Re: Icons of program

On Wed, 22 Apr 1998, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
>   - invasive procedure.  This puts file metadata everywhere in my filesystem
>     (and no easy way for me to get rid of it.)
>   - Breaks the UNIX convention of bin holding programs, etc holding system
>     configuration, etc.
>   - There is no way to turn this feature off!  (meaning with any of the
>     others, I can ignore the existance of the metadata and everything will be
>     fine.  With this one the metadata is sitting there in the directory so I'm
>     forced to look at it whether I use it or not.  If I remove all the

I don't think this has to be true.

.desktop files should be versatile enough to be either associated with a
file in the same directory, or "links," "shortcuts," "aliases," whatever. 

That means you can use them as metainfo (in essence, links to files in the
same directory, but the file manager doesn't bother to show the real
files); or you can use them as share/apps/ is used now, just a tree of
links to common applications or data or directories or whatever.

I don't think .desktop files should ever go in the main Unix system
directories; yuck. Just have a tree of aliases like share/apps.
Though if people optionally want to put them there, no reason to prohibit
it. (However, if you're not running as root I don't see how they'd get
there.) Most of what's in the system directories isn't relevant to desktop
activities, and when it is an on-the-fly guess at an icon will do.

Also, .desktop files shouldn't normally be automatically created. If you
create them automatically, you're just using an on-the-fly guess based on
extension, 'file', and so on. In that case you don't need the metainfo,
you already have the guess and always will. 

They should only be automatically created when we have one-time knowledge;
for example, if you save a Gimp file, Gimp knows to put itself as creator
and use a Wilber icon, or whatever. Then it's worthwhile to create the
.desktop file. (But whether to do so should be easy to make configurable.)
rpm or .deb creators might also include these files; but they could easily
have a configurable option not to install them. 

If desktop files can be links, and you can configure when and how they're
created, it's trivial to keep a separate part of your home directory for
Gnome-created data with meta-info, and generally not use it with the
shell. It's pure cosmetics whether this separate part of your directory
appears as a "Simple File System," and I think it should optionally do so.

Do you still object to .desktop files if they aren't strewn all over the
system with no way to turn it off?

Havoc Pennington

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