[Fedora-packaging] some comments on the desktop files section and proposed amendmends

Tom 'spot' Callaway tcallawa at redhat.com
Thu Feb 8 03:34:52 UTC 2007

On Wed, 2007-02-07 at 22:18 -0500, Matthias Clasen wrote:
>  > If a package contains a GUI application, then it needs to also 
> include a properly installed .desktop file. For the purposes
>  > of these guidelines, a GUI application is defined as any application 
> which draws an X window and runs from within that
>  > window.
> This is just not right. xeyes draws an X window - do you want a desktop 
> file for it ?! xev draws an X window, too.
> nautilus is certainly a GUI application - do you want to see it in the 
> menus ? On the other hand, I can easily imagine
> non-GUI applications that may deserve a place on the menus.

Take a deep breath. Use your brain. Use your best judgement. :)

A child might want to run xeyes from the menu. A developer may want to
launch xev from the menu. There probably isn't anyone who would want to
launch nautilus from a menu.

The guidelines don't say that only GUI apps get menu entries. If you
have a non-GUI app that merits a menu entry, you're certainly permitted
to add it.

And if you think you have an exception, rather than being outraged,
merely point out that you think you have a corner case. A good
percentage of the time: you're right, and its ok.

Of course, in your specific examples, I disagree with you on 2/3. :)

> IMO this whole sentence should be nuked and replaced by something like:
> If a package contains an application that users would expect to find in 
> the panel menus, it needs to include a properly
> installed .desktop file.

Ah yes. The psychic ability to read the user's mind. IMHO, it is far
simpler, and more broadly correct as we have it. It also involves less
assumptions on the part of the packager as to what the user

>  > Installed .desktop files MUST follow the [[WWW] desktop-entry-spec 
> <http://standards.freedesktop.org/desktop-entry-spec/desktop-entry-spec-latest.html>], 
> paying particular attention to validating correct usage
>  > of Name, GenericName <http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/GenericName>, 
> [[WWW] Categories 
> <http://standards.freedesktop.org/menu-spec/latest/apa.html>], [[WWW] 
> StartupNotify 
> <http://www.freedesktop.org/Standards/startup-notification-spec>] entries.
> A number of comments on this:
> 1) The desktop-entry-spec doesn't acutally define correct usage of Name 
> and GenericName, all it does is giving a single
>  example of how you could use these fields.

Fair enough. This is our attempt to follow upstream specifications, if
the desktop-entry-spec needs some love, perhaps it should be taken up
with the spec authors? We could always provide some more correct
examples in our desktop guidelines.

> 2) While I can see where this is coming from, and may even sympathize 
> with a "correct usage" of Name and GenericName,
> simply decreeing that it has to be so is not going to make it happen.
> Packagers really cannot do anything to enforce
> "correct usage", because doing so would require them to speak all the 
> 40+ languages in which these locale strings are
> typically translated.

Hmm. While translations are certainly a concern, are the desktop files
really static and eternally unchanging documents? 

> Finally, I think it would be beneficial to mention nimetypes and 
> update-desktop-database in this section.

Seems reasonable, do you have a draft for specific changes?



More information about the Fedora-packaging mailing list