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Re: [desktop] Please read the vFolder spec [Was: why kde and gnome's menu situation sucks]

On Oct 26, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> So short version of my comment, if vfolder doesn't work for you, you
> need to be posting to xdg-list and keeping the menu discussion there
> moving forward, not cooking up Yet Another Menu System In Isolation.
> If we can get GNOME, KDE, Red Hat, Debian all using the same system
> out-of-the-box that'll be a solid de facto standard and clean up this
> mess once and for all.

I have no problem with using vFolder XML files as an option for
categorization, and intend to support it as an option once I have the
Debian system actually nailed down to do anything; however, IMHO it's
a heavyweight solution to a lightweight problem, and I could spend
months writing the XML to do what I could--and did--do in ~50 lines of
real code (yes, I realize I'm supposed to use some whiz-bang thing to
make the XML for me, but what's the point of having things
human-readable when they're not human-writable).

Fundamentally it makes more sense (at least to me) for one program on
the system to be used by everyone to layout their menus, rather than
each thing that wants to layout a menu trying to figure out how to do
it on its own.  That's how Debian's always done it.  Maybe it's a
stupid design decision but it's one that seems to work fine for us.

A unified system is a nice thing.  And nothing I've proposed stops a
Debian .desktop file from working just fine on a stock KDE 3.1 or
GNOME 2 desktop, unless you want to create something called Group that
does something else (in which case I'll gladly withdraw my months-old
and apparently-ignored request to standardize it and make it
X-Debian-Group instead).  I think Group is a good idea that solves a
lot of the problems inherent in having a menu space that lots of
people are going to want to use (thus loading it up with entries),
without losing the categorization benefits of vFolder over the Win*
"dump it all in Start Menu willy-nilly" philosophy.  Maybe I didn't
communicate that very well originally, or maybe this is just one of my
occasional flashes of brilliance that is only brilliant to me.

In short, I don't see what Debian is doing as "going off in another
direction."  Rather, I see it as providing interoperability (by moving
to a common format for application start metadata from the bizarre
format we use currently to .desktop) without sacrificing our ability
to experiment with a menu tree (automatic consolidation of small
leaves, etc.) or our ability to support non-.desktop environments.  I
guess that means the nifty menu editor GUI won't work if you're not
using the vFolder categorizer, but IMHO if we have to have a nifty
menu editor GUI for our end users we've failed to provide a worthwhile
menu system anyway.  (Well, you see Bob, our default menus suck, but
you can use the nifty menu editor GUI to rearrange things so you can
find stuff... BZZT.)

Anyway, I don't want to sound like I'm cranky today, and I've been
bombarded by (what seems like) hundreds of messages about the arcana
of menus already in the past few days, so I'll shut up now. :-)

Chris Lawrence <lawrencc@debian.org> - http://www.lordsutch.com/chris/

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