Convention Over Configuration: A Way Forward?

Dieter Plaetinck dieter at
Wed Jan 4 08:11:58 PST 2012

On Wed, 4 Jan 2012 11:01:18 -0500
Trans <transfire at> wrote:

> Probably the most useful thing to me about the XDG based directories
> are the HOME directories which offer a good solution to cleansing out
> home directories of the overwhelming quantity of .dot files.
> Unfortunately, adoption of the XDG HOME base directories seems to be
> rather marginal. Distro developers, desktop environments and a few
> other are clearly on board, but the rest of developers seem
> indifferent or uncertain at best, if they even know about XDG.
> I have thought about the idea that perhaps instead XDG should adopt a
> "convention over configuration" approach. For instance, make
> $XDG_CONFIG_HOME always and only `$HOME/.config`. That way developers
> can target that specific directory without worry about looking up the
> environment variable setting. Users can still customize the location
> by symbolic-link to `~/.config` from whatever directory they prefer.
> For the environment settings that can have more than one path, it
> seems to me it's about time file systems really supported directory
> unions. Some already do. And with that in place, XDG could again have
> a single fixed location as the conventional target, but distro
> creators and end-users could make it a union of directories as
> desired.
> I think the idea of XDG base directories is a very useful and
> important contribution that ultimately should make it's way into FHS
> proper, but it my take this kind of conventional approach to really
> propel it forward.
> In the meantime, as I have seen very little progress in uptake of the
> XDG HOME directories over that last few years I have all but abandoned
> any hope that it will change. And I have moved all my personal files
> out of $HOME and into $HOME/Desktop so I no long have to weed through
> hidden directories (when a given directory browser isn't designed or
> set to hide them).
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I would really dislike this.
having apps write to a hardcoded place and expecting users to create symlinks is ugly IMHO.


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