Subject: OT: canonical names for Open Source projects?
From: Rich Morin <>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 15:34:29 -0700

DarwinPorts ( has a partly-baked
script ( which wanders through the FSF/UNESCO Free Software
Directory ({all,GNU}/), looking for
project information.  It then downloads each mentioned archive file
and attempts to extract enough information to create a "half-port"
file (i.e., a first cut at a port description) for it.

While looking this over, it occurred to me that it might be useful to
download port files (etc) for other Unixish variants, as they might
have information that could be useful for the DarwinPorts porter.  I
realized, however, that correlating the varying package names might
be problematic (or even impossible) in some cases.

This made me wonder about the possibility of finding (or, if need be,
creating) canonical names for Open Source projects.  If each project
had such a name, and if the assorted "ports" projects included it in
their metadata, correlating ports would be trivial.

There are plenty of existing candidates for the role of "central
registry of free/libre/open source software", but (of course) no
general agreement on which one is definitive.  Worse, there may be
political or philosophical reasons that given registries are not

If you're still reading, you may have some ideas about what registry
should be used, how this problem should be addressed, etc.  It may be
that there's already a solution in place!  In any case, I'd love to
hear any comments, clues, or suggestions.  Given that "Summer Reading"
was a recent topic, I don't suppose this is TOO off-topic to discuss
on the list.  Feel free, however, to respond privately if you wish...

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