[arch-projects] Debian menu program

Jason Chu jason at archlinux.org
Sat Aug 28 19:07:20 EDT 2004

Many people have suggested a universal menu system (one that can keep every
WMs menu up to date with all the packages installed on the system).  People
say that the freedesktop standard will do that for us and all we have to do
is wait for WMs to support it.  Personally, I think it'll be a while before
all the WMs support the freedesktop standard and I'm not sure if we really
should wait.

Debian had a solution to this problem in the form of its menu program.  The
menu program consisted of a directory called /usr/share/menu that you
stored a menu file in (the menu file describes categories, command names,
and titles of programs; each package gets one but can describe multiple
programs in a single file), definitions to create menus for each WM, and an
update-menus script.

The update-menus script would scan all the files in /usr/share/menu and
generate menus for all the installed packages.  This was done automatically
by the dpkg program.

My original idea was to port the Debian menu program (version 2) to Arch
and add it as an optional service.  Someone who has the menu package
installed can run update-menus at any time and it would update all the
menus for all WMs on the system.

The purpose of this system was not to make stupider users but to simplify
administration of systems.  If I'm a sys admin for a box that has 4 users
(let's say it's a family computer) and one user wants me to install freeciv
so ge* can play it, do I want to help ger* to add a menu item as well?
What if other people in the house want to play freeciv as well?  Will I
help all of them add these items to their menus?

In this way, it simplifies administration, isn't mandatory, and doesn't
hide anything.

I did a little bit of research into using Debian's menu program, the
problem is that depnends on Debian's dpkg.

To make this work, someone would have to patch the menu program to work
with pacman.  Is anyone interested?


*ge/gis/ger are the newly proposed third person singular gender-neutral
pronouns.  Ge is similar to he, gis to his, and ger to him.

If you understand, things are just as they are.  If you do not understand,
things are just as they are.

My old gpg key expired, the new one is available from keyservers.  I was
stupid enough not to realize this before it was too late, so I am not
able to sign my new key with my old key.  If this assurance isn't enough,
please contact me.
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