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

On Sat, Dec 06, 2003 at 11:25:31AM +0100, Mathieu Roy wrote:

| > What's your point?  The window managers don't /need/ to be changed - or
| > at least they shouldn't.  They don't natively support Debian's menu
| > system, they don't natively support .desktop files, and are unlikely to
| > ever do either.  The current Debian menu system, despite its faults,
| > supports writing menus for weird formats that an arbitrary window
| > manager (or other menuing system) might be able to read.
| I do not understand how can you, in one hand, say there no need for a
| standard like .desktop for these window managers (well, this term is 
| questionnable - wmaker is, for instance, more than a windowmanager),
| and, in another hand, talk about "weird formats" of different window 
| manager.

The situation /now/ is that /most/ window managers use their own unique
format to handle their menus.  Even the versions of KDE and Gnome
currently in Debian, while both using .desktop files, store them in a
different place and place them into menu hierarchies differently.

A standard like .desktop or the Debian menu system we have now /is/ a
good thing; we also need a way to make those menu hierarchies available
to applications which cannot and will not read them directly (hence the
"weird formats" that I mentioned).  Currently, freedesktop provides the
former but not the latter, so in order for freedesktop's scheme to be
considered as a replacement for what we use now, there must also be a
way to convert them into the format used by some arbitrary menu system.
In practice, a way to convert existing menu entries into the new system,
and ideally also a way to make use of existing menu-methods, would also
be required.

(I'm sorry, I was imprecise earlier: when I said "window managers" I was
actually referring to any piece of software which displays a menu of
applications available on the system.)

| The point of .desktop is to avoid having "weird formats" to handle,
| but only one.

The point is that applications which provide menu entries don't need to
care about about the format that a particular window manager may want
that menu item in.  Currently the Debian menu system provides one such
standard format; another candidate is .desktop files.

| If these environment needs the data, or part of the data, that can be
| contained in .desktop (currently provided by the debian menu system),
| why would it be stupid for them to be able to deal directly with
| .desktop?

Of course not.  But a lot - in fact, the overwhelming majority - of
these environments predate .desktop files, and are unlikely to change.
They don't integrate directly with any menu system but their own.  For
new window managers (or or menu systems), I agree, it makes sense to use
.desktop files for the appropriate menu, as they are more widely
supported outside of Debian.

| > If .desktops are ever to achieve prominence in Debian, we need to be
| > able to do the same with those.
| Sure, as long as some environment will not support .desktop while
| needing the data contained in .desktop, Debian will have to use
| converters. 

I claim once again that this will always - at least for the forseeable
future - be the case.  Converters for the .desktop format don't yet
exist; converters for the current system are in place and working right
now for /every/ menu system in Debian ... with the exception of KDE and
GNOME, where the Debian menu appears to be treated as a second-class
citizen compared to the {GNOME,KDE}-specific menu.  *sigh*

| > There is no reason for Debian to do something merely because Red Hat
| > does.
| Why do you assume that I want Debian to follow RedHat choice?
| Nobody proposed that. I do not see the point in arguing about a
| non-existant proposal.

In that case, why did you mention what Red Hat were doing?



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