volatile config data and XDG Base Directory spec

Thomas Koch thomas at koch.ro
Tue Dec 4 07:35:12 PST 2012


I wanted to ask this since some months and the mplayer discussion reminded me:

Some applications store "volatile" config data or "convenience data" like:

- last window position
- recently opened file
- last time application was run
- ... you name it

Most annoyingly these applications create config files on first run even if I 
won't ever run those apps again! So my home folder accumulates many worthless 
config files.

There are many examples of this in the .kde folder. 

I don't like to really call this data "configuration". It's not intentionally 
set by the user. It has lot less value than "real hand crafted configuration" 
(think .vimrc, .emacs, .zsh, .gnupg/gpg.conf, .ssh/config).

Do you have an idea for a name for such transient settings? Maybe "state"?

I'd really like to have an additional category besides CACHE, DATA, CONFIG for 
this kind of settings. Having config and state mixed is mostly annoying if

- one keeps config in a VCS (git),
- an application isn't used anymore but the state data remains
- configuration is somehow managed centrally and the application doesn't read 
configuration from /etc

Best regards,

Thomas Koch, http://www.koch.ro

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