Packaging guidelines related to .desktop files

Matthew Rosewarne mrosewarne at
Mon Mar 31 12:55:18 PDT 2008

On Thursday 20 March 2008, Rahul Sundaram wrote:
> Can other distributions post their own guidelines and policies so that
> we can look at consolidating the common parts?

Before FreeDesktop, Portland, and desktop-entry-spec, Debian ran into problems 
with handling the various menus used by the many WM's, desktops, etc.  The 
solution they came up with would ultimately become the "Debian Menu System".  

Packages for applications would install a file containing a list of menu 
entries with some basic metadata into /usr/share/menu/.  Packages for WMs and 
such would install a menu-generation script into /etc/menu-methods.  
The "update-menus" command would use the menu-methods scripts to generate 
each type of menu from the files in /usr/share/menu/.  This solved the 
problem of different WMs, such as fluxbox or FVWM, each using its own 
incompatible menu system.

At some point the "menu-xdg" package was created, which contained 
an /etc/menu-methods generator script for the FreeDesktop 
menu-spec, desktop-entry-spec, and basedir-spec.

Debian Menu System documentation:

Debian Menu System developer page:

The Debian Menu sub-policy:

Information about the "menu" package:
Information about the "menu-xdg" package:
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