The Debian Pure Blends framework was mainly inspired by the Debian Med needs. The implementation by, for example, the Debian Edu project - another Blend - is far more advanced. There are several reasons for this fact. The main reason is an enormous availability of software for education and the fact that a Norwegian company paid developers to work full time on this project. Debian Med profited from those technologies and generalised some tools from Debian Edu for all Blends. Conversely, inside Debian Med some new Blend tools were developed which now enhance the easy preparation of metapackages.
Beyond the metapackages, another service of the Blends is the so-called web sentinel. It is a web portal to guide the contributors to the current active tasks (packages) and their associated bug reports. The task pages are providing an overview of all fields of work, such as biology, medical imaging, practice management, etc., that are covered by Debian Med. The list of all the packages is regenerated on a daily basis and includes some meta information to e.g. point to relevant scientific publications and the description of the packages in this task. The output of the project can be easily viewed at the tasks page of Debian Med .
For the comfort of the user these pages are translated (if the Debian Description Translation Project has provided translations), include screenshots from screenshots.debian.net if available, give information about the usage of a package by querying Debian Popularity Contest results and inform about versions packaged for Debian as well as a notification about new releases. Moreover, the visitor of these pages gets an easy option to provide a screenshot or a missing translation as well as fixing a wrong translation, i.e. everyone is visibly invited to contribute.
There are also quality assurance tools developed; for instance there is an overview of all bugs concerning the packages in Debian Med .
By providing this kind of tools for other Blends as well Debian Med has set a cornerstone in the technical cooperation between user oriented projects inside Debian. This in turn awakes the interest of other Debian developers who might provide other tools for Debian Med.
Andreas Tille 2010-12-10