Proposal: Inharitance for Desktop Entry Spec

cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) cobaco at
Wed Apr 16 23:48:11 PDT 2008

On Thursday 17 April 2008, 洪任諭 wrote:
> I have a proposal for the current "Desktop Entry Spec".
> Let desktop entry files derive from another desktop file.
> Desktop entry files get widely used today, but there exists some
> serious problems.
> If the user want to override an system-wide dekstop_id, normally,
> he/she should create a desktop entry files with the same name, and put
> it in $XDG_DATA_HOME. Currently, the best way to do this is to copy
> the system-wide desktop entry file to ~/.local/applications, and do
> the modification you want. At first this looks good and reasonable.
> It, however, is problematic. Imagine the following senario:
> 1. The program has a new release, and it installs a new desktop file
> with different Exec or TryExec keys. Apparantly, the user-created one
> is broken.
> 2. Having to copy the system-wide desktop files to make a custom one
> is not only quite dirty, but also make unnecessary duplicated files.
> For desktop files containing a lot of translation (like the desktop
> files owned by gnome), this does matters.
> 3. If the new releases of programs have new names, or change the
> description (comment) in their new system-wide desktop file installed
> in /usr/share/applications, these changes will never be reflected in
> the user custom one.
> 4. The user custom one, will lack some translation. When the users
> login to desktop in another language, they can only get English names
> even if new translation is already available in the system-wide one
> after system update. Any change to the system-wide desktop entry files
> will never be reflected in the user custom one.
> So, current approach is some what dirty, problematic, and hard to
> implement and maintain.

second that, I've run into this problem also

> Here is a proposal trying to fix these problems by adding a new key
> named "Inherit".

I don't think we actually need a new key, we already have the base-dir spec 
to determine which .desktop file will take precedence.

All that's needed is for things like the menu spec to specify that the 
granularity of .desktop files should be per-key instead of per-file (the 
spec doesn't actually say either IIRC, but current implementations all seem 
to be per-file)
Cheers, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis)
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