Packaging guidelines related to .desktop files

James Westby jw+debian at
Thu Mar 20 10:21:08 PDT 2008

On Thu, 2008-03-20 at 12:21 -0400, Jesse Keating wrote:
> One of the things I'd like to see out of RPM in the near future is
> actual processing of these .desktop files to generate rpm metadata,
> application (generic,specific), mime times supported, etc...  That type
> of information would be very valuable in helping users find an
> application rather than an obtuse upstream project name, as well as
> having helper applications to find applications when a mime type file is
> encountered that can't be handled.
> Are other packaging tools processing .desktop files in any way?

In Ubuntu there is an "Add/Remove" item in the Applications menu.
This allows the user to easily install some GUI software. It doesn't
install everything, synaptic is the full GUI package manager, and 
it calls out to that to do the work.

The packages that are included in gnome-app-install's list are
(I believe) just those that have a .desktop file, and would
show up in the menu. I think there are a few exceptions (there
are firefox add-ons listed as well for example).

It does this by using a package called app-install-data, which 
is created by finding .desktop files.

I don't think this is integrated with the build process, so I think
generating the package is either a lot of hassle, or just intensive
on resources.

It a use of the .desktop files to suggest apps to the user, ones
that they will actually be able to find after install if they
don't use the command line.



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