of
the misleading name of the beast) _exactly_ a Debian sub-project by
definition (given at the Wiki page) because the main goal is to be
integrated completely into Debian.

Kind regards

Andreas.

--
http://fam-tille.de


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Old 01-03-2008, 12:44 PM
"Jeremiah C. Foster"
 
Default Debian-AI

>
>> As a result of this, it has been my goal to assemble a comprehensive
>> software ontology of existing systems and package as many of them as
>> possible, ordered in such a way that the new packages can improve the
>> automatic creation of packages.
>
> I startet building Debian packages about 10 years ago and in no single
> case I had the impression that this process could be done automatically.
> You might be lucky if you try to package some kind of standardized
> archives like CTAN or CPAN, but I doubt that this is possible if
> you are picking random FOSS from the net.

It may interest both of you to hear of an automated system to
'debianize' the CPAN: http://debian.pkgs.cpan.org/

This is of course not random FOSS from the net as Andreas states but
rather the mostly regular interface for perl modules. It does show
that it is in fact possible to build high-quality packages in an
automated fashion though I doubt there is any way to remove a human
from the process in the end. While the packages are good, they are
not strictly ready to be uploaded into debian. There is ongoing work
on that though and hopefully the software will be able to build a
decent enough package that the package just needs a review from a DD before upload.

Warm regards,

Jeremiah


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Old 01-06-2008, 04:41 PM
Andrew Dougherty
 
Default Debian-AI

From: Isabel Drost <mainec@isabel-drost.de>
Subject: Re: Debian-AI
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 11:17:28 +0100

> If your goal is to provide a comprehensive repository of AI software, I think
> you have forgotten some rather important AI projects on your list. You might
> want to have a look at the following two lists:
>
> http://ml-site.grantingersoll.com/index.php?title=Existing_Learning_Tools
>
> http://mloss.org/software/

The software Isabel Drost has mentioned is an example of the thousands
of high-end systems for which no packages exist.

The website http://frdcsa.onshore.net/frdcsa/external is really a list
of software that has been acquired and packages attempted. The list
of all known software (software ontology) has not been made, see [0]
for a description of the attempt so far.

The issue of "automatic packaging" is IMHO a red-herring. Even if the
rough packages are done completely by hand, the problem remains that
there is a lot of useful, properly licensed software for which no
package exists. Consequently, the software has not been mapped to the
FHS properly, it is more difficult to develop additional software
which depends upon it, it is more difficult for any user to install
the software, etc. The benefits of packaging are great. It promotes
code reuse, and also makes it easier to discover functionality.

Any ideas as to how we can make all these packages? Is there any
interest in some kind of effort aimed at this, to increase the package
coverage? It's not possible to spam WNPP, nor create all the packages
myself. Can Debian create some kind of official USE AT YOUR OWN RISK
repository of user-contributed packages? Would people like to work on
making rough packages from the list? Would they like to write tools
that reduce rough package creation to a wizard, so that Linux users
with no Debian expertise with an interest in having packages can
create them (and link to this tool from Sourceforge and Freshmeat
saying: "Want a package of this?"). Can we start a business where we
contract to make packages for people? Can we build mappings between
packages in Debian and other distributions and automatically convert
these using Alien plus some tools to correct dependencies? Would
anyone like to join my project to create these packages, or give me
advice how to go about creating them?

I've contacted http://debian.pkgs.cpan.org/ and expect to help with
that effort. Thank you very much for the link.

Kind regards,
Andrew Dougherty

P.S. The packages of all FRDCSA internal codebases are being tweaked
for release, so these may be available within the next few weeks, if
anyone is interested.

[0] The CSO system (http://frdcsa.onshore.net/frdcsa/internal/cso) has
a MySQL database of all the software from Freshmeat, Sourceforge, and
several other major software indexes, data from the FLOSSMole project.
(linking redundant entries can be done using the (non-free) MNOP tool
(http://www.autonlab.org/autonweb/10514), but they've not yielded
their software.) The problem is similar to the problem of "Web People
Search"
http://nlp.cs.swarthmore.edu/semeval/tasks/task13/summary.shtml.

The process of finding and inserting metasites such as the ones Isabel
Drost has mentioned is more complex. An information extraction
technique called MDR (http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/liu03mining.html)
has been mostly implemented for extracting software from metasites,
and automatic detection of metasites using one of the projects called
WebKB (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~webkb/) has been experimented with. The
most practical method is to just do it semi-automatically using the
RADAR system (http://frdcsa.onshore.net/frdcsa/internal/radar). But
the best method would be for people to submit metasites to a
repository and then either automatically or semiautomatically process
those.

Once the packages are found, their capabilities need to be
indexed/formalized. This task is beyond the scope of this letter.
Most of the tools which are necessary to accomplish this are however
not packaged.


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Old 01-06-2008, 07:23 PM
Neil Williams
 
Default Debian-AI

On Sun, 2008-01-06 at 11:41 -0600, Andrew Dougherty wrote:
> The issue of "automatic packaging" is IMHO a red-herring. Even if the
> rough packages are done completely by hand, the problem remains that
> there is a lot of useful, properly licensed software for which no
> package exists. Consequently, the software has not been mapped to the
> FHS properly, it is more difficult to develop additional software
> which depends upon it, it is more difficult for any user to install
> the software, etc. The benefits of packaging are great. It promotes
> code reuse, and also makes it easier to discover functionality.

The benefits are great because the quality of the packages remains high.
The quality only remains high when packages have maintainers with the
time to keep the packages in line with other developments within Debian.

This package set will not be used in isolation - all component packages
must function alongside the rest of Debian and they must also function
as individual packages - e.g. where only a single package (with
dependencies) of your set is installed on a particular system. No matter
how you might expect the packages to be used, no matter how you may
protest that this isn't the way the packages should be used, unless you
have good reasons for dependencies that prevent use in isolation then
packages will be used in unexpected ways that raise a whole new set of
problems.

> Any ideas as to how we can make all these packages? Is there any
> interest in some kind of effort aimed at this, to increase the package
> coverage? It's not possible to spam WNPP, nor create all the packages
> myself. Can Debian create some kind of official USE AT YOUR OWN RISK
> repository of user-contributed packages?

Anyone can create a repository but tagging it "official" when the
packages are not of sufficient quality for Debian itself doesn't help
anyone, really. I've seen quite a few horror packages in unofficial
repositories. The only way to get decent packages is with a maintainer
who has the time to keep the packages in good order.

> Would people like to work on
> making rough packages from the list? Would they like to write tools
> that reduce rough package creation to a wizard, so that Linux users
> with no Debian expertise with an interest in having packages can
> create them (and link to this tool from Sourceforge and Freshmeat
> saying: "Want a package of this?").

Such packages would be just as useless as the ones currently available
on various non-Debian homepages. Packaging isn't easy and automation is
very difficult to do well.

> Can we start a business where we
> contract to make packages for people?

I get the impression you think making a package is a one-off. Someone
needs to make a commitment to maintain the package into the future. At
some point, if you simply keep adding packages, that commitment becomes
a crushing burden. Volunteers need to be motivated and overload is a
very common reason for that motivation to disappear. Quite often, the
end result of such burdens is that Debian QA has to remove the packages
for lack of maintenance, so it just adds more work to other volunteers.

> Can we build mappings between
> packages in Debian and other distributions and automatically convert
> these using Alien plus some tools to correct dependencies? Would
> anyone like to join my project to create these packages, or give me
> advice how to go about creating them?

What you are trying to do is bring an entire environment / package set
into Debian. I'm doing the same thing with a different package set for
embedded devices.

It takes a lot of time. Wherever possible I try to keep to the same
build system for all packages. I try to apply changes across all
packages at the same time. In reality, there is no quick fix for such
situations and I don't see that automation is even desirable either.
Scripting can help around the edges (reports, summaries, status etc.).

Break the problem down into smaller chunks, work on the base packages or
a few popular ones and gradually move into the rest of the field. You
won't be able to package them all but by bringing some into Debian, it
is very likely that others will see the appeal and join with the work.

Concentrate on what you can actually do yourself - get that done and
then see about the rest. Like many other areas of volunteer work, if you
have the itch, you need to scratch it because nobody else is likely to
have the time or motivation.

--


Neil Williams
=============
http://www.data-freedom.org/
http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/
 

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