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SUMMARY -- Generic handling of WORD, EXCEL, FILE MANGER ...

-- This is summary of thread:
-- Subject: Bug#363486: dpkg: [update-alternatives] New categories for: WORD, EXCEL ...

Please comment. --Jari


    There are many programs that can act on a file if it contains
    certain extension. The use of program names like 'konqueror', 'xfe'
    is not optimal. It would be better if common actions could be
    expressed through terms of "File Manager", "Spreadsheet" etc.

    This would help e.g. to provide better defaults for graphical
    programs that include features like: "Options => Preferences =>
    Programs" having line:

        Edit __________________ (fill program name)

    Filling in 'xedit' is not good default, when user must change this
    same "setting" is other installed GUI programs as well.


    (1) It was discussed if /etc/alternatives could be used by providing
    configuration possiblitity through

        update-alternatives --config <item>

    Where items proposed for graphical programs could include:

        x-media-player          or "x-video-player"
        x-media-editor          or "x-media-mastering"
        x-music-editor          think "audacity" etc.

    This list is not comprehensive, only a start.

    (2) Another proposed solution was to use existing MIME types
    framework in /etc/mime.types, /etc/mailcap.order and /etc/mailcap.
    It tackles the proposal like this:

        application/msword; oowriter '%s'; edit=oowriter '%s'; ...
        application/msexcel; oocalc '%s'; edit=oocalc '%s';...


    Method (1) has drawbacks. Only adminstrator can update the
    alternatives links, so individual users would not have control
    over selected programs.

    Method (2) supports user configurations through personal
    mime type files in $HOME/.mailcap and thus better suitable.


    (1) In order to carry on this proposal, there is need to write
    a wrapper program that would use `run-mailcap'. The program
    would use syntax:

        x-mime-handler --mime TYPE [--action ACTION]

    Where ACTION could be those defined in /etc/mime.types
    [FIXME: If I understood correctly]

        run (implicit if not given), edit, compose, print

    An example call

        x-mime-handler --mime application/msword --action run

    Error handling would be based on return status

    (2) There would also be need for standard features to call common
    "actions". There is no need for end user to know the names of mime

        x-mime-handler --run FEATURE [ARGS]

    The features would be those proposed at the beginning. Examples:

        x-mime-handler --run x-file-manager /home/foo
        x-mime-handler --run x-spreadsheet this.xls


    There are many graphical programs that contain setting that are
    shipped with packages.

    - These would all now have sensible defaults. E.g to run "editor".

    There are many non-desktop window managers (not KDE, Gnome, XFCE),
    that have simple menu structures. The menus call simple "programs".

    - All those window managers could now have menu entries like
      "File manager" and use the program `x-mime-handler'.


    The mime types are based on WWW protocol, which does not
    necessarily map to local actions. Editing videos or mastering DVDs
    are not expressed through MIME types (FIXE: If I undertand

    However, the possibility to use

        x-mime-handler --run FEATURE

    poses no such resstrictions and can run any defined FEATURES that
    cannot be expressed through mime types. QUESTION: What about
    user preferences in these cases when MIME types are not used?

    QUESTION: this might be possible through MIME types by defining
    custom actions.

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