basedir-spec issue

Thomas Leonard tal00r at
Fri May 7 15:49:30 EEST 2004

On Fri, May 07, 2004 at 11:39:16PM +1200, Laszlo Peter wrote:
> On Fri, 2004-05-07 at 21:45, Thomas Leonard wrote:
> > No, that's the intended behaviour. If you install shared files to a
> > non-standard location then you MUST set XDG_DATA_DIRS so that other
> > programs can find them.
> I see the point in standardising the shared data dirs, but if I
> build an entire desktop stack in a non-standard prefix, I expect
> it to Just Work [tm].

Well, it should, by automatically setting XDG_DATA_DIRS when you log in.

This is what ROX does. On login, we set XDG_DATA_DIRS to:


Then, any program running (GNOME, ROX, whatever) sees the same MIME
database, and all get consistent types.

> I realise I will need to set XDG_DATA_DIRS if I want to share the data
> with other desktops/3rd party programs.

Iteroperability means we have to set things up so ALL programs work by
default, not "GNOME programs work by default, others with a bit of
fiddling". If there's something you can do when you want to make other
programs work, you could have just done that in the first place.

> > You don't want your filemanager finding the MIME database, and your email
> > client not being able to find it (or finding a different version), do you?
> > Think of all the confusion that would cause.
> Actually, that's exactly what I'm trying to avoid. Let's say I
> have 2 different versions of GNOME installed in /opt:
> /opt/gnome-2.x and /opt/gnome-2.y. There's no correct setting
> of XDG_DATA_DIRS that would make each build find it's own version
> of the data files.

Can you give an example of when you want this? Imagine if the new version
of GNOME requires a version of the MIME database that defines *.iso to be
a CD image (when the previous version didn't recognise it). With your
prefix suggestion, some applications will show foo.iso as a CD image, and
others will show it as unknown data. Why is this useful?

The user will either want one version or the other (set using
XDG_DATA_DIRS) for everything, not different versions for different

Thomas Leonard
tal00r at	tal197 at
GPG: 9242 9807 C985 3C07 44A6  8B9A AE07 8280 59A5 3CC1

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