Proposal for a MIME mapping spec

Alexander Larsson alexl at
Thu Jul 8 18:22:14 EEST 2004

On Thu, 2004-07-08 at 16:48, Philip Peake wrote:
> Alexander Larsson wrote:
> > On Wed, 2004-07-07 at 23:46, Philip Peake wrote:
> >   
> > > I would also like to add a plea to at least consider adding an 
> > > abstraction layer so that the on-disk hierarchy could be replaced by a 
> > > (possibly remote) database of some description (LDAP/RDBMS/etc).
> > >     
> > This is an immense change in complexity. Going from a shared file format
> > specification to a common API with all the ABI stability issues, release
> > schedule differences, dependency hell and language bindings problems.
> > 
> > What exactly would this gain you? I see zero gain, only lots of pain.
> > 
> >   
> I'm not certain I follow the API/ABI/dependency argument ... I think
> life actually gets easier for the application developer who just loads
> a library and makes a call to it to return the value(s) for a given
> MIME-type.

If you spend any time whatsoever reading the freedesktop lists you'd see
that we generally specify file formats instead of common APIs. As soon
as we try to specify any common libraries people get into endless
flamewars about what language to use, what libraries we can use, if some
desktop implementations accepts the library implementation or wants to
rewrite it etc. The various desktop projects that would use this library
have different schedules, different times when the ABI is frozen,
different times of adopting standards etc, further making the
development of common libraries harder.

Furthermore, in this case the actual file format *is* important, since
it is (in combination with the menu spec) defining how ISVs are supposed
to install applications on free desktop systems. Getting a sane way do
to this that works amongs all desktops is extremely important.

And, in the end, the application developer will just call a library just
like you said. Its just that the API used will be from the library
platform of the desktop he's developing for. For many desktops this API
even already exists, we're just changing the plumbing of it.

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl at    alla at 
He's a war-weary hunchbacked gangster looking for a cure to the poison 
coursing through his veins. She's a beautiful motormouth barmaid who inherited 
a spooky stately manor from her late maiden aunt. They fight crime! 

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