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Re: [desktop] Draft proposal for a new debian menu system

* Enrico Zini <enrico@debian.org> [030417 03:30]:
> On Wed, Apr 16, 2003 at 05:10:58PM +0200, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> > > We have at least three parallel menu systems around: the Debian Menu,
> > > the Gnome Foot Menu and the KDE menu.
> > We have one menu system: the Debian menu.
> > And we have several programs with menus, like Gnome, KDE, fvwm, icewm,
> > wmaker, ....
> I'm sorry: sid is currently shipping at least three parallel menu
> hierarchies: the Debian one, the Gnome one and the KDE one.  

A menu hirachy is still no menu system. With menu system meaning
something to centrally manage menus and make it accessable to the
menu implementations.

> If you open
> your Gnome foot menu, you can see all three, and you don't know which
> one to use to look for the application you want to launch.

That's just a matter of (at least corporate or educational use) insane 
defaults. With the exception of KDE-packages, which do not support
the Debian menu system, everything I saw could be configured to provide
onls the debian-menu, which already supports consistent menus for almost
every window-environment (wm2 and KDE beeing exceptions).

> I'm sorry, I still do not get your point: what do linker have to do with
> launcher menus?

What has a menu to do with the desktop?

> > I do not meant "switch" in the sense of making them more similar.
> > I meant in the meaning of "making another run where one in running quite
> > now".
> Yes, the other menus do not have a facility for changing the window
> manager on the fly.  It could be argued that this is a task that do not
> necessarily belong to the menu system.  In fact, switching WM is
> different than launching an application, both in terms of operations you
> need to do and in terms of user perception and user goals.

It may be a different thing in user perception under Gnome and KDE and
different in user goals from the new "desktop" look no longer seeing the
window-manager as just another program.
But it information about programs users want to start. If this
information is presented to the user by means of a list to select from
(display manger), menu entry (lightwight window-manager) or
checkboxes in some dialog (heavyweight "desktops" may do) is just a
matter of the menu implementation, and not the menu system.

> Maybe a separate tool can be developed for WM switching (and possibly
> also to set the default WM for the Debian X session).  Gnome does it
> through its preferences window, and I think that it's a good idea.  We
> could ship a generic preferences window to customize the Debian session
> when running without Gnome or KDE.

Such a preferences window would be nice. In fact I've already a
fast-hacked version running here, which get the information it is
needing basicly by placing a file
!include menu.h
  wm=          $title "=" $command "\n"

startmenu=   "\n"
endmenu=     "\n"

submenutitle= "\n"
genmenu=   "wmanagerc"
into /etc/menu-methods

> > So instead of using a system that works and can do what we need
> > (with the exception of generating KDE-menus, though I do not see
> >  the fault in our system here), we should adopt another metadata
> > not even able to describe the things we already have and are used?
> This is interesting: could you please make some example of metadata
> information that can be represented with the current format and cannot
> be represented by the Desktop Menu Specification found at
> freedesktop.org?

I've as said not found a possibility to specify window managers.
As it is quite complex (and uses the word "desktop" on places
totally confusing me), I could not determine, if it has a generic
way to add arbitrary meta information.
(Consider things currently supported by the menu-system, like
 the possibility to tell a program to be started in a terminal-
 emulator and specifing prefered title or geometry. (with an
 easy way the administrator can change the effect of such statements),
 or the possibility to package additional fvwm-modules, so that
 they end up in fvwm's modules-menu like those provided by the stock

  Bernhard R. Link

Sendmail is like emacs: A nice operating system, but missing
an editor and a MTA.

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