Cleaning of $XDG_CACHE_HOME and $XDG_CACHE_HOME/thumbnails

Thomas Kluyver thomas at
Wed Feb 26 14:07:10 UTC 2020

On Wed, Feb 26, 2020, at 1:30 PM, Benjamin Berg wrote:
> I am *not* proposing to nuke these directories. I am proposing to nuke
> them by default, and ask applications like evolution, jhbuild and
> others to ship their own configuration.

I suspect that the practical upshot of this would be that ~all applications using XDG_CACHE_HOME get bug reports at some time in the next couple of years, waste some time working out what's going on, grumble about it, and then write whatever configuration disables this behaviour to revert to the way things were before (and presumably, the way they are on other platforms).

XDG_RUNTIME_DIR is specified to have periodic cleanup unless files have the sticky bit set, although this is on a scale of hours rather than days. As an application author, this was a source of bugs until we eventually gave up using the directory entirely.

> And I do see a huge advantage in requiring applications to specify the clean-up behaviour they need or want.

Why not take that as the starting point? Provide a way for apps to indicate to the system when it makes sense to clean up their cache files, but don't punish those that don't know about it by randomly deleting their cache.

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