Bug#741573: Proposed draft of ballot to resolve menu/desktop question
I had an interesting and helpful conversation with a member of the KDE
team at Debconf. They made an interesting proposal:
* We have machinery that can produce trad menu files from desktop
* It is possible to have extension information in extra fields in a
.desktop file. This could be used to record the trad Debian
category and name metadata currently residing in trad Debian menu
* Where such metadata is accepted by upstream, we could include it in
the primary .desktop file.
* Where such metadata is not accepted by upstream, our tooling could
be arranged to be able to combine XDG information from two .desktop
files, one from upstream and one provided in the Debian package.
This would avoid the need for patching an upstream menu file, which
* Overall, this would make it possible, therefore, to maintain the
menu information primarily in the more sophisticated .desktop
format, so that source packages with .desktop files would not need
to contain trad menu files too.
The only remaining questions are then :
Q1. Whether it is better to convert from .desktop files to trad
Debian menu files at package build time, or to change the
existing trad menu consumers to be able to convert .desktop
files to the required format ?
There is an easy answer to this: this conversion may involve
image conversion libraries including even perhaps an SVG
renderer, and other conversion software, which is
disproportionately heavyweight for many trad menu consumers.
(Trad menu consumers tend to be non-desktop `lightweight' window
Whereas most software that ships a .desktop file will have
fairly extensive build dependencies, and in general adding image
conversion tools to their build dependencies will not be
awkward. This also means the conversion is done once, at
package build, rather than on each end-user system.
Therefore the format specified in the .deb, to be used by trad
menu consumers should continue to be the trad Debian menu file.
Q2. Whether packages (bc, many command line games, ...) which only
want to provide a trad Debian menu entry should do so by
including a .desktop file in the source code, or a trad menu
I see no need for policy to mandate any particular answer to
this. The maintainer should do what they prefer.