RFD: Using "Type=MetaApplication" for package managers and application stores

Adrien Bustany madcat at mymadcat.com
Sun Aug 7 11:02:58 PDT 2011

Le Sat, 6 Aug 2011 19:45:45 -0400,
Jacob Edwards <j.johan.edwards at gmail.com> a écrit :

> Hello everyone.
> 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
>    application.
> 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 won't scale.
> There's been some discussion around a solution at the package level:
> # https://dev.launchpad.net/ArchiveIndex#Overrides
> 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:
>     [Desktop Entry]
>     Version=1.0
>     Type=MetaApplication
>     Name=Foo Viewer
>     Comment=The best viewer for Foo objects available!
>     URL=http://fooview.com
>     Icon=fooview
>     MimeType=image/x-foo;
>     # And perhaps.....
>     Package=fooview
>     Screenshot=http://fooview.com/screenshot.jpg
>     Description=[Longer description of fooview here]
> Would any other parties be interested in modifications like this
> landing in the Desktop Entry spec?

Just wondering, would using DOAP files make sense?



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