Finding programs (was: SELinux)

Tim ignored_mailbox at
Wed Jan 26 04:02:01 UTC 2011

On Tue, 2011-01-25 at 13:23 -0800, Wolfgang S. Rupprecht wrote:
> I'm not sure how new users are supposed to find evince.  Yum isn't a
> command that newbies are likely to be familiar with.  Old-timers from
> the BSD world might try "man -k pdf" but that doesn't find evnice
> either.

Various add/remove software helpers allow one to search through them
using keywords, with those words being looked for in the package names
and descriptions.

Granted that Evince isn't a great example, as it just lists itself as a
document reader.  Instead of being more explicit, and saying that it can
read PDFs and PostScript files.  I'd call that a serious enough omission
to warrant a bugzilla entry, as it stops people finding it when
searching for a PDF application.  I think such programs should have pdf
viewer and pdf reader set as package search keywords.

Though, that sort of "find me a pdf application" search should have
returned several alternatives.  On Fedora 9, I find at least these:

epdfview.i386 : Lightweight PDF document viewer
gsview.i386 : PostScript and PDF previewer
pdfcube.i386 : PDF presentation viewer with a spinning cube

Hmm, pdfcube sound intriguing!

> Even on fedora-14 I can't seem to find it on the pull-down
> menus.

Yes, that's a bugbear with me, too.  It's hidden, for some obscure
reason.  You have to edit the menus to unhide it.  It's not the only
useful app that's hidden, either.

Then there's applications with weird names.  The specs for the files the
the menus are made from (.desktop) carry the following information in

 Program name, e.g. Evince.
 Generic name, e.g. PDF and PS document reader
 Descriptive comment, e.g. A program to read documents in the PDF and PS

As far as I'm concerned, the default should be set to suit newcomers,
and show both program name and generic name, in the menu, with the
description as a hover-over pop-up information window.  Particularly
when it comes to obtusely named applications (e.g. Evince, Seahorse,
Nautilus, Konqueror, k3b, et cetera).  For my money, I see worse names
in the kde desktop than the Gnome one.  Let the more savvy users
configure the menus to be shorter.

I think that it should, also, be required that they're filled-in
properly before the package is accepted into Fedora.  I've always
managed to find some applications which omit one or more of those
attributes from the .desktop files, or the information is under the
wrong attribute.  There is a specification for how the .desktop files
are supposed to be filled in, and they're not adhering to it.

> The way I found it back when I started using a linux distribution
> (back in fc4 days) was to let firefox open up a pdf file, spawn the
> reader and then I opened a shell window and did a PS to see what the
> viewer was called.

I think the way most people open a file, now, is either when they try to
open it with their filemanager, or read a file through their web
browser.  In either case, once the application has loaded up, most give
their naming details in the "about" entry in their help menu.  There's
no need to grep through ps to find it.  You can make a reasonable
assumption that a program called "Evince" is probably going to be
started by a binary called evince or Evince, and try the lazy typing
all-lower-case first, since that's the long-term habit of Linux.

[tim at localhost ~]$ uname -r

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