Linked by Rayiner Hashem & Eugenia Loli-Queru on Mon 24th Nov 2003 16:24 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews Today we are very happy to publish a very interesting Q&A with major members: the founder Havoc Pennington (also of Debian, Gnome and Red Hat fame), Waldo Bastian (of SuSE & KDE fame), Keith Packard and Jim Gettys (of X/XFree86/fontconfig/w3c fame) and David Zeuthen, a new member who's taking over the ambitious HAL project. In the article, we discuss about general goals, status and issues, the role of KDE/Qt in the road to interoperability with Gnome/GTK+, HAL (with new screenshots), the new X Server aiming to replace XFree86 and we even have an exclusive preliminary screenshot of a version of Mac OS X's Exposé window management feature for this new X Server! This is one article not to be missed if you are into Unix/Linux desktop!
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by Aaron J. Seigo on Mon 24th Nov 2003 20:17 UTC

I'm perfectly aware of the IANA MIME type registry. KDE has a few MIME types of their own registered there. This isn't a problem of saying "OK, if it is a MS Word file we agree to use
application/msword and expect the file to have a .doc extension." It goes much deeper.

For instance: when we aren't dealing with a file, but a chunk of data, what mimetypes do we use? e.g. If I drag and drop an image that is also a clickable link what MIME types should be used, and in which order should they be presented? If I drop it on a graphics app, it should probably display the image for editting. But if I drop it on a web browser, perhaps it should should load the URL in the link. In this case, both a link and an image MIME type should (IMHO, anyways =) be provided in the DnD information and that behaviour should be standardized. Furthermore, should all DnD'd graphics have both a raw bitmap type available (which all apps should be able to use, theoretically) as well as the actual graphic format it's stored in (e.g. image/jpeg or image/png)? The questions aren't that hard, but the answers need to be standardized so that we don't have multiple answers that may all be slightly different and therefore a block to interop (which is the current situation).

Another example: when I have a MS Word document, which application should be launched? mime.types doesn't provide that information (and shouldn't). Currently if I want to open it in KWord I need to define that in each desktop environment I wish to use separately. That's absurd. Or, when I use Open Office Writer and it looks to the MIME type associations for what to do with a PDF file (for instance), it certainly doesn't look at the same information contained in my KDE settings. Ditto for Mozilla. Internally each is (generally) consistent, and they (generally) use the same IANA-defined MIME types (except for data types not registered with IANA), but between the various systems they aren't consistent. IANA can't fix that; mime.types won't address it; ergo the FD.o MIME type standardization.