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Searching the ibiblio Linux Archive

Basic Help

Traditionally, people have found software in ibiblio's Linux Archive by traversing our FTP directories. With Linux's growth in scope and sophistication, though, this option has become a bit unwieldy. So to make things easier to find we have indexed our collection and made it searchable.

This search engine indexes and searches LSM (Linux Software Map) files. LSMs are the descriptive metadata that Linux developers submit with their kits. That is, they describe what each piece of software does, who maintains it, what platforms it runs on, and a bunch of other stuff. Each LSM includes these fields:

Title: [the kit's name]
Version: [current version number]
Entered-date: [date submitted to ibiblio]
Description: [a brief description of the kit's functionality]
Keywords: [words that summarize the workings of the kit]
Author: [who wrote the software]
Maintained-by: [who maintains it now]
Primary-site: [where the software is developed/distributed]
Alternate-site: [other places it's available (i.e. ibiblio)]
Original-site: [old distribution site]
Platforms: [supported platforms]
Copying-policy: [for info on this click here]

Your search will return any LSMs that seem relevant to your query. They will also be ranked, with the most relevant documents displayed at the top of the return list.

After your search, check the Primary-site and Alternate-site paths. To retrieve that actual software, just point your FTP client to one of those paths. In the future we hope to return links to software packages with the returned LSMs, but for now this two-stage process is the best we can offer.

Search Strategy

Querying the database can be as simple or elaborate as you make it. From the Simple LSM Search page selecting the Full Text option will return documents that show your search term in any LSM field. You may also limit your search to specific fields of the LSM. For instance, you might search only within the author field. You may also define relationships between search terms using Boolean operators (AND, OR, and ANDNOT).

After selecting which LSM fields to search, enter a search term. This may be either a single word or a phrase. For instance, linus is a term; so is linus torvalds. Capitalization doesn't matter here. So Linus and linus get parsed the same.

If you want to query on more than three fields, or if you want to specify precise relationships between search terms, you should use the Advanced LSM search. This interface allows you to query on as many fields as you want (up to the LSM's full 12), and to specify Boolean relations between terms. The syntax for these queries goes as follows:

field/term boolean_operator field/term etc.

The field declarations shown here are optional, but you probably should use them. Otherwise, the Simple Search is likely to be your best bet. By placing parentheses around terms or sets of terms in the advanced query, you can control things even more:

(keywords/mail and copying-policy/gpl) andnot platform/X11

This will return all LSMs that contain both the keyword mail and the copying policy gpl and do not show X11 as a supported platform.

Simple LSM Search

Advanced LSM Search

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