Table of Contents
This DRAFT document defines a method for automatically starting applications during the startup of a desktop environment and after mounting a removable medium.
Some of the file locations in this specification are specified based on the "desktop base directory specification".
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.
By placing an application's .desktop file in one of the Autostart directories the application will be automatically launched during startup of the user's desktop environment after the user has logged in.
If the same filename is located under multiple Autostart Directories only the file under the most important directory should be used.
Example: If $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is not set the Autostart Directory in the user's home directory is ~/.config/autostart/
Example: If $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS is not set the system wide Autostart Directory is /etc/xdg/autostart/
Example: If $XDG_CONFIG_HOME and $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS are not set and the two files /etc/xdg/autostart/foo.desktop and ~/.config/autostart/foo.desktop exist then only the file ~/.config/autostart/foo.desktop will be used because ~/.config/autostart/ is more important than /etc/xdg/autostart/
An application .desktop file must have the format as defined in the "Desktop Entry Specification". All keys should be interpreted as defined with the following exceptions in order to take into account that the .desktop files in an autostart directory are not shown in a menu.
When the .desktop file has the Hidden key set to true, the .desktop file MUST be ignored. When multiple .desktop files with the same name exists in multiple directories then only the Hidden key in the most important .desktop file must be considered: If it is set to true all .desktop files with the same name in the other directories MUST be ignored as well.
The OnlyShowIn entry may contain a list of strings identifying the desktop environments that MUST autostart this application, all other desktop environments MUST NOT autostart this application.
The NotShowIn entry may contain a list of strings identifying the desktop environments that MUST NOT autostart this application, all other desktop environments MUST autostart this application.
Only one of these keys, either OnlyShowIn or NotShowIn, may appear in a single .desktop file.
A .desktop file with a non-empty TryExec field MUST NOT be autostarted if the value of the TryExec key does NOT match with an installed executable program. The value of the TryExec field may either be an absolute path or the name of an executable without any path components. If the name of an executable is specified without any path components then the $PATH environment is searched to find a matching executable program.
If an application autostarts by having a .desktop file installed in the system wide autostart directory, an individual user can disable the automatic start of this application by placing a .desktop file of the same name in its personal autostart directory which contains the key Hidden=true.
When a desktop environment mounts a new medium, the medium may contain an Autostart file that can suggest to start an application or an Autoopen file that can suggest to open a specific file located on the medium.
When a new medium is mounted the root directory of the medium should be checked for the following Autostart files in order of precedence: .autorun, autorun, autorun.sh Only the first file that is present should be considered.
The desktop environment MAY ignore Autostart files altogether based on policy set by the user, system administrator or vendor.
The desktop environment MUST prompt the user for confirmation before automatically starting an application.
When an Autostart file has been detected and the user has confirmed its execution the autostart file MUST be executed with the current working directory (CWD) set to the root directory of the medium.
When a new medium is mounted and a) the medium does not contain an Autostart file or b) a policy to ignore Autostart files is in effect then the root directory of the medium should be checked for the following Autoopen files in order of precedence: .autoopen, autoopen . Only the first file that is present should be considered.
The desktop environment MAY ignore Autoopen files altogether based on policy set by the user, system administrator or vendor.
An Autoopen file MUST contain a single relative path that points to a non-executable file contained on the medium. If the file contains a newline or carriage return character then the newline or carriage return character itself and all characters that follow MUST be ignored.
The relative path MUST NOT contain path components that refer to a parent directory (../)
The relative path MUST NOT point to an executable file.
The desktop environment MUST verify that the relative path points to a file that is actually located on the medium, taking into account any symbolic or other links and MUST ignore any relative path that points to a file location outside the medium itself.
If the relative path points to an executable file then the desktop environment MUST NOT execute the file.
The desktop environment MUST prompt the user for confirmation before opening the file.
When an Autoopen file has been detected and the user has confirmed that the file indicated in the Autoopen file should be opened then the file indicated in the Autoopen file MUST be opened in the application normally preferred by the user for files of its kind UNLESS the user instructed otherwise.