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 * tmux [[https://sourceforge.net/p/tmux/mailman/tmux-users/thread/k6hb9i$59a$5@ger.gmane.org/|discussion+patch, rejection]]

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The XDG Base Directory Specification (XDGBDS) defines four categories of so called DotFiles and the corresponding directories in a users home directory that should be used for those. The categories are cache, configuration, data and runtime files. There is not yet a separate categorie for "state" files although such a categorie has been requested several times (see State proposal below).

Please refer to the specification for directory definitions and further details. Debian does not require that packages conform to the XDGBDS but strongly encourages upstreams to do so. Debian packages should not be patched for conformance to avoid unnecessary deviation from upstream and other distributions.

Tools and libraries

Debian contains several libraries for different languages that help to implement the XDGBDS:

These tools or libraries exists but are not yet packaged:

Status of Packages

Debian does not require packages to conform to the XDGBDS and there is not (yet) a coordinated effort to encourage upstreams to do so. But to avoid duplication of effort we can collect upstream bug reports here regarding XDGBDS conformance.

bugs not yet filled/found: ZSH, gimp, ssh, gnupg, mplayer, dbus, libpurple/pidgin,

Proposal: STATE directory

This is a recurring request/complaint (see this or this) on the xdg-freedesktop mailing list to introduce another directory for state information that does not belong in any of the existing categories (see also home-dir.proposal. Examples for this information are:

  • history files of shells, repls, anything that uses libreadline
  • logfiles
  • state of application windows on exit
  • recently opened files
  • last time application was run
  • emacs: bookmarks, ido last directories, backups, auto-save files, auto-save-list

The above example information is not essential data. However it should still persist on reboots of the system unlike cache data that a user might consider putting in a TMPFS. On the other hand the data is rather volatile and does not make sense to be checked into a VCS. The files are also not the data files that an application works on.

A default folder for a future STATE category might be: $HOME/.local/state

Some questions that might help to distinguish between the different classes:

DATA

CONFIG

STATE

CACHE

RUNTIME

sync across machines?

yes?

yes

no

no

no

manage in VCS (Git/SVN)?

no

yes

no

no

no

should be backed up?

yes

yes

yes

no

no

can live in tmpfs?

no

no

no

yes

yes?

contains much data?

yes

no

no

yes

no