Startup Notification issues in GNOME

Hello, everybody.

A while back, I reported a bug for Nautilus, basically stating that when
application Launchers were created on the desktop with Nautilus, a
StartupNotify=true element was not being placed in the .desktop file.  I
now realize that the issue is much broader than that, so I thought I'd
make a list of where I see that the problems are, in all of GNOME (not
just Nautilus).  Perhaps the people that frequent this list could add
their comments/suggestions too.

1) I'll start with the symptoms of the bug I originally reported.  When a
user wants to create a Launcher on the desktop, there are obviously many
ways it can be done.  If adding a GNOME application, probably the best
way is just to navigate through the Applications menu and drag-and-drop
the program you want to the desktop.  Most if not all GNOME apps in the
menu should use StartupNotification=true already, so if the user uses
DnD, he/she will usually not have a problem getting a Launcher on the
desktop that starts properly with startup notification enabled.

However, if one decides to use the desktop's context menu, one can
decide to "Create Launcher."  The user is then taken to a rather "scary"
and perhaps unintuitive screen which requires the user to enter lots of
information on his/her own.  Not only that, but none of the Launchers
created using this method have Startup Notification enabled.  This can
cause headaches.  Here's a personal example:  I added a Firefox icon to
the desktop using the Create Launcher method (it wasn't in the GNOME
Menu).  Before I knew how to hack the .desktop files myself, I was
simply left with a launcher that worked, but gave no indication that the
app was starting.  So, my father, who is basically your average "luser"
would double click on it multiple times.  Often when I came back to the
computer there would be 5 or 6 windows still open to the "Firefox Start

One way that could be solved would be eliminating the Create Launcher
(and even Create Folder?) entries from the context menu and replacing
them with an "Add to Desktop" entry which would work in the same way as
the "Add to Panel" menu entry for gnome-panel's context menu.  There,
the user would have the option to add an Application Launcher (for a
program already in the GNOME Menu) and a Custom Application Launcher.
Of course, there are many other possibilities and I'd love to hear
other suggestions, as mine would probably not be ideal.

2) Another major problem is that the user _never_ receives feedback via
Startup Notification when external applications are launched through
GNOME apps.  Here are some examples of this:

* I browse to my home directory using Nautilus, where I have an image
  saved.  Nautilus has knows that the proper app associated with this
  MIME type is eog.  So I double click on the image, and sure enough it
  opens properly, but no busy cursor appears as it's opening.

* I open up Galeon or Epiphany (not counting Firefox because it's not
  really a "true" GNOME app)  and click on a .pdf file.  GPDF opens up
  fine, but again, no feedback is given to the user while it's

This problem is a little more complicated than just deciding whether or
not to add StartupNotify=true to a few .desktop files.  However, I
really don't know enough about the inner workings of GNOME to think of a
possible solution.  But again, that's why I'm bringing it up, so that it
can be discussed and a possible solution could be thought up.

3) The third problem is a difficult one, and probably belongs on the "xdg" list, but I thought I'd bring it up here briefly.
Legacy X apps do not have support for Startup Notification, so if
Launchers are created for them that do include StartupNotify=true, the
busy cursor continues to be busy after the application has successfully
started, and continues on until the busy cursor "times out."

Those are the three main problems of which I am aware.  This post is not
a formal "proposal" as much as it is a "discussion starter."  The specification, as well as the use of it by GNOME and KDE
among others, has really helped to better this problem.  As can be seen
by the issues listed above though, there is still some room for
improvement and tweaking in that area.

Thanks for reading folks.

Ich heiße Super Fantastisch!  Ich trinke Schampus mit Lachsfisch!

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