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Specifically I am asking about ~/Templates/, but any information about the other directories is appreciated. I understand how to use ~/Templates in the context of my graphical file manager, but I am looking for defined intent of its usage from freedesktop.org.

In FILE-HIERARCHY(7) it states in the "Home Directory" section that "Additional locations for high-level user resources are defined by xdg-user-dirs".

In xdg-user-dirs, it states "xdg-user-dirs is a tool to help manage 'well known' user directories like the desktop folder and the music folder," but never goes on to enumerate the "well known" user directories.

In xdg-user-dir(1) it does enumerate the following:

  • DESKTOP
  • DOWNLOAD
  • TEMPLATES
  • PUBLICSHARE
  • DOCUMENTS
  • MUSIC
  • PICTURES
  • VIDEOS

user-dirs.defaults(5) lists the following default values, all relative to the user's home directory:

DESKTOP=Desktop
DOWNLOAD=Downloads
TEMPLATES=Templates
PUBLICSHARE=Public
DOCUMENTS=Documents
MUSIC=Music
PICTURES=Pictures
VIDEOS=Videos
# Another alternative is:
#MUSIC=Documents/Music
#PICTURES=Documents/Pictures
#VIDEOS=Documents/Videos

A user in another related question on Unix.SE does state how XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR and XDG_PUBLICSHARE_DIR may be used, but I would like to know where their usage is specfied to confirm that an application is using them correctly and to better understand their intended purpose.

My guess that their is no standard, and that it is up to distributions, system administrators, and application developers how they are to be used, which can lead to some surprising results.

I may be suffering from the XY Problem here.

  • 1
    More likely vague because of disagreements and/or lack of time to develop. For what it's worth, all of the existing specs are online – Thomas Dickey Jul 30 '16 at 13:18
  • 1
    @Thomas that is somewhat what I suspect. Since if those specifications, I have referenced, but there seems to be none for which user dirs are for what unlike config, cache, and data dirs. – kzh Jul 30 '16 at 14:22

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