RFD: Using "Type=MetaApplication" for package managers and application stores
j.johan.edwards at gmail.com
Sat Aug 6 16:45:45 PDT 2011
Over the past few years Ubuntu has been using desktop entries to fetch
applications from its repositories and display them in the software
center. All packages with a desktop file are considered applications;
they appear with their entries' Name, Icon, and Comment in the
software center, while other packages are hidden as "technical items".
It turns out this approach is problematic.
* Some applications have extra desktop launchers. Wesnoth, for instance,
comes with a map editor. From the perspective of an app store, however,
'wesnoth.desktop' and 'wesnoth-1.8_editor.desktop' are just one app.
* Some applications have no primary launcher. Wine, for instance, comes
with a notepad, a configuration launcher, a registry editor, a program
uninstaller, a help app, and a drive browser. None of these embody
"Wine" as one thing a user is interested in installing.
* Finally, at a package level, it is often advantageous to package
desktop launchers separately from the main package. So an app store
ends up installing a 'app-common' package instead of the entire
In the past we've manually maintained an entry blacklist and package->app
mapping for the software center. It's become clear that this solution
There's been some discussion around a solution at the package level:
However, I think it would be much cleaner to extend the Desktop Entry
standard to include *generic, non-executable descriptions of a user
application*. Such a file might look like this:
Comment=The best viewer for Foo objects available!
# And perhaps.....
Description=[Longer description of fooview here]
Would any other parties be interested in modifications like this landing
in the Desktop Entry spec?
More information about the xdg