whohas: A good idea, in theory

After all these years of scooping manually through individual repos to see which distro carries what software, you’d think something like whohas would really enthuse me.

But unfortunately it doesn’t. The idea sounds good, but it doesn’t seem to follow through.


whohas is a multi-distro search tool. It searches through a long list of Linux and BSD repositories and returns links to packages or results pages. Ideally, it would be wonderful for someone like me.

Unfortunately, the difficulty (I imagine) in maintaining something like this, is that you have to keep up with all the dozens of search tools and their respective eccentricities. If AUR, for example, suddenly decides to move to a new host, or even just tweaks its search address, and suddenly your multi-distro info retrieval tool is handicapped.

That seems to be the case with whohas. The documentation suggests whohas should support Arch, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Mandriva, openSUSE and a lot more, but I get results from maybe two of the 15 total available. And the rest are … missing, I guess I should say.

The git page for whohas shows attention within the last nine months, at the time of this writing. All the same, I don’t see much from Arch or Debian, which are the two I try to align myself with.

If whohas can support your distro or something that you occasionally jump to, then perhaps you’ll get more use from it than I did. As it stands for me, it was a good idea, but only in theory. 😦

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