F8devel - user configuration storage locations

Arthur Pemberton pemboa at gmail.com
Fri Jun 15 18:25:58 UTC 2007

On 6/15/07, David Timms <dtimms at iinet.net.au> wrote:
> Arthur Pemberton wrote:
> > On 6/13/07, David Timms <dtimms at iinet.net.au> wrote:
> >> A potential goal for Fedora:
> >> Cleanup user settings configuration
> >>
> >> For a long time applications creates a {hidden} .mysetting file in the
> >> user's home directory, if multiple config/settings under a
> >> .myapp/.various files.
> >
> > I would hate this
> That is the already the current state of play -or do I misread you ?

I wasn't clear, I would hate forcing all apps into a single directory.

> >> I think this should be tidied up by creating a single directory at the
> >> users home folder to store all setting/configs that apps make.
> >> - The folder should not be hidden.
> >
> > I would hate this even more
> Is this hate directed toward the visibility, or to the idea of having
> all settings in a subfolder of the user's home dir  ?

Both. I applaud Windows for making system files hidden by default. A
user who doesn't know how to unhide files shouldn't be playing with
those files. It's a low bar, but I think a necessary one.

> >> - It should have a default text file indicating that it contains hidden
> >> files that store settings for installed applications.
> >
> > why?
> 1. So newsers know what it is and why it is there.
> 2. So newsers don't try to erase it.

See. In my opinion, you just created two problems by creating this
config directory, and then gave a weak solution to them - I can't
think of a stronger solution myself.

> >> - It should be well named: configuration | config | application_config ?
> >
> > seems unnecessary
> To name it well ? Or to even have such a structure ?

To have such a structure - I really should have been clearer.
> >> - All packages to use this folder
> >
> > good luck with that
> For all I know this location is just some system call, environment
> variable or something - does your experience show this would in fact
> require individual adjustment of each app ?

Yes, I'm pretty sure most programs just get the $HOME variable and put
stuff in there. There's a separate $CONFIG variable (I think) which
points to /etc. I do not think there's a $HOMECONFIG or equivalent

> >> I see some problems:
> >> - breaks FHStandard ?
> >> - every app would need to have a one time adjustment and package
> >> rebuilt ?
> >
> > You make that sound trivial
> Only because I haven't the foggiest what it would involve.

I'm pretty sure it involves what you suggested "every app needs to
have a one time adjustment and package rebuilt" , except the change
would be the same, I'm not sure the exact adjustment would be the

[ snip ]

> >> - less files to read / show / search when apps ask for the home dir file
> >> list
> >
> > I'm sorry if Gnome's dialog shows you everything by default,
> > but some of us use KDE, and it doesn't do that, so that's a non-issue
> No nautilus / gnome dialogs don't by default, I happen to set it this
> way. It is how I realized there is just so much crap stored in the user
> home folder.
> Mine has over 2000 files. About 14 directories and 50 are files I put
> there. Then there is 77 .folders and remainder what seems to be .config
> files for various apps, and temp files of some sort:
> .serverauth.2268 and similar dating back 8+ months.

Do you use Gnome?

> Perhaps there should be more adherence to using the /tmp folder, or a
> new special users/tmp folder that gets cleared each time the machine is
> booted, or the user logged in ?

Those folders aren't temporary, in the sense that the apps use them
when they reopen (although most can be safely deleted)

> >> - easily move/copy all user configs to backup or a different machine
> >
> > cp -a ~/.*
> How do you do that in KDE, if it doesn't show the files ?

Well that's a command prompt command. But anyways, in KDE it's
extremely easy to switch between hidden files shown and not shown.

> Would you be
> able to configure a .textconfigfile from the filesystem viewer ? Would a
> newser be able to work it out without guidance ?

I would, but that is very rarely necessary. Rare enough that I have
can remember doing it less than a half dozen times.

> I realize that these ideas are probably so adverse to age-old unix ways
> that it may not be possible to actually change it for existing apps ?
> DaveT.

That may be true, but they do in fact work quite well. These kind of
files are use specific, so they are in the user's homedir, but aren't
really for the toying of the average user, so they are hidden. They
are in multiple directories since they are all already in home, and
having them in another singer directory within home makes them a bit
more vunerable to accidental deletion.

Looking back on my response, it seems a bit disrespectful. I respect
your suggestions, but I do not agree with them.

Fedora Core 6 and proud

More information about the fedora-devel-list mailing list