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Re: [desktop] Don't assume you know users

On Fri, Oct 25, 2002 at 01:06:01PM -0700, Craig Dickson wrote:
> One thought that just came to me, which I'll include here rather than
> write another message for, is: Has anyone ever considered extending the
> alternatives system to the user level? Each user could have a
> ~/.alternatives directory full of symlinks for things like
> x-window-manager, x-terminal-emulator, web-browser, and so on. A simple
> GUI tool could be used to configure these, choosing from the
> system-defined alternatives (and one choice could simply be, let this
> symlink for foo point to /etc/alternatives/foo, so that you get the
> system default, whatever that may be). Then we could have a menu that
> simply lists all of your alternatives entries, using a simple mapping
> from the standard symlink name plus the name of the actual executable as
> the menu entry text (e.g. web-browser would map to "Web Browser", and if
> it points to mozilla, you end up with a menu entry saying "Web Browser
> (mozilla)").

This is a great idea. It not only leverages the alternatives system that
we already have (which is a great system) but it also presents some kind
of unity within the whole Debian structure.

How much extra code would this take? I'd imagine not a whole lot on the
alternatives side (GUI aside), as it would just have to look in to the
user's home directory to see if the defaults are overridden. As for the
menu system, since the rewrite isn't done, I don't have any idea. I'd
guess that update-menus would have to be called when the alternatives
are updated, but how much would it take to translate the alternatives
symlinks in to the menu system's internal structure? Is there something
else I'm missing that someone would like to fill in?

 - David Nusinow

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