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Re: Debian menu system update

On Fri, 2003-05-30 at 05:19, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> * Colin Walters <walters@debian.org> [030529 22:40]:
> > Yes, it is our task to make it *consistent*.  It shouldn't be our task
> > to write menu entries from scratch, when upstreams can (and are) taking
> > on the task.  Our menu system should accept .desktop files, and ideally
> > process them natively.  
> I think making things consistent needs us to write them on our own,
> taking upstream entries as suggestions. In my eyes it is just the same
> as with the directories software is installed into.

Your analogy with installation directories is flawed; most upstreams
have very similar ideas about where software should be installed.  Even
if they didn't, it'd be dumb not to leverage the X percent of packages
which have perfectly good menu entries.

>  There are just too 
> many ways to do it and we do not serve our users well to let them all in.

We can quite easily edit them.  Really, it's not hard.  Centrally within
our menu file, or just edit the Desktop file directly.

> Of course it would be nice to have things on places, where users know
> them, but without an consistent concept overall, there is no use to it.

What do you mean "consistent concept overall"?  Using the freedesktop
standards makes things more consistent, not less.

> I think making update-menus able to parse files in dektop menu
> specification will only cause such files beeing included without
> inspection by newbies.

Oh, right.  I think we should make newbies create Debian packages using
dd.  After all, otherwise we might actually make creating Debian
packages easier, have less maintenance burden on ourselves!  We can't
have that.

> [...] I know its KDEs
> philosophie to not integrate but creating a world of its own. [...]

No, we're the ones in a world of our own now.  Other distributors are
going to be dropping their proprietary menu systems.  Having a common
menu system standard will make life much easier for administrators of
non-homogenous GNU/Linux machines, it will make life easier for people
who try different distributions, and our translators will have much less
work in translating menu entries for every package.  The benefits of
using the freedesktop standard far outweigh the drawbacks.

> There a many things, that make proper packaging of software a
> complex matter. 

Making Debian packages of software should not be complex for the simple
cases.  There's just no reason for it to be.

> Writing this single line to get a menu-item
> should really no problem. 

Writing it is just the start; it has to be translated, and it's just
another thing that has to be maintained by the Debian packager.  And
moreover, it's not just a maintenance burden on the packager; everyone
else has to learn a Debian-specific menu system, with all the drawbacks
I already mentioned earlier.

> And if it was I really doubt the
> person involved was competent enough to look in the .desktop-file
> if it is reasonable...

But that still creates a maintenance burden, and still doesn't solve the
problem of us having a Debian-specific menu system.

> This makes a shoe out if it. Debian is *much* more than KDE and GNOME,

Other distributors are adopting this system too.  I am quite certain Red
Hat is, for example.  I wouldn't doubt others will too.

> using .dektop will in the long run cause masses of people learn a new
> format and in order to get a coherent understandable system need rewrite
> of masses of old

It's the other way around; keeping our proprietary menu system forces
administrators to learn yet another needlessly Debian-specific thing
when using Debian.

> A working menu is a good way to go. 

I agree!  That's why we should switch to the freedesktop standard.

> The currest system works and has
> many nice aspects of configurability and administrability, 

The freedesktop standard is extremely configurable, using the .menu
files.  It was designed to be so.

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