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Re: XDG Standard is not evil

Scott Ferguson wrote:
On 2 December 2014 at 11:49, Miles Fidelman <mfidelman@meetinghouse.net> wrote:
Having just waded through this thread,
My sincere sympathies.

and then reading the standard itself,
Based on what you are quoting - that's the Base Directory
Specification, which is part of the XDG Standards

I can only conclude that it may not be "evil" but it is a horribly written
Lacking in comprehensive detail specifications?

To start with, there's absolutely no context:
"Base Directory Specification"

The introduction reads, simply "Various specifications specify files and
file formats. This specification defines where these files should be looked
for by defining one or more base directories relative to which files should
be located."

Nothing about where the standard applies,
what kinds of files are being
talked about,
I believe the very next section entitled "Basics" provides an overview
that covers those items.

No... it lists a collection of concepts, again, with no context.

Somehow (from XDG)
"The XDG Base Directory Specification is based on the following concepts:


   There is a single base directory relative to which user-specific
   data files should be written. This directory is defined by the
   environment variable |$XDG_DATA_HOME|.

 * etc....."

Is NOT context.

In contrast to, to pick a non-random example, the Linux Standard Base (http://refspecs.linuxfoundation.org/LSB_4.1.0/LSB-Core-generic/LSB-Core-generic/book1.html)

Which starts with,
"This is version 4.1 of the Linux Standard Base Core Specification. This specification is one of a series of volumes under the collective title /Linux Standard Base/:



 * <snip>

Note that the Core, C++ and Desktop volumes consist of a generic volume augmented by an architecture-specific volume."

And continues with:
"The LSB defines a binary interface for application programs that are compiled and packaged for LSB-conforming implementations on many different hardware architectures. A binary specification must include information specific to the computer processor architecture for which it is intended. To avoid the complexity of conditional descriptions, the specification has instead been divided into generic parts which are augmented by one of several architecture-specific parts, depending on the target processor architecture; the generic part will indicate when reference must be made to the architecture part, and vice versa."

on what kinds of systems.
Any system/application that chooses to adopt it. In terms of OS, it's
used on Linux, Mac (Apple?), and Windows.

Nothing about what the standard is to be used for.
"a set of common interfaces for desktop environments"


Wow.... a web page, buried way deep inside a specific project's web site, not referenced in the standard itself - does not a standard make. Maybe, just maybe a design document.

Nothing about who maintains the standard,
Waldo Bastian, Ryan Lortie, and Lennart Poettering are credited on the
page you referenced, anyone can contribute - simply join the mailing
lists, which is all development is done:-

Again, not a standard.

  the process by which it is
maintained and updated,
See above.

where to find the latest version.
I found them here:-

I don't know where you read your version.

Again, not stated anywhere in the standard.

No references.

The lack of any of this, makes the rest of it essentially useless.
If you expect a simple guide to the standard to include all of those
points - then you are correct.
Definitely agreed that what you've referenced is lacking in
comprehensive detail, especially the sort I'd expect to see in an ISO
standard. But then Freedesktop.org standards are not formal standards.
And unless you follow the mailing lists, and have followed the history
of X Desktop Group, it's very hard to understand.

Hence, my point. It's somewhat pretentious to call it a standard, and by any measure of a well written, well coordinated standards document - it simply is horrendous.

"For Linux operating system standards, please see the Linux Standard
Base project. freedesktop.org is loosely affiliated with the Free
Standards Group; the FSG is one group that does "de jure" standards
for free software. The X.Org Foundation and the IETF are other groups
that do *formal* standards."

And their documents can legitimately be considered both standards, and well written.

Unlike these groups, freedesktop.org is just a "collaboration zone"
where ideas and code can be tossed around, and de facto specifications

Which should not be referred to, or considered anything like a standard.

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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