couple questions about menu spec

Jordan Mantha mantha at
Tue Jun 12 10:53:02 PDT 2007

I'm afraid I don't really see the problem. Right now .desktops with a
Science category are supposed to have the Education main category as
well. This means in Gnome the science apps show up in the Education menu
and in KDE I believe they go into Education->Science. If Science was
promoted to a main category in the spec then we could just drop
Education from the list of categories. If the .desktop is installed on
an older Gnome system that didn't support Science as a main category it
would get dumped into "Other" and I believe a similar thing happens in
KDE. In general however, I don't see this being that big of an issue. I
would think that the new category would be picked up by Gnome, KDE, etc.
fairly quickly, even before many software authors would pick up the
changes. So to me the upgrade path is: update fd.o spec -> DEs pick up
the change -> software authors and distros change .desktops . I suppose
during the transition period there will surely be some small number of
.desktop on older systems that get dumped into Other or worst-case just
don't appear, but science apps in general haven't adopted .desktops very
well yet so I don't really see this as a big problem.

It would seem odd to me to have a specification in which no adjustments
can be made.


-Jordan Mantha

Bastian, Waldo wrote:
> The general problem with adding a main category is that on many older
> distributions that do not support such new main category yet, desktop
> files that use this new main category will not be shown at all.
> There is not really a good upgrade path.
> Cheers,
> Waldo
> Intel Corporation - Platform Software Engineering, UMG - Hillsboro,
> Oregon
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xdg-bounces at
> [mailto:xdg-bounces at] On Behalf Of Jordan Mantha
> Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 12:26 PM
> To: xdg at
> Subject: couple questions about menu spec
> Hello all,
> I've got two questions about the Menu spec that'd I'd
> love to see clarified.
> 1) There are quite a number of scientific applications that are
> professional tools rather than educational tools. I've been asked quite
> a few times why Science isn't a main category for menus. According to
> the spec .desktop files with Science in Categories must also have
> Education category also. I can understand that having too many Main
> categories could get messy, but I think there is a fairly significant
> distinction between Science (and Mathematics for that matter)
> applications used in education and those used for professional research.
> So my question is, is there a reason Science couldn't become a main
> category?
> 2) The menu spec glossary says that only .desktops of type Application
> are allowed for Desktop entries. I've got several cases where adding
> .desktops with type Link to menu structures is helpful. For instance in
> educational setting, having links to websites related to the subject
> along with the applications is great for kids. You can imagine having
> links to the Chemistry WebBook and Wolfram's MathWorld along with
> science and  math apps. Right now we can get around this by creating
> .desktop files that execute a web browser with the desired URL, but I
> think that it's not very intuitive. In Gnome, for instance, I find it a
> bit inconsistent that you can have Type=Link .desktops on the desktop
> but not in the menu. Any thoughts on feasibility?
> -Jordan Mantha
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