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autoconf/automake: handling the installation of desktop files / icons

From: Christopher Howard
Subject: autoconf/automake: handling the installation of desktop files / icons
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2012 10:51:57 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:11.0) Gecko/20120402 Thunderbird/11.0.1

Hey guys, I'm trying to get a small game app prepared for final release,
but I'm struggling with one issue: the proper installation of .desktop
files and icons. I want to have this figured out at the source package
level, so that it is easier to make binary packages for various distros
later on.

I couldn't find any guide/tutorial on this subject online, but I looked
at a few other game packages, and eventually came up with this:

desktopdir = $(datadir)/applications
desktop_DATA = gfifteen.desktop

icondir = $(datadir)/icons
icon_DATA = gfifteen.svg

A problem I've had with this is that in Gentoo, which installs from
source, $datadir gets changes by the package manager to a special games
data directory, which is one which is not checked by the desktop menu
programs, so my desktop file and icons do not appear in those menus. I
could probably fix this with special code at the Gentoo package level,
but it seems like I should deal with the more fundamental problem that
sometimes a system might not be configured to have the data directory
set to be the same as the freedesktop file directory.

So I am trying to figure out if I should...

* replace $(datadir) above with some hard-coded location (say,
/usr/share), which seems a bit presumptious, or...

* is there some kind of autoconf macro which figures out where
freedesktop .desktop files and icons should be installed and provides a


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