Current desktop detection / app access - take 2.

Dave Cridland [Home] dave at
Wed May 19 02:23:41 EEST 2004

On Tue May 18 22:32:05 2004, Shaun McCance wrote:
> On Tue, 2004-05-18 at 08:21, Waldo Bastian wrote:
> > Hash: SHA1
> > 
> > On Tue May 18 2004 05:15, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > Hmm, I ended up writing a bit of a rant here, please just take it as my
> > > initial opinion.
> > >
> > > We should get Jonathan Blandford to comment on this, he's offline for a
> > > few days though. He's been paying attention to the
> > > MIME/preferred-applications stuff, which I'm guessing conflicts with the
> > > desktop-launch concept. (If I change my preferred application or MIME
> > > setting for PDF files to foobar, then do I get foobar or the PDF viewer
> > > that's part of the desktop, for example. And if there's a standard
> > > preferred applications system, shouldn't it just allow per-desktop
> > > settings, instead of having this separate desktop-launch thing?)
> > >
> > > I guess I'll be blunt and say this DESKTOP thing seems like a pretty
> > > huge hack, I'd rather see us just standardize the MIME and
> > > preferred-apps systems, with per-desktop configuration included in those
> > > specs if required.
> > 
> > Maybe we should start with the specification of a "desktop-launch" tool 
>> that 
> > implements this yet-to-be-standardized mimetype activation spec so that 
>> ISVs 
> > can start using it in their software. Then we can start working out the 
> > details of the yet-to-be-standardized mimetype activation spec on this 
>> list, 
> > and distributions can then in the meantime, while they wait for us to 
>> finish 
> > here and deliver the real thing, already ship such a "desktop-launch" 
>> tool 
> > based on black voodoo, neural networks and/or the opinion of stock market 
> > analysts (I guess they will need to be downsized in order to fit on a CD).
> > 
> > In particular also because, once the yet-to-be-standardized mimetype 
> > activation spec is actually finished, I don't expect that every ISV wants 
>> to 
> > waste time actually implementing this spec, but instead just wants to 
>> make 
> > one simple call and be done with it. So we will need such 
>> "desktop-launch" 
> > tool sooner or later anyway.
> (From the perspective of somebody employed by a very desktop-neutral
> ISV, but not on behalf of said ISV.  Standard disclaimer, I'm not
> representing my employer, my opinions are my own, I just noticed a
> relevant discussion, etc.)
> Yes, please.
> There is a lot of desktop-neutral software out there that is far less
> ambitious than with respect to desktop integration. 
> Mostly, users of the software just want it to do the right thing when
> they click a URL.  Having something like gnome-open that just works with
> your current desktop would be a simple solution that ISVs could work
> with *right now*.

At the risk of sounding like old-skool AOL, me too.

My only even vaguely serious desktop orientated project is a cross-platform 
email client, and uses the wxWidgets toolkit. I'd like to have a View button 
for the attachments that 'just worked' as the user expected. Ideally, I'd 
like to know which MIME types were actually supported.

It's made more complex by the fact that, as is the case for many 
network-orientated applications, most likely - I know the MIME type (and 
subtype, and parameters), and would much rather not have to attempt to encode 
it into a filename for GNOME to then decode.

Of course, in a perfect world wx would have ports to KDE, GNOME, etc, and be 
capable of fully integrating with whatever the running desktop actually was, 
but that's simply not the case right now, and it's not even the problem I'm 
trying to solve.

I just want to view the Word doc some idiot sent me, without having to 
hardcode the extension because of the difference between /etc/mailcap (which 
wx reads) and the GNOME MIME data (which, in effect, I need to mimic).


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