desktop entry proposal: TerminateSafe=true key

Colin Walters walters at
Fri May 7 06:54:37 PDT 2010


I have a very small proposal for an addition to the desktop entry
specification.  As you know if you've been following the developments
in mobile operating systems, there have been a number of design
advancements over the traditional "desktop" computing that we should
take inspiration from.

One of these is that the system has the freedom to terminate user
applications and processes when under memory pressure, because it's
part of the system design contract.

I propose the addition of a new key for .desktop files, of the form:


What this simply means is that if the operating system is under memory
pressure, it can at its discretion terminate the Unix processes
associated with this application without notice (i.e. SIGKILL).

Now - go forth and make your applications not suck.  This is
admittedly more difficult for applications which interact with the
most broken concept invented in computing to date (hierarchical file
systems exposed in the user interface).  But if you're writing a note
taking app, a game, etc. - make it save state automatically, and help
the user get back into that state.  "Resume last game?" etc.

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