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

Felipe Almeida Lessa (felipe.lessa@brturbo.com):

> It would be *very* hard to make the developers agree, but we need to
> think in the Open Source Community as a whole. The Debian Menu is used
> only by Debian, but the .desktop is or may be used by any
> distribution. 
> Now just imagine what would happen if all the major distributions used
> a standard created by them. We would see Debian Menu, RedHat Menu,
> Mandrake Menu, SuSE Menu, everything in just one upstream package?

  This is already happening.  Mandrake uses the Debian menu system
format, but with different category names.  ALT Linux is another
RPM-based distribution that uses Mandrake-style Debian menus.  This is a
pain for packaging as I describe in a recent freshmeat editorial [1].

  Some problems I would hilight:

  1. Multiple menu systems hurt my documentation, since I have no way of
     indicating to a user where to find my program or what it is called
     in the menu (and I have had bug reports about this).
  2. Distribution-specific menu systems are an additional support cost
     for packaging on that distribution.

  Some advantages I would hilight of the .desktop menu entries:

  1. desktop-file-utils [2] is a nice set of tools for manipulating
     .desktop files, so distributions can provide policy for category
     names in a clean manner without affecting additional metadata.
  2. The menu-spec draft [3] provides a clear method for applications on
     where to install their menu entries.

  I believe that adopting the freedesktop.org standard in Debian would
be very useful for application developers trying to support their
application across multiple distributions, and to developers wanting to
depend on a flexible base for new uses of the menu.  Furthermore, it
would help to show Debian's interest in supporting standardization


  [1]  http://freshmeat.net/articles/view/992/
  [2]  http://freedesktop.org/Software/desktop-file-utils
  [3]  http://freedesktop.org/Standards/menu-spec

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