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Bug#741573: Two menu systems

On Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:29:44 +0000 Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
> The traditional Debian menu system (mostly done by Bill Alombert) has
> been providing menu entries for bc and dc and everything for years.
> That is what its users expect.  It is what users like Matthew Vernon
> want:
>   https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=741573#20
> What you are suggesting above is that the Debian menu will simply be
> abolished.

This seems correct.

> No-one will be allowed[1] to provide a comprehensive menu in Debian.

This doesn't.

The trad menu system and the desktop menu system are both, in essence,
just a bunch of metadata. What's represented in that metadata is "how do
you start this particular bit of software". To that extent, they are the

The actual *contents* of the trad menu system and the desktop menu
system is vastly different. I suspect that the opposition to losing the
trad menu system is not so much about the metadata *format* as it is
about the *contents* of those menu systems; about the actual menus that
result from interpreting the metadata.

But I don't see why that would need to be a problem, or indeed be part
of this question.

There is no reason why we wouldn't, theoretically, be able to build a
menu system that had a semantically similar (although perhaps differing
in minor details, such as "categories" etc) contents as does the trad
menu system, but using desktop metadata rather than trad metadata.

There is no reason why "moving to desktop files as supported menu
system" must imply "losing most or all of the contents that the trad
menu currently contains". It could, yes, and maybe it would make sense
if some of the more... "unusual" menu entries (such as those for "bash"
or "python") were removed from the menu system. However, that is a
wholly different question as to the question of which metadata format we
decide to go with, long-term.

I submit that the TC, for the purpose of answering this question before
it, should at first simply decide on a preferred metadata format. The
contents of the resulting menus is something they can then decide on as
a separate question (or ignore altogether if they decide it is not
appropriate for them to make that decision).

I will add that the debian menu is an all-or-nothing approach; TTBOMK it
is not possible to create an entry in the Debian menu saying something
along the lines of "this should not be shown by default" or "this should
not be shown by default in environment X". This might be one reason for
the choice of some of our DE maintainers to decide not to show the
Debian menu anymore.

The same is not true for the desktop metadata format.

It is easy to love a country that is famous for chocolate and beer

  -- Barack Obama, speaking in Brussels, Belgium, 2014-03-26

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