RFC: Autostart spec, first draft

Mike Hearn m.hearn at signal.QinetiQ.com
Thu Jul 7 14:33:30 EEST 2005


I didn't read the full thread originally, but I'd like to use autostart 
files for autopackage in future both for auto-starting welcome screen 
apps on CDs, and also for starting the update checking program in the 
background when the user first logs in.

Waldo Bastian wrote:
> First draft, your feedback is highly appreciated.
> A desktop environment MUST NOT automatically start an application if
> the corresponding .desktop file has NOT been marked as executable.

There should be some rationale for this in the spec.  Marking .desktop 
files +x isn't especially difficult for installers, but:

1) Why is it necessary?
2) What about noexec mounted home dirs?
3) For the case of auto-starting on external media eg CD-ROMs and USB
    Keys, they may be formatted with a filing system that does not
    understand the concept of the UNIX +x bit. What do people who want
    auto-start files in this situation do?

I flicked through the original thread but didn't find any discussion of
this requirement. As discussed previously on xdg-list, +x 
bits/noexec-mounts do not add any real security as they are easily 
circumvented by anybody who knows what they're doing, and for naive 
users they just add "security through obscurity" which doesn't help much 

> TBD: This is only practical for starting applications that are on the
> media itself. Should there be a convenient way to open e.g. a .html
> or .pdf file using the users preferred application for such file
> type?

Yes, that's a very common use case (as is starting up simple 
welcome-screen apps). Why use shell scripts on mountable media, but 
.desktop files when installed? Why not just have a [.]autorun.desktop 
file on the mountable media itself?

thanks -mike

More information about the xdg mailing list