XDG-defaults differing views from different desktops (WAS: Re: XDG Menus GNOME vs. KDE)

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at acm.org
Thu Jun 2 15:46:09 EEST 2005

cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) wrote:
> On Wednesday 01 June 2005 06:46, James Richard Tyrer wrote:
>> It was brought to my attention (more than once) by a user that KDE
>> and GNOME each install their own version of:
>> /etc/xdg/menus/applications.menu
>> {path varies from system to system}
>> Clearly this doesn't work if you have both GNOME and KDE installed
>> on the same system.  Obviously, what you want is for the GNOME file
>> and the KDE file to coexist and be used by their respective
>> desktops.
> this is actually just one example of a broader problem that we will
> run into more and more in the future (so solving it at the level of
> the menus spec is definately not the way to go): - XDG standarizes
> stuff - KDE, Gnome, XFCE, ... all come with their own view on good
> defaults  for the standarized stuff - KDE, Gnome, XFCE now
> potentially conflict as they all put those defaults in the same
> standard place.

Could you give us some examples of other conflicts?  I have not found
any yet.

> This is a packaging/distro issue however,

If we leave it to the distros we will have a dozen different solutions
(some good and some bad) and that is not why we have standards.

> there's no reason why the standarized stuff of each desktop's
> packages should be placed in /etc/xdg,

Perhaps not, but it *is* the default.

> it's perfectly possible to install each desktops view on defaults in
> That's off course only half the solution, next you need a standard
> way of managing the contents of the XDG_*_DIR environment variables.
> For Debian there exists desktop-profiles (See [1]) which does just
> that, I'm not aware of what (if anything) other distro's have for
> that.
I presumed that this would go in the startup script for the DeskTop
(e.g. "startkde").
>> IIUC, this could be addressed by installing GNOME and KDE with
>> different installation prefixes.  However, since some distros (e.g.
>> FC) install them both with a prefix of "/usr", this isn't *the*
>> solution.
> a distro doing that has broken packaging, if 2 packages provide
> different versions of the same file they should conflict
I never much liked using an "/opt/<package>" directory, but it is
part of the standard and some distros do use it.
>> The spec says that the file is to be installed:
>> $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/menus/applications.menu
>> This seems to be less than satisfactory in this case.  I don't even
>> seem to have that environment variable set on my system so both KDE
>> and GNOME must have a default.
> see the base-directory specification (default equals /etc/xdg if
> absent)

Yes, I said that they use a default.  Perhaps I should have said '*the*

> <snip menu-specific solution>

Or, the existing path could be [for example]:


and the existing environment variable XDG_CONFIG_DIRS or the DeskTop's
default could be set accordingly.

Since this modifies the "xdg" directory, it is not a "menu-specific

So, as I said, we could either have a solution that modified the "menus"
directory, that *would* be a solution just for the menu, or we could
modify the "xdg" directory and have a general solution.


More information about the xdg mailing list