Confusion Reigns

When I install a ham radio application, I have no idea where, or even if, there is a menu entry for the executables in the application. The hamradiomenus packages was supposed to solve the problem for Debian and its derivative distros. Even if the package worked, it still requires that the user edit the .desktop file for each application in the package. To make matters worse, very few ham radio packages include a .desktop file.

One can argue that command-line only applications do not need to be part of a menu system for a desktop. For graphical applications, there is no reason for a package not to have a .desktop file for each application.

A .desktop file is an XML file that describes the menu attributes for an application. KDE, Gnome, and Xfce support this file. The group that maintains this interoperability document is These documents provide the solution. Developers of ham radio applications just need to abide by the interoperability standards. As it stands, ham radio is not even listed as a registered category in Appendix A of the Desktop Menu Specification. Can you imagine what it would be like to have all applications under the same menu structure, and a consistent structure across all graphical environments?

While I am dreaming, wouldn’t it be great if openSuse and Fedora had an Amateur Radio install group like Debian? openSuse does have a packaging convention ( that places ham radio applications under Productivity/Hamradio RPM group. To the best of my knowledge, Fedora has no convention. Unfortunately, there is no packaging standard for RPM groups that applies to all distributions.

Isn’t it time to end the frustration faced by users when they install an application? Isn’t it time to end the confusion?


2 Responses to “Confusion Reigns”

  1. iz8ftw fabio Says:

    Planet Ham is a website designed to aggregate blogs produced by Amateur Radio enthusiasts. The aim is to provide a central directory of Amateur Radio blogs
    The backend of the website is based on PlanetPlanet, which fetches syndication feeds such as RSS and Atom from subscribed blogs.
    To add your blog to the Planet Ham feed please email the web address to


  2. A Comparison of LXDE and Xfce on openSUSE 11.3 — Low Cost Computing Says:

    […] application, failed to appear under any menu entry. In June of 2008, I wrote a post called “Confusion Reigns” on another blog, regarding this same problem. Two years later, the problem remains. I am not […]

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