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Re: some suggestions towards a Debian .desktop policy [Was: Warm up discussion about desktop files]

+++ Josselin Mouette [2011-04-20 10:13 +0200]:
> Le mercredi 20 avril 2011 à 09:12 +0200, Bernhard R. Link a écrit : 
> > Some suggestions for a Debian .desktop policy[1]:
> > 
> > 7) In case of 6) there must be a .desktop file with the same
> >    command and adhering to this policy, unless that command cannot
> >    be run (or cannot work) outside this environment[4].
> I disagree with this rule. Menus are editable, so if a program is meant
> for an environment it should not be displayed by default in others. For
> example, Thunar works perfectly fine outside Xfce, but you don’t want to
> show it in KDE or GNOME.

I'm not sure this is a very good example. I agree you don't want to
show it by default, but I always replace Nautilus with thunar as the
default file-manager on machines I give to inexpert people because I
find they get on much better with it.

NeilW arges that we don't need more policy in this area. Maybe not, but
I know I find it all incredibly confusing both as a packager and an
admin, and despite reading around the net I still have problems to get
my packages to DTRT with Nautilus, for example. I found it impossible
(in lenny) to confiugure Nautilus to always open a file of a certain
type with a particular app. It was trivial with Thunar. 

So far as I can tell this problem is something to do with the
interaction of mailcap, file, .desktop, mime-types, gnome-VFS, and
menu, (Nautilus seemed to need this filetype 'pre-specified' somehow
in order to let the user choose it). 

And I also failed to find out how to specify 'this app should be used to
edit files of type foo' in .desktop files.  

Something which explains the interactions would be really useful. Maybe
that's policy, maybe not. We seem to have a confusing mix of various
generations of system for both file-types and menu entries. I don't
know which apply where, I don't know which are deprecated/preferred.
Perhaps this info already exists and I simply failed to find it, in
which caseapologies, but I spent a whole evening on it once, and the
package upload has been stalled for months because of this. I did
find: http://standards.freedesktop.org/menu-spec/latest/ and the
Debian menu policy. 

As a power user I really value the 'Debian menu' which has
'everything' (for some approximate value of GUI-everything). But
clearly that's not what most users want in their gnome/xfce/whatever-menu. 

I'm not sure what the right answer here is, because I've never managed
to work out how it was intended to work, but Bernard's ideas look
reasonable. As a packager I'd like it if I didn't have to make very
similar 'menu' files and 'desktop' files which seem to do
approximately the same job (that is probably where this thread
started, so apols if I am just repeating the obvious here). 

Principal hats:  Linaro, Emdebian, Wookware, Balloonboard, ARM

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