XDG Base Directory Spec

Lee Willis lee at leewillis.co.uk
Mon Feb 9 19:27:51 EET 2004

On Mon, 09 Feb 2004 16:28:39, Marco Canini wrote:

> One of the things i like more in using linux is the absence of all the
> fixed things that windows has.

I'm not necessarily saying that they're "fixed", just that they're there
by for new user accounts, ie they're "defaults" in the absence of the user
telling us anything else.

> And also this My Anything thing is so stupid and useless.

I'd be interested to think why having a sensible, easy to understand 
directory structure is stupid, or useless? You just object to the name?

> I want my
> music to live in music folder or mp3 folder

Absolutely - but if a user doesn't have one, we should at least be able
to create one for him, and have applications treat it consistently.

Personally, my music is unlikely to ever sit in the "standard" music folder
(Since it lives on my Windows XP partition for a start!).

However, the case we're trying to deal with here is making the whole
desktop experience more pleasant by having well understood defaults
that different applications can use in a consistent way.

> what the hell apps care about the actual place?

No apps should care in the sense that they shouldn't stop working if 
music isn't in the "My Music" folder. However it can lead to an easy
to use desktop for users if, for example, MP3s are downloaded to the
music directory, CDs are ripped to the music directory, and the music
player automatically finds them there.

The exact case that prompted the discussion, is that when someone runs a 
music player for the first time, where should it look on disk for music
files?   Right now I see we have two choices:

(1) Search $HOME - which is probably bad since it is likely to contain large
    amounts of data that aren't relevant. This especially causes an issue if
    the music player wants to monitor that location for changes in the future
(2) Ask the user for their location - which is OK, but would be nicer if we
    could guess, or suggest a location

I'm not proposing we remove anyone's right to store their music where
they want, just trying to come up with a consistent approach that can
help users use a system that comes with sensible, consistent defaults.

I'm also, for the record, not proposing for one minute that we call
it "My Music", or that their aren't localisation issues to be dealt with
before we can get this right ...

I'd love to hear from anyone who has ideas on how this could work, or a
list of obstacles that need to be overcome before it can.

Lee Willis <lee at leewillis.co.uk>

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