Meaningless name (was: Re: rpms/xchat/devel ...)

Owen Taylor otaylor at
Fri Jun 1 01:15:01 UTC 2007

[ Cc: and Reply-To: fedora-desktop-list ]

On Thu, 2007-05-31 at 19:57 +0000, Kevin Kofler wrote:
> Matthias Clasen <mclasen <at>> writes:
> > So the two of you simply decided that it would be better for everybody
> > if the menu item changed from the (somewhat cryptic, but informative)
> > "IRC" to the totally meaningless "X-Chat" ?
> X-Chat has a meaning, it's the particular IRC client called X-Chat. There's 
> several IRC clients in Fedora, including one called xchat-gnome which several 
> people think should be the default (in fact, I'd LOVE for it to become the 
> default, not because I actually use it, in fact I hate it, but because that 
> could lead you to leave the regular X-Chat alone!), so "IRC" is very vague as a 
> menu entry.
> And KDE actually displays "X-Chat (IRC client)" if the user preferences are set 
> that way. Why does GNOME _still_ not support GenericName years after this 
> specification has been supposedly agreed on? IMHO, the real technical problem 
> lies there, mangling .desktop files like this is just papering over the 
> problem.

I'm not sure how you think that the Fedora GNOME desktop should be using GenericName. 
The usage of a generic instead of a specific name in the Fedora menus is done for
a small subset of applications: those considered to be "best of breed".
Using a generic for everything would produce menus that looked like:

  IRC client
  IRC client
  Web Browser
  Web Browser
  Font editor

Now, using a generic for *anything* is really a hold-over from a past era when
our vision of the Fedora menus was that we'd select a small set of best-of-breed apps
for our users, instead of making them deal with the chaos of the entire set of 
possible applications.

This no longer fits with the Fedora philosophy, especially considering the merge
of core and extras. The question is more "how to manage the chaos". 

Ideas that some of us have been working on for managing the chaos:

 - Collect statistics for the top applications in real use

 - Concentrate on making it easy for the user to launch the applications
   they use most

 - Bring together the installed applications and the available applications
Those mockups are a bit stale ... the real thing is better. (bigboard package in
extras, but you might want to wait until tomorrow ... Colin has some neat stuff
in the pipeline for setting everything up for online-desktop mode.) But you
can see, sort of in the mockups, and more in the real thing, what we are using for 
applications is:

 IRC Client

With a tooltip of "Chat with your friends".

(We get this from a merge of desktop files with the online Mugshot application
database; neither GNOME nor KDE desktop files have all three of the above.
GNOME desktop files miss the GenericName, KDE desktop files miss the tooltip.)

OK, back to the present: My advise for the X-Chat is to make it match how we 
do a lot of other .desktop files now: do "X-Chat IRC Client" like "Firefox Web Browser"
and so forth.

Yes, that will screw over the KDE user who has chosen the Name (Generic Name) 
preference, but they already have Firefox Web Browser (Web Browser), so they
can deal. Maybe we need X-Fedora-Name:, on the other hand, if we manage
to make bigboard work, we don't need Fedora-customized menus at all,
so we can (eventually, not right now, please), just use Name: X-Chat and
get rid of having to munge desktop files as compared to upstream.

						- Owen

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