.gaim Revisited

Ethan Blanton elb at psg.com
Wed Mar 21 08:51:02 EDT 2007

Richard Laager spake unto us the following wisdom:
> Earlier, Sean and I were discussing what to do about .gaim, rename-wise.
> He said he was thinking about following the XDG Base Directory
> Specification:
> http://standards.freedesktop.org/basedir-spec/basedir-spec-0.6.html

I saw this spec before, I saw you mention it, I thought it was a
horrible idea, and I hoped that this had died.  I see that it has not.

This is, in my opinion, yet another case of the desktop guys making
things ridiculously complicated for no real good reason whatsoever.
First of all, I don't buy this "home directories are too cluttered"
bit, and second of all, this thing isn't reducing the clutter *at
all*, it's creating _more_ clutter, and spreading it around all over
the friggin' place.  Right now, if I want to kill off everything
Gaim-related, I remove ~/.gaim.  Under this plan, not only do I have
to find eleventy base directories in which to search for Gaim crap, I
have to figure out what it's called *inside* those directories.

> Pros:
> * Users can now more easily control where the different types of data
> go. This would be useful if you want to put the cache data somewhere
> else. (I may fit into this category.)

Moderately useful, particularly if you cannot comprehend symlinks.
However, if you cannot comprehend symlinks, you probably don't know
you want to put your cache directory someplace else.

> * As more applications follow this standard, $HOME will be cleaner.

Bogus logic.  The directory $HOME will have fewer immediate children,
but $HOME/{ten directories} will each have as many childred as $HOME
previously did.

> * Separating out the buddy icons reduces the amount of data to be
> synced, since those files can be recreated anyway. (We should modify our
> buddy icon caching code to name files by their hash and use reference
> counting, though.)

Trivial to fix with any number of reasonable sync solutions (see man


> How does everyone feel? Is it worthwhile to follow this standard? How do
> you feel about the file locations?

I am strongly opposed to this tactic, on the grounds that it seems to
be, if anything, a step *backward* in usability.


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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