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

Scripsit Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org>
> Mathieu Roy wrote:

> > It doesn't need to be done in two days, does it? If new packages start
> > directly with .desktop and others packages move to .desktop in the
> > next year, it does not seems to be an awful load of extra work.

> If that happened then we would, for an undefined length of time that
> would probably span a Debian release, have two divergent sets of menus,
> with some programs randomly on the Debian menus, and some programs
> randomly on the free desktop menus. This would be unusable, and a
> bad regression.

Evidently, so that's not what is proposed. The proposal is to enhance
update-menus such that it knows how to parse .desktop files and feed
the information from them transparently to menu methods that expect
the Debian native format. Then debian-native menu systems would give
the same user experience independently of which packages had
transitioned to the .desktop format.

Packages that uses the .desktop format natively already have
maintainer scripts that know how to translate debianized menu entries
into that. They may need some cooperation from update-menus in order
to not show two entries for things that have .desktop entries of their
own, but that is also minor.

> You speak of a transition, but I see no transition plan here.

What do you expect from a "transition plan" then?

  Step 1a: Update menu infrastructure such that packages can transparently
     supply either .desktop files or Debian menu files.

  Step 1b: At the same time, update menu infrastructure such that WM
    packages providing menu methods can opt to receive package data in
    .desktop format (autotranslated from Debian menu files if necessary).

  Step 2: Packagers can now chose to supply .desktop files instead of
     the Debian format, with a versioned dependency on menu.

  Step 3: After a stable version with the updated infrastructure has
     been released, the Debian menufile format can be deprecated
     (should not happen before, because it would make backports

  Step 4: When all (or most) menu methods have been converted to
     reading .desktop files, policy can be amended along the lines of
     "*must* provide a .desktop file rather than the old
     Debian-specific menu format".

  Stem 5: Compatibility code for the old format in the menu
     infrastructure will be kept until it gets too much of a burden
     to maintain it.

Henning Makholm                    "What the hedgehog sang is not evidence."

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