Basedir Specification migration path

Richard Boulton richard at
Fri Aug 29 16:43:31 EEST 2003

Waldo Bastian wrote:
> There is no specification that I am aware of that specifies where applications 
> should store their configuration files and that is based on the basedir spec.

I'm sorry - I think we must be talking at cross purposes.  I'm certainly 
very confused by your response. ;-)

I'm referring to the "XDG Basedir Specification" itself (ie,, not to some 
specification based on it.

This specification introduces itself by saying "This specification 
defines where these files should be looked for by defining one or more 
base directories relative to which files should be located.", and 
defines the $XDG_CONFIG_HOME and $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS variables, and their 
default values, which describe where applications should store their 
configuration files.

(For the avoidance of doubt, I'm talking about the user-specific 
installation files created at run-time, not about the location that an 
application installs files at installation time.)

My suggestion is simply to add a well defined means for application 
authors to smoothly migrate to using the Basedir specification without 
them being required to break their application for existing users.  It 
also provides a single switch that packagers and distributions could 
flip to move all applications to the new specification at a suitable point.

> I think what is needed first is a specification that explains how applications 
> should store application specific configuration files based on the basedir 
> spec. A migration path could then be part of that specification.

I don't see why we need to describe the file format used by applications 
that follow the basedir specification - and I certainly don't see why we 
need to have such a specification before we can define a migration path 
to the specification for existing applications.

(It might be useful to add a recommendation to the basedir specification 
that applications should store their configuration data in a 
subdirectiory of the same name as the application, to avoid conficts, 
but this is a separate issue, orthogonal to defining a migration path to 
the specification.)

I hope I'm making sense here.  I'm still rather confused.

More information about the xdg mailing list