Location of autostart files

Hi all,

autostart files shipped by GNOME programs used to reside
in /usr/share/gnome/autostart. Now, I’m finding more and more of them
in /etc/xdg/autostart. This is a problem for a few reasons.
      * Following FHS: these files are not really configuration files,
        and as such they don’t have anything to do in /etc.
      * System administration: desktop files contain their own
        translations, and as such they change at each release, even
        minor. This is a problem depending on how the administrator and
        the packaging system treat configuration files.
      * Changes in these files (removals or renames) have to be tracked
        manually by us packagers, which is quite boring.

I’m trying to understand the reasons for this move; so far I could find
a valid one and a dubious one.
      * Standardization to a non-GNOME-specific directory. As the
        autostart specification only talks about /etc/xdg/autostart and
        doesn’t allow e.g. /usr/share/autostart, there isn’t much choice
        currently. But it looks to me that the specification is wrong;
        why using XDG_CONFIG_DIRS while “standard” desktop files go in
      * Letting the administrator configure site-wide whether the
        program should be autostarted or not. I don’t think this reason
        justifies the move; they can already be overriden, just like
        they can be in a per-user fashion. Furthermore, the GConf
        autostart conditions look like a more elegant way to configure
        them to me.

Currently, there’s the easy solution, at the distribution level, to
manually relocate .desktop files to /usr/share/gnome, but this doesn’t
make much sense in the long term, and sometimes it requires patching
since the path to the .desktop is hardcoded in the binary.

We should instead reach a point where all these points can be satisfied.
The solutions I can think of include:
      * Standardizing to a new directory, like /usr/share/xdg/autostart,
        that can be overriden site-wide by /etc/xdg/autostart.
      * Finding a way to split out translations from these files. There
        are technical challenges, but it also looks like a good thing to
        do. This leaves them in /etc, but it is much less problematic.

Thoughts anyone?

 .''`.      Josselin Mouette
: :' :
`. `'   “I recommend you to learn English in hope that you in
  `-     future understand things”  -- Jörg Schilling

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