As not to threadjack iphitus's Dotfile Exchange. topic, I thought I'd start a new thread here...
There are many common config files in Linux, and they are the topic of many posts not only here, but on other forums as well. Being able to find the specific configuration settings you need from the sea of information out there is the tricky part. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of a place where users could easily share/search for information regarding all sorts of different configuration files. iphitus worded it very well when he said:
"In the past I've discovered all sorts of cool things in different people's dotfiles on the internet, aliases for bash/zsh, settings for vim, tweaks for fluxbox, plenty of things..."
On the other thread http://www.dotfiles.com/ was mentioned, which is a similar idea, but IMHO, very poorly executed...
That got me inspired to start a new project, and thus I registered http://ConfigExchange.com and am hoping to get some ideas from you guys on this endeavor. I'm envisioning a place where people could upload their files (or parts of files), and then having some sort of feedback system (rating/comments/etc.) on those files as well. Organizing them would be a key issue, and there are countless possibilities with helping people to write their config files through tutorials and perhaps some simple generators and the like. Really I'd just like to know what you guys would find genuinely useful for something like this...
Any suggestions, thoughts, taunts, lawsuits, etc. are all welcome (no matter how outlandish). At this point I just want to brainstorm on how to organize this undertaking...we'll see what happens from there! Thanks!
What about a wiki-like setup - you would have to break everything down into categories and let people post freely. You could put a 'broken config' link on each page to allow the reporting of bogus or broken config files.
A wiki would be good, but is primarily for interactive editing. With people putting up their config files, it doesn't make much sense for other people to edit them. If the original 'uploader' changes a file themselves, they can just upload it again. So I dunno there. A wiki would be good, but maybe not ideal.
The essential thing is organization, navgation, interactivity. Wiki's do have protectable pages and can then have unprotected 'discuss this page' pages. So that'd be good for feedback. But there are other ways to get feedback devices set up.
But a sensible 'here are command line configs, here are console configs, here are GUI configs' - in the console section, 'here are the MUA configs, here the IRC client configs, here the editor configs' - or however it's done. Being able to find stuff (along with a last resort alphabetical index, obviously) is important. And perhaps even more important is good descriptions. If there are 6000 vi configs, why should I click on one? 'Killer vim config!', 'This vim config rocks!'. Well, uh, yeah, but what does it really *do* - what's it *for*?
Lots of cross-referencing, too. Kinda vague on that, but some way to find a good trail - cross-ref'ed by author, by keyword, I dunno.
And, yeah, lots of helpful nav features - most recently updated, highest rated, most hits, whatever.
Maybe make the config files themselves searchable. Type in a keyword restricted to an app and get a list of files with those keys in them with the keys displayed.
Maybe I'll try to vague this up some more later.
I have been moving to a new apartment and without internet access for the past couple of days (horrible, I know), but, awesome suggestions so far! That's exactly the type of stuff I'm interested in hearing about...
I agree that a wiki interface wouldn't quite fit, but the site has the same idea in the sense that it should create itself out of user contributions...and a good system behind them to organize and put all of the information together.
Making the config files searchable is a good idea. I was originally thinking it would be cool if somehow stats could be created on certain config files, to show for instance how many people use a certain option when writing a .vimrc, or something along those lines, but I think that would be WAY too problematic to implement.
I'll have to think a bit about how to differentiate the different configs...you're right in that 'This vim config rocks!' doesn't tell other users anything at all. Definitely keeping stats on popular configs, most recent submissions, etc. would be a good first step.
I think that organization will truly be the key...hmmmm