RPMs and *.desktop files

Mike Hearn mike at navi.cx
Wed Mar 3 18:06:00 EET 2004

On Tue, 02 Mar 2004 22:40:17 +0100, Julius Schwartzenberg wrote:
> I'm a little surprised by this. I thought one of the goals of these
> standards was to help making Linux distros and desktop environments more
> compatible with each other.

They are, however there are a multitude of issues with building
distro-neutral RPMs. There's an explanation in the autopackage.org FAQ
page, I suggest you look there. It's certainly possible, but not always
straightforward and depends a lot on what you're packaging.

It was for this reason that I started working on autopackage - a piece of
software that essentially acts as an abstraction of the distribution. In
much the same way that GDK abstracts the windowing system, for instance,
so autopackage abstracts details like menu systems, documentation files
and library installation.

Unfortunately the .desktop installation code is easily the most
complex single block in the entire framework, mostly because we try
to support older (pre current vfolder spec) desktops as well. We might
well drop that at some point, I don't think enough people use these
desktops to justify it anymore.

Of course it still depends on what you're packaging. You should never see
an autopackage of X or the kernel, but I hope that it becomes popular for
packaging end user applications and 3rd party libraries. While it's really
only in alpha testing currently so far all our testers have been
enthusiastic and apparently it's working well for them.

Combined with a shared platform, the likes of which Daniel Stone is
currently advocating, I think this can go a long way to reducing the
effort needed for binary packaging.

OK, I'll step off the soapbox now ;)

thanks -mike

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