basedir spec

Dieter Plaetinck dieter at
Fri Dec 25 13:33:07 PST 2009

On Fri, 25 Dec 2009 20:34:38 +0100
Kevin Krammer <kevin.krammer at> wrote:

> On Friday, 2009-12-25, Bernd wrote:
> > Hello,
> > 
> > I reported an issue on the TV-Browser issue tracker to respect the
> > freedesktop basedir specification:
> >
> > 
> > But they closed the issue with "Won't Fix". The argument was that
> > the freedesktop basedir specification is distro related and not
> > every distro respect this specifications.
> > 
> > Could someone explain me what the TV-Browser developers mean or
> > could someone help me to argue on the issue for TV-Browser?
> The basedir spec is the base of so many other specs that it is highly
> unlikely that any distribution with desktop related packages ha
> patched all of those packages to not comply with the spec.
> Maybe they could give an example of a distribution which patches all 
> conforming software to use different default paths?
> (i.e. using something else than $HOME/.config and not having
> $XDG_CONFIG_HOME set to that path)
> Cheers,
> Kevin

I don't really understand what Kevin means.  why would a distro patch
out software and strip out xdg basedir support?

I think an answer to Bernd's question would be: not all applications
support the xdg basedir spec.  and no one can "force" a project to
support it.  some people don't like it and hence don't implement it.
The role of distributions is quite small here, usually it's up to the
distribution to package XDG stuff (or not).  but it's unlikely that
distro developers can dictate to users which packages they can not or
should not use.  let alone patch software for this.

however: the big misconception here is that the spec dictates where
config etc go.  quite the contrary: they allow you to use variables
which resolve to locations that the admin (or distribution) can choose.
~/.config etc is just the default!

The fact that the developers say "It's not possible for us to respect
everyone. Because of that we made the folder configurable." shows that
they actually like the configurability.  they just implemented their
own system.  the advantage of the xdg spec is that it allows you to
change the config path, but in a standardized way, so that many apps can
outsource the "where is the config folder and use it" logic.


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