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Many programs and desktops use the MIME system to represent the types of files. Frequently, it is necessary to work out the correct MIME type for a file. This is generally done by examining the file's name or contents, and looking up the correct MIME type in a database.
For interoperability, it is useful for different programs to use the same database so that different programs agree on the type of a file and new rules for determining the type apply to all programs.
This specification attempts to unify the type-guessing systems currently in use by GNOME, KDE and ROX. Only the name-to-type and contents-to-type mappings are covered by this spec; other MIME type information, such as the default handler for a particular type, or the icon to use to display it in a file manager, are not covered since these are a matter of style.