Kat Desktop Search Engine : Open Letter to Linux developers

Story: An Open Letter to Linux DevelopersTotal Replies: 1
Author Content

May 02, 2005
5:31 AM EDT
Hello everyone, I am the developer of Kat - Desktop Search Engine for Linux ( http://kat.sourceforge.net - http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=22135 ). In response to the open letter posted by Ken Starks (aka helios), I would like to use this space to explain the reasons that led me to start the development of such a complex piece of software. I would also give some rationale for the technical choices I have made. I started developing Kat after reading the news coming from KDE stating that a desktop search engine was under development and that it would be released in 18 months. One year and a half is an ethernity in the IT world and I needed such a software immediately for my personal research activities. I wrote to Scott Wheeler, KDE developer in charge of creating the official KDE search engine, in order to understand what kind of application they are developing and I discovered that his vision about it is completely different from mine. The main focus of Kat is to gather all possible information from every single file. This means: filesystem properties, metadata, fulltext, preview. Recently I also added the ability to identify the natural language in which the document has been written. This gives Kat the opportunity to exclude from the search (and also from the database) entire lists of words, bound to each language, that are not useful for searching information. Technically the main problem comes from the huge number of file formats to be recognized and opened by Kat in order to gather all information from files. The problem has been partially solved using KDE's kfile plugins, a sort of helper programs, each of which is able to manage one file format. That kind of plugin is not bound to Kat, but is already available to all KDE users. They allow the extraction of previews and metadata from files and are not able to extract the fulltext. Therefore, in collaboration with some KDE developers, I defined a new class of plugins, the so-called fulltext-plugins, in charge of extracting the fulltext from the files. My hope is that, in the medium-long term, all producers of word processors for Linux will adopt and produce that plugins. In the short-term we are producing that plugins. We have fulltext plugins for PDF, MS Word, OpenOffice 1.3 and 2.0, plain text and HTML. What I would like to say here is that, to speed up the development, I need more developers joining the KAT team. I also need testers, packagers, people developing the missing fulltext plugins, programmers reviewing code... The actual KAT team is composed by me and other 2 developers... nothing if compared to the crew composing the teams of Google, Beagle and the like. > Give us a desktop search tool as functional as Yahoo desktop Search. This is what I firmly want to do. > Your work can be legendary if only a few things are improved. We are waiting...and hoping. Three only people developing a desktop search engine for Linux is already a legend, don't you think? :-) > Money. I donate money to my distro development teams and software authors, that's what I contribute. I would like to encourage everyone to contribute what they can: developers can contribute work, users can contribute feedback, everyone can contribute money! :-) Together we can make Kat a great Linux application, something you can count on, something you can use everyday.

May 02, 2005
9:32 AM EDT
YOU are the guy I want to talk to...please check your lxer email.


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