policy on using org.freedeskto in dbus service names

Aaron J. Seigo aseigo at kde.org
Sat Jul 31 22:48:10 BST 2010

hi everyone :)

** preamble **

please excuse the cross-mailing list intrusion, but this is
a relatively important issue without many other likely options to address
it. as far as i can tell, the two mailing lists included in the CC are the
 best, or maybe least-worst, for this discussion.

and before someone says "this is a freedesktop.org issue, discuss it on
xdg at freedesktop.org", that list does not have enough of the "right" people
on it to figure this issue out, as you will see below. it is a matter that
requires the commitment of both projects, en masse, to do the right thing.
 xdg@ only reaches a subset of those people.

** the part you are actually interested in (or not ;) **

is a shared property, with the primary stakeholders being GNOME and KDE.
however, there is no policy that i know of right now regarding the usage of
org.freedesktop in dbus service names (or elsewhere, but dbus is where it
crops up most obviously). it's supposed to be cooperative, but in reality
 it's a little more chaotic than that.

having observed both KDE and GNOME, the primary stakeholders in the fd.o
process for desktop software, i have become increasingly unsure where we all
stand on this matter, and i'd like to get it sorted out. you should as well:
freedesktop.org is a shared property of key importance. if we misuse it, it
 will become worth a lot less and not as useful as it should be.

in KDE, we have an unwritten policy that goes something like this:

* as the
default position, use org.kde for any dbus service created in the KDE
 community for KDE software

* a service may use org.freedesktop if, and only if, there is explicit
consensus from the major stakeholders in freedesktop.org (GNOME and KDE) to
 do so

* the rational is that we wish to avoid namespace polution of
org.freedesktop and avoid confusing others that things we make are actually
standards when they aren't (as measured by consensus and adoption through

* services that do not comply the above are not welcome in KDE's svn

unwritten policies suck: there is not way to sensure they get passed on from
generation to generation and it is a perfect way to set people up for
failure because they forget or just figure "if it isn't written, how real
 can it be, right?"

i'm very interested in what the policy in GNOE is for this same issue, and
it would be excellent if someone(s) from the GNOME community can fill in the
 blanks for us on the KDE side.

** why now? **

i understand that Vincent Untz is in the process of setting
up a git repository on freedesktop.org's git repo where we can house all of
 our specs in one place. progress!

to support that move, we really need to have some of our policies sorted out
around decision making. (those on the xdg@ list will know, probably
extensively by now, my thinking on how such a decision making process could
be implemented with near-zero overhead.) an important step is, well,
 enunciating our policies.

i continue to see "random" usage of org.freedesktop out there, however. this
 includes a GSoC project in GNOME:


i have talked with
the developer involved and they graciously agreed to change it to org.gnome.
(they haven't actually done so yet, but i'm assuming / trusting it's just a
matter of time. :) they also said that they were advised by their mentor to
use org.freedesktop as part of the process of pushing this spec into wider

obviously, this runs 100% counter to how the other stakeholder, KDE, views
and uses org.freedesktop. as it is a shared property (with unfortunately ~0
 policy around how to manage that), this is problematic.

so .. step one is to get our policies out there on the table. let's compare
what we are each trying to do, harmonize them, codify them somewhere we can
all reference them and then hold ourselves and each other to those

** the action point part of the email **

who from GNOME can enlighten us on
what the GNOME policy is for usage of org.freedesktop in dbus service

thank you all for your time.

Aaron J. Seigo
humru othro a kohnu se
 Fingerprint: 8B8B 2209 0C6F 7C47 B1EA  EE75 D6B7 2EB1 A7F1 DB43

KDE core developer sponsored by Qt Development Frameworks

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