Providing desktop files for (possibly) all of our packages
yesterday I stumbled upon an issue that it might be hard to find an
application without a proper desktop file. The actual case was mc and i
reported in #616196 - but I consider the problem more general. If we
try to follow Tony's advise to make our system more user friendly we
should consequently care better for those users who might be somehow
command line illiterate. It is not enough to simply install desktop
files if upstream might provide it by chance such a file but we should
rather do it as we used to do with manpages: Write such a file and
foreward it to upstream authors to ask them for inclusion.
In parallel to this mail I will suggest a lintian check on debian-devel
but I would like to see Debian Med on the front line of implementation
which could be done at different degrees:
1. The brain dead stubborn approach: Simply have a desktop file in
any package (except libraries and doc packages).
I'd consider this a bit stupid because you have packages containing
applications which need some command line arguments to do something
reasonable at all - so a desktop file simply does not make any
However, there would be an easy way to verify whether we have
reached our goal according to a simple algorith: Create a list of
packages in Debian Med (easy with the Blends tools) and grep
Contents.gz files for "<packagename>.*\.desktop$" - all those
packages where grep fails are in need of a desktop file.
2. The desktop library linked approach: Find out which package has
dependencies against typical libraries for desktop environments
(Gnome, KDE, Xfce, ??) and check whether these packages contain
desktop files. The algorithm to detect these is probably similarly
simple and you can be (close to) sure that the application makes
some sense on the desktop. (My mail to debian-devel concerning
a lintian check will cover this case.)
However, there will be several packages containing text based
user interfaces which will not be covered by this check and we
will miss a certain amount of target packages with this approach
which will consequently need a second step the ...
3. Manual approach: Just browse our list of packages manually, create
a list of those packages that should be contain a desktop file
and verify if there is non. We might list the resulting target
packages somewhere and tackle them step by step.
Hey, the last approach would be a cool task for somebody with no
packaging skills but the intend to give our pet system a better user
feeling. Good to have volunteers all around! :-)