Identifying applications from windows to .desktop files

Milan Bouchet-Valat nalimilan at
Wed Feb 25 02:25:00 PST 2009

Le mercredi 25 février 2009 à 02:29 +0000, John Tapsell a écrit :
> You need to be realistic and realise that you aren't going to get
> every app to change.
That's precisely what my proposal absolutely avoids. Read again: all
applications but a handful of them (depending on distributions mainly)
already follow what I consider as an already existing standard. Some
applications rely on this implicit assumption, and GIO almost
presents .desktop file names as identifiers. I'm not asking something
unrealistic, but on the contrary I'd like the spec to define the common
usage a a standard we can fully rely on. Isn't it the way fd.o works?

> It does seem that the best way is to simply parse all the .desktop
> files, pull out the Exec= name, and try to match that against the
> binary used to run each window (Most Windows have a WM_PID which you
> can use to get the binary name).  Then you'll have to manually
> maintain an exceptions file for funny apps like openoffice.
If nothing else is proposed, I guess we'll need to fall back on this solution. But you did not answer my concerns about possible failures of such a process. The day your distribution will change either the command to start (let's say it moves from oowriter to, or renames the .desktop file (since it's normal to do so for now in the spec), you'll lose all data about OO.o, meaning launchers are likely to disappear from most used apps. Not a big deal, but obviously not optimal either. The only workaround will be to keep a list of .desktop file names for each distribution, and to keep it up-to-date it...

I think I'm going to stop spamming this list if nobody agrees that
adding two sentences to the spec to clear things up and avoid tricks
like this one is worth the pain. But, as you can see, I'm far from
convinced.... ;-)

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