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Debian packages and freedesktop.org (Gnome, KDE, etc) menu entries


Debian has a usability problem - it's hard to start lots of programs, 
installed from debian packages, because simple users just can't find
them in menu.
Standart debian menu entry isn't good solution for user-friendly
desktops, like Gnome and KDE, because debian menu isn't intuitive (for
example there are no icons for categories) and there are no possibility
to translate debian menu entry.

Solution is to add freedesktop.org standartized menu entry for programs,
which could be started from menu (for example there is no meaning to
start apt-get tool from menu). Then users of modern desktops will be
happy, because they can easily find how to start installed applications
- menu entries will be localized and will be in right place.

The solution would seem very simple and easily realized - package
maintainers should add just one text file for each program into package.

Part of maintainers have done so and some packages are already with both -
freedesktop.org and Debian menu entries, for example PoEdit, Ethereal, 
webhttrack, amule, cinepaint, licq, lostirc, linuxtrade, matchbox, 
mozilla-firebird, mozilla, tvtime, quark, totem, unicorn, xchat,
xmule, xnc, xpad, etc, not talking about pure Gnome applications.

Usually it's enough to fill bugreport and maintainer is happy to accept
suggestion and make packages more usefull, see this bugreport for example:

Why I'm writing this letter instead simply filling bugs on packages?

Problem is, that some maintainers don't want to accept submited .desktop
files and because of this Debian users, which use Gnome or other
freedesktop.org compliant environments still can't find lots of programs

One of such maintainers is Herbert Xu <herbert@debian.org>. I filled bug
on dosemu package, because users, working with GNOME told me, that they
can't find how to start DOS after installing dosemu package. :( 
When I made dosemu.desktop file they were happy, because it was clear 
for them how to start DOS - now user see localized menu entry with nice icon.
As usually I filled bugreport and attached .desktop file, but Herbert Xu
didn't accept my work - he closed my bug and wrote:
"Please discuss this on debian-devel before filing further bugs."

Look at http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=219304 for more

My friend reported bug on backuppc package, but maintainer of this
software - Ludovic Drolez <ldrolez@debian.org> also didn't accept
freedesktop.org menu entry, see this bugreport for more info:

Ludovic Drolez <ldrolez@debian.org> wrote:
>> It seems, that debian package making standards should recommend to add
>> Gnome/Kde menu entry for all packages, which have Debian menu entry.
>> You are debian developer, maybe you know where I have to write
>> concerning this ?
>Yes, the Debian policy is not clear about Gnome/KDE menus. It only talks 
>about the Debian menu system. If you have questions or wishes, I think 
>you can send them first to debian-mentors@lists.debian.org.

Maybe debian developers should improve debian package making standards
(Debian policy) and recommend to add Gnome/Kde menu entry for all packages,
which have Debian menu entry ? Then maintainers will include .desktop
files, at least after bugreports :)

Good luck,
Mantas Kriaučiūnas <mantas@akl.lt>      Jabber ID: mantas@akl.lt
Public organization "Open Source for Lithuania" - www.akl.lt

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