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Andreas Tille 04-18-2011 01:33 PM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
Hi,

DPL asked us to increase traffic on devel - so I'd like to warm up
a recent discussion

On Sat, Mar 05, 2011 at 04:22:01PM -0800, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>
> Fair enough. Would you, then, be satisfied by my answer that
> they are used? I am a current real life user of fvwm, and I am on the
> mailing lists for the fvwm project with other real life users and
> developers; and my expeirnces, and the chatter on the list, do not lead
> me to believe that menus are unused.

As far as I understood [1] fvwm 2.6 now can use XDG menus. So it might
be that even fvwm users will be happy about desktop files. Can we now
come back to the discussion whether it might make sense to have desktop
files for desktop applications?

Kind regards

Andreas.

[1] http://lwn.net/Articles/438781/

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Sune Vuorela 04-19-2011 07:41 AM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
On 2011-04-18, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
> Currently there is none of this[1]. I think it makes no sense to discuss
> if things should have desktop files or whether it makes sense to
> remove the old working system.

what do you miss from the xdg specs?

/Sune


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"Bernhard R. Link" 04-19-2011 10:13 AM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
* Sune Vuorela <nospam@vuorela.dk> [110419 09:41]:
> On 2011-04-18, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
> > Currently there is none of this[1]. I think it makes no sense to discuss
> > if things should have desktop files or whether it makes sense to
> > remove the old working system.
>
> what do you miss from the xdg specs?

The "Desktop Entry Specification" mostly describes the format, with some
very short sentences about Name, GenericName and Comment. Categories
only refers to the "Desktop Menu Specification" (which only handles
OnlyShownIn and NotShownIn though not advertised here).

The "Desktop Menu Specification" (which for the most interesting stuff
to users like where things are again refers to the "desktop base
directory specification" and now finally even got a link to that...)
finally has in the appendix a list of "Registered Categories"
and values for "OnlyShowIn" and "NotShowIn".

Most of those "Categories" have a description of only one or two words
(unless counting "a" then most have two or three).

OnlyShowIn/NotShownIn only gives meaning. There is nothing that says
when those should be used (or whether they may be used in Debian).

Compare this to http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/menu.html/

Especially I miss something as easy to read and as complete in one place as
"http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/menu.html/ch3.html"
and
"http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/menu.html/ch6.html".

And in terms of policy I miss a better description of the Categories,
better rules how Name/GenericName/Comment should be written and when
OnlyShowIn/NotShownIn are to be used.

Bernhard R. Link


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Sune Vuorela 04-19-2011 10:31 AM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
On 2011-04-19, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
> * Sune Vuorela <nospam@vuorela.dk> [110419 09:41]:
>> On 2011-04-18, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
>> > Currently there is none of this[1]. I think it makes no sense to discuss
>> > if things should have desktop files or whether it makes sense to
>> > remove the old working system.
>>
>> what do you miss from the xdg specs?
>
> The "Desktop Entry Specification" mostly describes the format, with some
> very short sentences about Name, GenericName and Comment.

Name is the application name, as named by upstream
GenericName is a more generic name of the type of application
Comment is optional

Name=Konsole
GenericName=Terminal

Name=Gedit
GenericName=Editor

Name=KDevelop
GenericName=Integrated Development Environment


Comment could be something like
Comment=Launch a terminal window
Comment=Edit your text files
Comment=Develop applications

> Most of those "Categories" have a description of only one or two words
> (unless counting "a" then most have two or three).

I actually think the one or two words is enough to know where to put
things. It could of course use more words to look like chapter 3 in the
debian menu policy, but I think it is more words just to use more words.

> OnlyShowIn/NotShownIn only gives meaning. There is nothing that says
> when those should be used (or whether they may be used in Debian).

The OnlyShowIn/NotShowIn items should normally not be used, unless there
is a tight integration between a DE and the app itself. e.g. a tool to
configure the appearance of Plasma should probably have OnlyShowIn=KDE

> "http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/menu.html/ch6.html".

I guess one can write something similar.

but basically it is syntax changes and
's,.menu,.local/share/applications,'

> And in terms of policy I miss a better description of the Categories,
> better rules how Name/GenericName/Comment should be written and when
> OnlyShowIn/NotShownIn are to be used.

Does my comments here clear it up for you? (then we can talk about
making docs out of it)

/Sune


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Neil Williams 04-19-2011 10:50 AM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
On Mon, 18 Apr 2011 15:50:29 +0200
"Bernhard R. Link" <brlink@debian.org> wrote:

> * Andreas Tille <andreas@an3as.eu> [110418 15:33]:
> > As far as I understood [1] fvwm 2.6 now can use XDG menus. So it might
> > be that even fvwm users will be happy about desktop files. Can we now
> > come back to the discussion whether it might make sense to have desktop
> > files for desktop applications?
>
> As I said in multiple other discussions about this: Please write
> a policy how .desktop files in Debian should look like and some
> documentation for maintainers what the categories means and
> some documentation for users how to do the basic things like
> overriding a menu entry.
>
> Currently there is none of this[1]. I think it makes no sense to discuss
> if things should have desktop files or whether it makes sense to
> remove the old working system.

How can the old Debian menu system be considered as "working" when it
has never supported translation? All those titles and longtitles, not
a single one can be shown as a translated string. For that reason alone,
the old Debian menu system should be withdrawn as not fit for release.

It doesn't matter about documentation for developers using the system,
what matters is that users don't get the descriptive text in their own
language even if 100% of all other translatable strings exist.

Developers can add their own docs to a Wiki page - come on, that's
utterly trivial. *Prohibiting* translation of descriptive text which is
intended to be helpful to users ought to be an RC bug in and of itself.
Fine if the translation doesn't exist but menu actively prevents
translation. That is simply BUST - RC bust IMNSHO.

--


Neil Williams
=============
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"Bernhard R. Link" 04-19-2011 11:34 AM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
* Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org> [110419 12:50]:
> How can the old Debian menu system be considered as "working" when it
> has never supported translation? All those titles and longtitles, not
> a single one can be shown as a translated string.

Let's not start about longtitles, those "Comment"s found in .desktop
files are usually a joke.

For the names translation is something that almost does not exist,
even with .desktop files. (There exists some transliteration into other
character sets where .desktop is of course superior).
>From looking on a local squeeze system here at the .desktop file
not specific to the gnome setting menu, there are 54 with no German
name translation, 10 where the German translation is the same, 19 where
there is a German translation, but almost all of them seem to have
missed the difference between Name and GenericName (especially things
like totem, evince, eog, file-roller, nautilus).

And the debian menu has supported translations since longer than .desktop
files even exist. It just has the strange idea that it might be easier
for translators to supply one file with all the translations of their
language instead of having to change a file in virtually every package
in the distribution to add their language.

Bernhard R. Link


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"Bernhard R. Link" 04-19-2011 12:46 PM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
* Sune Vuorela <nospam@vuorela.dk> [110419 12:32]:
> On 2011-04-19, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
> > * Sune Vuorela <nospam@vuorela.dk> [110419 09:41]:
> >> On 2011-04-18, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
> >> > Currently there is none of this[1]. I think it makes no sense to discuss
> >> > if things should have desktop files or whether it makes sense to
> >> > remove the old working system.
> >>
> >> what do you miss from the xdg specs?
> >
> > The "Desktop Entry Specification" mostly describes the format, with some
> > very short sentences about Name, GenericName and Comment.
>
> Name is the application name, as named by upstream
> GenericName is a more generic name of the type of application
> Comment is optional
>
> Name=Konsole
> GenericName=Terminal
>
> Name=Gedit
> GenericName=Editor
>
> Name=KDevelop
> GenericName=Integrated Development Environment

What about nautilus.desktop's (at least in squeeze):

Name=File Manager
and no GenericName. Would that be a policy violation?

Is that allowed if has a restrictive OnlyShowIn=. Must programs
that are also useable outside that session type also have a menu
item with a less generic name?

> Comment could be something like
> Comment=Launch a terminal window
> Comment=Edit your text files
> Comment=Develop applications

I've seen quite some bug reports about those.
What should it contain? A verb phrase describing what?
(Might also help translations. The English text might be both an
imperative or an infinitive, the German translations seem to translate
it as infinitive clause).

> The OnlyShowIn/NotShowIn items should normally not be used, unless there
> is a tight integration between a DE and the app itself. e.g. a tool to
> configure the appearance of Plasma should probably have OnlyShowIn=KDE

What exceptions are there? Should there be a lintian warning about
those?

What about NotShownIn? Is e.g. squeeze's gnome-screenshot.desktop's
NotShowIn=KDE;
a bug and should it have been OnlyShowIn=GNOME; or nothing at all?

> > "http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/menu.html/ch6.html".
>
> I guess one can write something similar.
>
> but basically it is syntax changes and
> 's,.menu,.local/share/applications,'

Well, I hope there is something similar, but getting this documentation
for users is very hard to get out of the xdg specs.

> > And in terms of policy I miss a better description of the Categories,
> > better rules how Name/GenericName/Comment should be written and when
> > OnlyShowIn/NotShownIn are to be used.
>
> Does my comments here clear it up for you? (then we can talk about
> making docs out of it)

Unless there are many bugs around currently, I think this rather needs
a policy for those fields rather then simply docs.

Bernhard R. Link


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Sune Vuorela 04-19-2011 01:23 PM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
On 2011-04-19, Bernhard R. Link <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
> What about nautilus.desktop's (at least in squeeze):
>
> Name=File Manager
> and no GenericName. Would that be a policy violation?

I would consider that a bug.

At least my default Plasma Desktop menu shows the menu as
GenericName (in black on white)
Name (in gray on white, only when hovered)

>> The OnlyShowIn/NotShowIn items should normally not be used, unless there
>> is a tight integration between a DE and the app itself. e.g. a tool to
>> configure the appearance of Plasma should probably have OnlyShowIn=KDE
>
> What exceptions are there? Should there be a lintian warning about
> those?

A lintian warning doesn't make sense. it can't be automatically
determined what a application do or does not, and what it works with.

> What about NotShownIn? Is e.g. squeeze's gnome-screenshot.desktop's
> NotShowIn=KDE;
> a bug and should it have been OnlyShowIn=GNOME; or nothing at all?

I don't know what gnome-screenshot does, but there are many cases where
NotShowIn=KDE is a better choice than OSI=GNOME, because xfce and lxde
also uses gnome specific stuff.

And the Gnome people seems to prefer adding OSI=Gnome, where others have
a equivalent, no what, just like there is implemented a blacklist in the
gnome menu that blacklists apps that could be usable from the gnome
menu. (kwrite, digikam, ...).

>
>> > "http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/menu.html/ch6.html".
>>
>> I guess one can write something similar.
>>
>> but basically it is syntax changes and
>> 's,.menu,.local/share/applications,'
>
> Well, I hope there is something similar, but getting this documentation
> for users is very hard to get out of the xdg specs.

There might be something similar written. I haven't looked for it. But
there is various graphical applications for editing your menu, which is
probably the preferred form for most our users.

>> > And in terms of policy I miss a better description of the Categories,
>> > better rules how Name/GenericName/Comment should be written and when
>> > OnlyShowIn/NotShownIn are to be used.
>>
>> Does my comments here clear it up for you? (then we can talk about
>> making docs out of it)
>
> Unless there are many bugs around currently, I think this rather needs
> a policy for those fields rather then simply docs.

There are most likely many bugs around.

/Sune


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Neil Williams 04-19-2011 03:16 PM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
On Tue, 19 Apr 2011 13:34:43 +0200
"Bernhard R. Link" <brlink@debian.org> wrote:

> * Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org> [110419 12:50]:
> > How can the old Debian menu system be considered as "working" when it
> > has never supported translation? All those titles and longtitles, not
> > a single one can be shown as a translated string.
>
> Let's not start about longtitles, those "Comment"s found in .desktop
> files are usually a joke.

I disagree - my own packages and those I've worked on have usable
comment strings and usually a dozen translations of Name and Comment.

On my own box, I don't see any Comment fields that could be classified
as a joke. Most contain a description of what the program does, as the
Comment field should. If that needs improving, file wishlist bugs. At
least it can be easily fixed and subsequently maintained.

> For the names translation is something that almost does not exist,
> even with .desktop files. (There exists some transliteration into other
> character sets where .desktop is of course superior).

Then that is lazy of the upstream. Most programs can do with a longer
name than the program name. File bugs. At least these can be easily
patched and then submitted for translation using tools and translation
mechanisms with which all translators are already familiar. The Name
probably should include the name but there are good reasons to specify
that the Name field should contain the program name and a short
description. "Foo text editor" is much better than just "foo".

It might be worth having a lintian warning for where Name= exactly
matches the Exec field, ignoring case and stripping off any arguments
in the Exec field, but then what is wrong with a terminal application
describing itself as "Terminal" and a comment of "Use the command
line" ?

> >From looking on a local squeeze system here at the .desktop file
> not specific to the gnome setting menu, there are 54 with no German
> name translation, 10 where the German translation is the same, 19 where
> there is a German translation, but almost all of them seem to have
> missed the difference between Name and GenericName (especially things
> like totem, evince, eog, file-roller, nautilus).

I think that might be a historical thing - less than 10% of .desktop
files on my system have a Generic Name field. However, those which
trouble you can be easily fixed with wishlist bugs and easily
translated into any supported locale.

> And the debian menu has supported translations since longer than .desktop
> files even exist. It just has the strange idea that it might be easier
> for translators to supply one file with all the translations of their
> language instead of having to change a file in virtually every package
> in the distribution to add their language.

Are you talking about menu-l10n ?

WOW! THREE translated locales. THREE out of several hundred
supportable locales with .desktop files! (One of the three is only at
20% translated.) A popcon of 0.2% and not updated since Squeeze, so no
end of missing applications and changed strings. How is that meant to
keep pace with changes in the distribution?

Why would a centralised file be a good example anyway? man-db has a
very complex task and quite poor coverage in many locales and that's
only a subset of all manpages. Program messages and debconf strings
cannot be centralised. The whole point is that a fully translated
system is a major undertaking and requires filing updates with many
many packages anyway. It certainly doesn't look as if the centralised
approach used by menu-l10n is actually attracting any translation
effort.

--


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=============
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Ben Hutchings 04-19-2011 03:50 PM

Warm up discussion about desktop files
 
On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 04:16:23PM +0100, Neil Williams wrote:
> On Tue, 19 Apr 2011 13:34:43 +0200
> "Bernhard R. Link" <brlink@debian.org> wrote:
[...]
> > And the debian menu has supported translations since longer than .desktop
> > files even exist. It just has the strange idea that it might be easier
> > for translators to supply one file with all the translations of their
> > language instead of having to change a file in virtually every package
> > in the distribution to add their language.
>
> Are you talking about menu-l10n ?
>
> WOW! THREE translated locales. THREE out of several hundred
> supportable locales with .desktop files! (One of the three is only at
> 20% translated.) A popcon of 0.2% and not updated since Squeeze, so no
> end of missing applications and changed strings. How is that meant to
> keep pace with changes in the distribution?
[...]

And those translations can't be shared with upstream, so all that effort
is being duplicated.

Ben.

--
Ben Hutchings
We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.
- Albert Camus


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