[Portland] xdg-utils proof of concept

Jeremy White jwhite at codeweavers.com
Wed Mar 15 22:49:29 EET 2006

>  PS: You scripts people should perhaps hurry up a bit, because if you don't, I 
> may be fully ready even before you, including wrapper scripts ;) .

Dang nab you; you managed to goad me into hurrying (and my day job is
going to suffer, I can tell :-/) <grin>.

So here is a first cut of an 'xdg-utils' package.

I'm attaching the explanatory README to this email; the 25K tar ball can
be downloaded here:

I went very fast and loose so I'm sure it has lots of problems,
but this at least demonstrates my thinking.



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    The xdg-utils package is a set of simple scripts that provide
basic desktop integration functions for any Free Desktop, such as Linux.

    They are intended to provide a set of defacto standards.  This
means that:
    *  Third party software developers can rely on these xdg-utils
       for all of their simple integration needs.  

    *  Developers of desktop environments can make sure that their
       environments are well supported

       If a desktop developer wants to be certain that their environment
       functions with all third party software, then can simply
       make sure that these utilities work properly in their environment.

       This will hopefully mean that 'third tier' window managers
       such as XFCE and Blackbox can reach full parity with Gnome and KDE
       in terms of third party ISV support.

    *  Distribution vendors can provide custom versions of these utilities

       If a distribution vendor wishes to have unusual systems,
       they can provide custom scripts, and the third party software
       should still continue to work.


    The following scripts are provided at this time.
This is an early release of xdg-utils, and we hope to rapidly
add more utilities.

    xdg-menu        Place a menu into the users menu structure
    xdg-mime        Gather mime information about a file
    xdg-open-url    Open a url in the users preferred browser
    xdg-email       Open the users preferred email client,
                    potentially with subject and other info filled in
    xdg-copy        Copy one URI to another
    xdg-su          Run a command as a different (usually root) user


    Building the xdg-utils should be very simple.  First,
you need to obtain the source and extract it to a directory
on your system.  Change directories to that directory and
run the following commands:


    This will make all of the xdg-utils scripts; they
will be located in the scripts/ subdirectory and will
have names such as 'xdg-menu', or 'xdg-mime', and so on.

    You can optionally choose to install the scripts
to a target directory.  To do this, you could issue
the following commands:
         ./configure [--prefix=<your-place-here>]
        make install
that would cause the scripts to be installed to


    To use the scripts, we recommend that you package the scripts
that you need to use along with your product.  The license for xdg-utils
is very open, so that will cause you no conflict (see LICENSE
for the exact license details).

    We recommend that you place these scripts in a directory, and
then add that directory to the end of the PATH.  So, let's say that
you're writing your post installation script, and you want to create
a menu on any xdg-util compliant environment.  Let's further assume
that you've just installed to $INSTALL_DIR, and that your menu
desktop file is in $INSTALL_DIR/desktop/icon.desktop.  Finally, let's
say that you've included the xdg-utils package in your installation
in $INSTALL_DIR/xdg-utils.

    Then a simple post install script could look like this:

        export PATH=$PATH:$INSTALL_DIR/xdg-utils
        xdg-menu --create $INSTALL_DIR/icon.desktop

    And now your product has a menu on any XDG compliant desktop!

Note that we strongly recommend using this method - that is,
putting your copy of the xdg-utils at the end of the path, 
and then invoking them without a specific path name.

That will allow your users and their system providers to
use custom versions of the xdg-utils which should work better
for them.

If you wish to absolutely force the issue and only use the versions
you shipped, you could instead hard code the path to the version
you bundle with your application.  We strongly recommend against
this, as it will make your product obsolete more quickly than is necessary.


    xdg-menu [--root|--user] [--create desktop|--delete desktop]
    Where --user (install only for the current user) is the default.
    One of --create or --delete must be specified.
    With --create, the file specified must exist and be a valid XDG .desktop file
    With --delete, the file must be a pattern that will exist
    essentially the basename of the file passed in with --create
    xdg-menu --user --create /my/path/to/my.desktop
    xdg-menu --user --delete my.desktop

    Opens a given mailto URI registered default application
    xdg-email mailto-uri
    xdg-email 'mailto:jwhite at codeweavers.com?subject=This rocks&body=Nice work!&attachment=/tmp/money.png'

    Manage MIME settings
    xdg-mime [--info file ]
    FIXME - note that much more is yet to come
    xdg-mime --info /bin/sh
    xdg-mime --info /tmp/foobar.png

    Run a program as an alternate user, generally the root user
    xdg-su command-to-run
    xdg-su xdg-menu --root create <my-global-desktop-file>

    Opens a given URL or file in the registered default application
    xdg-open-url URL|file
    xdg-open-url http://www.freedesktop.org
    xdg-open-url /tmp/foobar.png

    Copies a file from a source URL/path to a destination URL/path
    xdg-copy source destination
    xdg-copy http://portland.freedesktop.org/png/freedesktop-logo.png .
    xdg-copy /tmp/foobar.png /home/user/foobar-copy.png

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