XDG Base Directory Spec

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at acm.org
Tue Feb 10 07:05:43 EET 2004

Lee Willis wrote:
> There was some discussion recently on the Muine[1] development list
> about standard locations for files for a user, much like windows has "My
> Documents/My Music", and "My Document/My Pictures". The closest I can
> find to anything representing this would be the Basedir spec -
> http://freedesktop.org/Standards/basedir-spec/0.6/.
> This doesn't however go as far as I think would be useful in the case we
> were originally considering, specifically the creation of standard
> directories for:
> - Music storage
> - Playlist storage
> These could then be used as the default import location for music
> players, the default save path by music rippers, and per mime-type
> default save locations when downloading content in browsers etc.
> The thread which originally sparked this off was on the muine list at
> http://mail.gnome.org/archives/muine-list/2004-February/msg00046.html.
> I'd be interested in any feedback that anyone of this list has,
> particularly about whether this is a good idea, and how the
> implementation might work.

This is a good idea -- I have my desktop set up this way.

An important question then is where these directories should be placed --
which directory they should be a sub-directory of.  The first reaction
would be to put them in $HOME but, having tried this, I found that this was
not the best solution since it is necessary to have a lot of other stuff in

I have tried out the idea of having a sub-directory which I am presently
calling: "USR-Home" (but the name is not the important point here).  All
directories that users normally access are sub-directories of:
"$HOME/USR-Home" so that the user only uses the cluttered $HOME directory
(and its sub-directories) for configuration changes.

I find that this is much more convenient.  And, have also moved my:
"DeskTop" (or "Desktop) directory there.  And made this the "Home"
directory in Konqueror::KFM -- I also have the $HOME directory as a tab in
the Konqueror Navigation Panel (sidebar).

This sub-directory ($HOME/USR-Home) should then be the default directory
for application file access rather than $HOME unless overridden by
something else (and it is my understanding that you are proposing that
"something else").  Also, pleas note that I am suggesting that this
directory be defined by an environment variable so that users that would
rather stick with $HOME, or would rather use their: Desktop = $HOME could
do so by configuration.

Then IIUC, you also propose, as I have on KDE lists, to have standard
directory names which would be sub-directories of $HOME/USR-Home.  Such
directories would override $HOME/USR-Home as the default directory for
various applications as determined by their Category or an explicit
override in their 'desktop' file.

Since I have already proposed this on KDE lists, I support the idea
although I have not found any great support there.


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