Catalog Requirements

There are a few steps needed to find and install a package:

  1. Discovery : which module does what I need?
  2. Download : where can I get a copy?
  3. Security : is this actually from the package author, and not a Trojan horse?
  4. Installation : how do I compile the package, install it, and set it up?
  5. Updating : what's the latest version of a package? do I need to get an updated version for my system?

The Distutils SIG focuses on the hardest and most complicated step, #4, so the Catalog SIG doesn't really have to concern itself with that problem.

Requirements from #1

1.1) Users can browse through a list of available packages, browse through a hierarchy like Parnassus, or do keyword searches.

1.2) Packages are also indexed by author and date, so you can see all of Moshe's packages, or the 10 most recently changed packages.

1.3) For each author, their name, e-mail and home page URL are stored.

1.4) Information about a package is only extracted from the metadata included in the package's file. This ensures that the info is up-to-date, saves users the effort of entering data, and encourages people to use the Distutils.

Requirements from #2

2.1) Given a package name, software can retrieve one or more download URLs for the package.

2.2) The catalog should keep copies of the code, not just point to remote sites, in order to prevent disasters

2.3) It should be possible to mirror the catalog without too much trouble, using a conventional FTP or HTTP mirroring script.

Requirements from #3

3.1) Users can check a signature on the downloaded package, using an external tool such as GnuPG.

3.2) Checking the signature is optional, and can be skipped if the external tool isn't available. (We could implement our own signature scheme with Python code, but that's a bad idea; security is hard, and few people will bother to generate keys that are only useful only for distributing Python modules.

Related requirement: the Distutils sdist and bdist_* commands should have a --sign switch to sign the generated .tgz, .rpm, or whatever file.

Requirements from #4


Requirements from #5

Not covered by this page. This includes checking for updated versions, tracking dependencies between Python packages, and between Python packages and system libraries. These seem to be difficult problems that require a database of Python packages installed on a system.

Information about a package
Supported Platforms
Homepage URL
Author IDs
Download link
Date of release

Left out for now:
Dependency information 

Information about an author
Home page
GnuPG/PGP key (both the actual key, and just the ID)
E-mail address (used as ID?)
E-mail address public: y/n

Information about a document
URL of HTML version
URL of printable version
URL and format of downloadable version
  (Any of these URLs can be omitted if not applicable.)