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(Possible) Debian transition to .desktop files

As you are probably aware, Debian has maintained its own menu file
format since before GNOME and KDE were around.  However, a number of
problems have surfaced with our existing format, and a potential
solution is the adoption of the .desktop format after a suitable
transition.  To do that, we need a few things:

- Something like the VFolder specification.  I will compare Debian's
official hierarchy with VFolder later, but I believe the 1.5 draft has
the most important things in Debian's hierarchy already; I will have
to sit down with the Debian menu policy and compare.  (However, I
would add Scientific as a larger category, with
Physics/Chemistry/Statistics/Math etc underneath that.  I'll comment
on it some more after I do some additional reading.)

- A facility for specifying an application can only run in a true
console environment (such as framebuffer and svgalib applications).
Terminal=true/false doesn't work for us...

- A facility for specifying a menu entry is a window manager (must be
handled specially by the window manager).

- A facility for only displaying a menu entry if a certain package is
installed.  (Up a level from TryExec - maybe TryPackage?)

- Debian currently allows multiple entries in one menu file.  (Not
critical - we can just have packagename-N.desktop files if needed.)

- Users and admins can easily hide or replace a specific menu entry by
touching a file with the same name in .menu or /etc/menu.  (Probably
an implementation issue, rather than anything you folks need to worry

Other items that have been suggested as potentially valuable:

- Some sort of "user sophistication" indicator; for example, admin or
technical tools could be hidden from some users' menus.  (For example:
programmers might want to use bc and dc, but for newbies who are
looking for a calculator, this is just confusing.)  VFolders kinda do
this, but I'm leery.

Obviously, we could do all of this stuff through vendor extensions
(X-Debian-whathaveyou), but if other people think these things might
be valuable it'd be nicer to have a standard.  (Speaking of standard,
is 0.9.2 the current one, or should I refer to something else?)

A parallel discussion is on debian-devel if you are interested
(dealing more with distro-specific issues, of course).

Chris Lawrence <chris lordsutch com> - http://www.lordsutch.com/chris/

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