Search Engine on

Stephen John Smoogen smooge at
Mon Jul 26 20:34:01 UTC 2010

2010/7/25 Máirín Duffy <duffy at>:

>> I thought the discussion was whether or not we should provide a
>> ourselves or get rid of it. I have been
>> discussing in any form the former. We can't provide an open source
>> search engine to replace Google or Bing or Yahoo. We are neither
>> staffed, budgeted, or knowledgeable to do something at even the level
>> of the original AltaVista. Having had to replace several
>> ill-performing search programs with Google at previous jobs.. I am not
>> sure how well we could do ourselves in a way that people consider
>> 'relevant' any more.
> I guess one problem here, that I've missed in the discussion so far, is
> rather than thinking about which search engine is best to use - what is
> best for the user? Is a page with a search box in the middle of it the
> first time you open the default browser really the best experience for
> our Fedora users? Isn't there already a persistent search box now
> available embedded in the browser chrome so no matter what page you're
> on you can search the web? So why are we providing a search box in the
> main screen area again? Was it to make referral money that we then found
> out later we couldn't accept?

The idea of an opening search page was a browser idea of around 2006?
or so. Most browsers when opened up for the first time would take you
to a page with a search on it (Internet Explorer -> MSNBC, Other sites
Google or Yahoo).  Now they don't... so the paradigm doesn't make

On another point, I am not sure we can make a decision that is best
for the User because our general User is too ornery and independent to
want people to decide for them. Most people I know who run Fedora
change their front page after an install or have some set of pages
they want anyway. So I figured a one time "here is what might be
useful." would be better than most other pages.

> I think a big confusion here too is we're talking about start.fpo AND
> docs.fpo. I don't think you need a Google / Yahoo / Altavista level
> search system to be able to search docs.fpo or even www.fpo. Sure, you
> need a big horse engine to search the whole web, but why should we be in
> the business of searching the entire web?

Web searches that just return if a word in the search exists in a
document is 'easy' if you do not care about the order they are
presented. Web searches that try to figure out relevance is harder.
Web searching where you figure out that when someone asks for LILO
replacement and get grub when none of the pages say that is even
harder. And while 3 seems unreasonable to look for.. since Bing/Google
do that already its expected by users. [You usually get the flames of
death that XYZ's search sucks and why aren't they just using Google

> them in one click based on visual cues? I think a long time ago Bryan
> Clark wrote a blog post about what should be in the browser window when
> you first open it to best make users' lives easier. Actually I think
> Colin may have written an extension for Firefox that does the thumbnail
> thing. Why don't we get rid of start.fpo and just install that extension
> by default?

It does sound nice, however there are the usual extra security and
maintainability issues that someone would need to address.

Stephen J Smoogen.
“The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance.”
Randy Nelson, President of Pixar University.
"We have a strategic plan. It's called doing things.""
— Herb Kelleher, founder Southwest Airlines

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