Identifying applications from windows to .desktop files

Milan Bouchet-Valat nalimilan at
Mon Feb 23 07:44:29 PST 2009

Le dimanche 22 février 2009 à 15:50 +0100, Vincent Untz a écrit :
> I don't see this as a huge blocker. We could something like "if
> _NET_WM_DESKTOP_ENTRY_NAME is set, use this, else try to guess the
> desktop file name like we already do".
Sure, we wouldn't require all apps to update their behavior, at least not immediately. But I still can't see the advantages of such a solution since:
- we will still rely for most apps on a pseudo-standard correspondance WM Class <-> .desktop file name
- we need to change code in apps that don't follow the standard, which is more complex than renaming .desktop files
- finally these considerations are pointless since obviously, since there is not interest in not using WM class as .desktop file name, project won't add that WM property

Do you get my case? I consider this as somewhat ridiculous to add a method that will never be used by anybody. The only effect it could have would be undirect, by saying: "either use 'standard' names, or set this property". The second alternative is pure illusion to me. So it's better to say: "use standard filenames".

> Well, I'd argue that distros shouldn't rename desktop files ;-) This
> will already be an issue in GNOME, since the new gnome-session and
> eggsmclient use the desktop file name. For example, look for
> egg_set_desktop_file() in
I'm happy to know we're not alone... ;-)

I agree that distributions should not rename .desktop files. But that's
not so obvious when you talk about, which you can build
from different sources. It appears that ooo-build uses specific names,
in the form of ooffice-writer.desktop.

To be a little more concrete: I've reported a bug [1] against OO.o in
Ubuntu because I think these files should be simply named like, just like the package, and just like Fedora will
do soon. But developers don't think it's right because nobody should
rely on .desktop filenames - they eventually told me to ask here for
this change. Your proposal would allow me to solve the problem in two
- reporting a bug against upstream OO.o to get them use the new
_NET_WM_DESKTOP_ENTRY_NAME property, which they won't do, saying that
distributions should use standard filenames (OO.o does not even set WM
class right for now...) -> useless step!
- going back downstream requesting them what I've asked now. They won't
fix it unless there's a clear statement in the spec that .desktop file
names are not unsignificant because they are like app identifiers over
the desktop.

I think what we only need is this kind of solution. That's really a
matter of the conception you have of .desktop files. No need to create a
storm in a tea-cup! A few word should be enough... ;-)



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