Menu-spec update (Was: [Patch] Update 'How to' to clarify computation of datadir)

cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) cobaco at
Thu Mar 23 12:37:18 EET 2006

On Wednesday 22 March 2006 19:50, Francois Gouget wrote:
> cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) wrote:
> > On Wednesday 22 March 2006 11:25, Francois Gouget wrote:
>  > [1]
>  >
> This email was misleading. For one given product we normally produce
> three types of installers:
>   * a graphical, interactive GUI installer which lets the user choose
> where he wants to install the application, and does not require being
> root. This is the installer that was mentioned in the email.

asking with a default of first writeable XDG_*_DIR is a solution here

>   * a Debian package that can be installed on any dpkg-based system.
> This installer must be non-interactive too.

as above, NOTE:
- ask with debconf at medium priority, which means that only people who want 
to be bothered with questions about settings like this will be bothered, 
everyone else will get it placed in the first writeable XDG_*_DIR

>   * an RPM package that can be installed on any rpm-based system. This
> installer must be non-interactive.

can anyone on the list confirm wether or not rpm has something similar to 
debconf priorities?

> It is for these last two installers that requiring interaction with a
> user is a problem.

as explained above this is not an issue on debian based systems.

> > Secondly in an automated install you'd simply use the defaults, and not
> > ask questions:
> This supposes we can come up with defaults that work across Linux
> distributions...

first XDG_*_DIR that's writeable seems reasonable to me, sofar I haven't 
seen anyone saying it would be unreasonable.

> >>  * users don't know nor care where desktop files should go.
> >>  * asking this sort of thing to the user is very user unfriendly.
> >
> > a regular using installing something would only be able to install in
> > his homedirectory in which case the spec doesn't have a problem
> >
> > -> that's bogus, as the the only case where this is a problem is when
> > it's _not_ a regular user that 's doing the install, and I'd say asking
> > (at non-critical priority so it can be ignored for automated installs)
> > is a very adminfriendly thing to do.
> This view is fine in the 'big system' world but is totally inappropriate
> for 'Linux on the desktop' world which, as I understand it, is very much
> the focus of

point taken :)

(though 'Linux on the Desktop' and 'big system' aren't either/or. It's the 
'big systems' that need the flexibility to customize. normal desktop users 
will just use defaults (i.e. /usr/local/share/:usr/share) 

> If 'Linux on the desktop' is to have a chance, then regular home users
> should be able to install third-party applications without having to
> bother themselves with a thousand little details like this.

> I am all for providing a way for the user to tinker with such details if
> they want/need to.

which is why debconf question have priority levels, so people can choose 
what kind of question they want to be bothered with. 
Which leaves the question wether rpm has a similar system.

> But applications should be able to easily determine, 
> possibly in their postinstall, proper defaults that work independently
> of the Linux distribution.

The menu spec tells the desktops how to find out where the various menu 
settings are, it does not deal with were the various distros choose to put 
it. The same goes for other freedesktop specs

-> that's LSB/FSH territory IMHO
cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis):
    Coördinator Belgisch Skolelinux team
    Coördinator Nederlandse Skolelinux vertaling
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