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Unifying Desktop Search

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Wasabi is a new proposal on FreeDesktop.org for a unified desktop search and metadata specification. I'm not qualified to comment on the specifics of the proposal, but I definitely like the vision. Over the past month I had been thinking that an API was needed so I'm pleased to see that others are already ahead of me. Getting this done is the first step towards making desktop search a truly useful feature that's good for more than just searching archives.

A More Productive Kerry Beagle

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Last year I wrote about some options for desktop search on Linux. Since then many of the projects have advanced and newer ones like Tracker and Strigi show signs of widespread adoption over the next year. Not to be overshadowed, Kerry Beagle came out with a 0.2.1 release that addresses many of the previous version's deficiencies.

Version 0.2.1 has been out for a while now, but it's not available for Kubuntu Edgy so I never tried it. However, I finally got around to installing it on my Debian Etch computer and I'd like to share some of my impressions.

Linux Desktop Search

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Searching in Linux starts those venerable command line favorites: find, grep, and locate. These tools are very powerful and can easily be integrated into scripts, but for many users, this usefulness is also one of their key weaknesses. These users require a graphical interface in order to be comfortable with a program. They don't want to have to remember syntax and drop out of another app to type commands. The new breed of Linux desktop search is all about bringing the functionality of the tried and true originals into the graphical world.

Improved Site Search

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The are two search areas on Linux App Finder. One is located on the top right hand corner of every page and uses Google to search the site. The other appears only on the category and most viewed pages. It is located just above the list of apps on each page.

Until recently the latter search could only match a single word or phrase. I'm pleased to announce that the capabilities have been extended to use boolean searching.

By default any space is treated as an OR. You can also explicitly call out AND, OR, and NOT as options. If a phrase is what you are looking for then placing quotes around it will keep the words as a single search item.

New Search Feature Added

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A new search capability has been added to the Category and Most Viewed sections. It allows you to search by application "Name" or by "Name and Description". Results will be returned on the same page with subcategories and most viewed lists also being updated. To revert to the full listing, either select the current category's link from the path at the top of the screen or run a blank search.

Following a subcategory link after a search will retain the search criteria. The same is true when going to the previous or next pages. To determine if the results are from a search, simply check the defaults that appear when loading or reloading the page. The text and range options will match what is currently displayed.

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