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Re: Organizing packages

From: zimoun
Subject: Re: Organizing packages
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2019 19:04:26 +0200


On Sun, 14 Jul 2019 at 15:54, Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden> wrote:

> > I think this will make searching easier because not everything has an
> > obvious name, and when I `guix search` for a purpose (like drawing) I
> > often get unrelated results.
> I don’t think the module hierarchy should be thought of as a tool for
> users to search for packages.

I totally agree. :-)

> So really, ‘guix search’ is the tool that should be improved.  It’s been
> discussed many times, and improving it turns out to be difficult without
> resorting to external sources of information (e.g., list of command
> names, popularity database, etc.)
> What we can do is look at specific examples to see if there’s something
> we can improve on the current scoring system (with the understanding
> that sometimes the answer is that we cannot do any better.)
> For example, ‘guix search drawing program’ shows Tux Paint as the first
> result, which is good; but ‘guix search drawing’ and ‘guix search
> drawing application’ are much less useful.  In this particular example,
> it’s not clear to me what can be done.
> One suggestion that was made before and that might help here is to
> increase the score of leaf packages (applications).

One of the current issue is that the score is not "normalized" somehow.

The current score is built by using the number of occurrences of each
field (name, synopsis, description, etc.) with weights (see
`%package-metrics` in guix/ui.scm).
For instance, `guix search drawing` ranks first `texlive-latex-eepic`
because the word `drawing` appears 4 times in the description, second
`tuxpaint` because of 2 times and third `xfig` (1 time).
What should be expected (IMHO) is that these 3 packages should be
scored at the same value. Therefore, something normalizing seems
missing. But what? :-)
And leaf package should have a higher score than non-leaf package. For
instance, `xfig` should be higher than `libart-lgpl`.

Then the situation with this scoring system cannot be improved so much
for the "only word" search.

Moreover, nothing can help with bad written descriptions.

For example, you need to know that `roguelike` is a `game` when
reading the description of the package `angband`.

  guix package --show=angband | recsel -C -p synopsis,description

synopsis: Dungeon exploration roguelike
description: Angband is a Classic dungeon exploration roguelike.  Explore the
+ depths below Angband, seeking riches, fighting monsters, and preparing to
+ fight Morgoth, the Lord of Darkness.

>From my opinion, the issue is that the description is not good enough
to provide any relevant information usable by a search tool. And again
from my opinion, adding tags or classifying the packages inside
relevant filenames---which is a way to tag---seems a wrong approach.
For example, where VLC should be in? video.scm? But is it closer to
ffmpeg-for-stepmania or to Totem which is in gnome.scm?
IMHO, bikeshedding cannot be an improvement for searching packages. :-)

However, a kind of tf-idf [1] should be used to better self organize
the packages when searching.


For example, I have 10146 package definitions:
  guix search ' ' | recsel -P name -C | wc -l
and 46 contain the word 'drawing'.
So, the Inverse-Document-Frequency is:
 IDF(drawing) = log(10146 / 46)

Let consider the 3 first most relevant package (with the current score).
The term `drawing` appears:
   for pkg in $(guix search drawing | recsel -C -P name | head -n3);\
      echo $pkg ; guix package --show=$pkg | grep -c drawing ;\

FREQ(drawing, texlive-latex-eepic) = 5
FREQ(drawing, tuxpaint) = 2
FREQ(drawing, xfig) = 2

Let normalize by the length of the document:
   for pkg in $(guix search drawing | recsel -C -P name | head -n3);\
      echo $pkg ; guix package --show=$pkg \
      | recsel -P synopsis,description | wc -w ;\

LEN(texlive-latex-eepic) = 68
LEN(tuxpaint) = 60
LEN(xfig) = 76

Then one definition of the Term-Frequency is:

TF(drawing, texlive-latex-eepic) = 5 / 68
TF(drawing, tuxpaint) = 2 / 60
TF(drawing, xfig) = 2 / 76

The TF-IDF reads:

TF-IDF(drawing, texlive-latex-eepic) = 5/68*log(10146/46) =0.3968
TF-IDF(drawing, tuxpaint) = 2/60*log(10146/46) =0.1799
TF-IDF(drawing, xfig) = 2/76*log(10146/46) =0.1420

This does not change much the current result. But this allows to
better know which words are "good filter".

Let consider the word `program` and the package `tuxpaint`.
The current relevance score is 5 for `program`. The term appears 2
times (note that `software` appears in synopsis which should be
replaced be `program`).
The current relevance score is 7 for `drawing`. The term also appears 2 times.
The difference is just because the weight per field.

However, the TF-IDF is totally different:

TF-IDF(drawing, tuxpaint) = 2/60*log(10146/46) =0.1799
TF-IDF(program, tuxpaint) = 2/60*log(10146/1056) =0.0754

Well, the term `drawing` owns more information than the term `program`
for the package tuxpaint.

>From my opinion, text mining or search engine strategies seem a better
approach to improve the `guix search` than rigidify the filename tree.
And some data mining to see how the packages cluster (depending on the
metric) should be helpful to first understand how to improve `guix
I do not know if my words make sense.

All the best,

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