archeos-menu package

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This page is intended to explain to other ArcheOS developers (or who’s interested in) the ArcheOS menu.


The ArcheOS menu is a submenu with the ArcheOS Linux title into XFCE standard menu that provides access to virtually every important application installed in ArcheOS (at least, the graphical ones). Due to the nature of the XDG specifications, the ArcheOS menu is merged with the default one. This means that applications could appear in different menus (eg. the Scribus application can be under ArcheOS Linux -> Publishing applications and also under Office).

The ArcheOS menu is designed as possible following the guidelines. This means that it should work quite and appear quite the same way on all desktop environments that supports the XDG standard.

The menu is basically copied from the kali linux one, with minor modifications.

How to build the package (standard)


This section is common to all “simple” archeos packages.

  1. Edit the debian/control file and do the relative modifications (add package to depends, and so on).
  2. You can test the package build with git-buildpackage --git-ignore-new anytime you want.
  3. When ready to deploy a working version, commit your changes the usual way (git add & git commit).
  4. Use git-dch -R to update the changelog file. Edit it properly (if need to change something, but most of the time it doesn’t.) then add it and commit it too (usual git add and git commit).
  5. Build and tag the package with git-buildpackage --git-tag. Push changes upstream with git push && git push --tags
  6. Clean the package with debuild clean.
  7. Upload the packages (all deb files, changes and dsc) to the repository server and import them into the distrubution with reprepro.

The package

The archeos menu package contains all menu modifications, required application files and some icons.


In the desktop-directories/ folder a .directory file contains all information about the each submenu (including the main, ArcheOS Linux menu). These files are formatted using the same syntax as the .desktop files, using the Type=Directory directive. An example of a .directory file:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=GIS Applications

Note that the Name= directive defines the name that will appear on the actual menu, the Icon= must point to an existing icon into /usr/share/icons/ (see the dedicated section about icons). These files will be copied during package build and installation into /usr/share/desktop-directories.


In the desktop-files/ folder each .desktop file contains information about the entry that will populate the menu. Each application that should to go into the menu must have a .destkop file similar to this:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=LyX Document Processor
GenericName=Document Processor
Comment=High level LaTeX frontend
Exec=lyx %F

Most times this can be find into /usr/share/applications/ for packages that comes with Debian and external packages that provides such files. In order to create the ArcheOS menu, these files has been copied into the desktop-files/ folder and modified to reflect the ArcheOS menu structure.

Obviously other .desktop entries can be very different from the example above, with more or fewer lines, but some information are mandatory:

  • Name= is the name displayed on the menu
  • Exec= the command that is actually run to launch the program
  • Categories= a list of categories separated by ;. This directive decides where to put the entry in the menu (in which submenu). To put the application under ArcheOS submenu, a valid category must be chosen, eg. 11-publishing. See the XML menu file section.
  • Icon= as stated before the icon must exists under /usr/share/icons/
  • X-ArcheOS-Package= this is needed to associate the .desktop entry with the installed debian package. Periodically the update-archeos-menu scans the installed packages and the .desktop files present into the desktop-files/ folder and copies them into /usr/share/applications/.

XML menu file

In the menus/ folder the XML layout of the menu is saved. This will be installed by the package into /etc/xdg/menus/merged-applications/. The XML reflects first the general structure (<Layout> .. </Layout> tags). Then starts to list all directories with the relative name (overridden by the corresponding .directory file) and the category that will be included. The <Category> .. </Category> must match the Categories= directive in the .desktop files (see above). Multiple categories can be listed in one submenu and if needed the <Filename> .. </Filename> can be used instead of categories to point to an absolute .desktop file path (not recommended).

See the guidelines for more information.

Other menu files

Listed below other files and direcotries in the package

  • apt.conf.d/ contains an APT configuration to run the update-archeos-menu after package installation.
  • menu-icons/ contains the icons for menu entries and for applications that does not provide a default icon or applications package by the ArcheOS developers.
  • update-archeos-menu is a script that parses the Categories= directive into /usr/share/archeos-menu/applications/*.desktop files and copies them into the standard /usr/share/applications/ folder. Only entries with the corresponding deb package installed are copied. This in case ArcheOS developers wants to create menu entries for optional package that aren’t installed by default.


Create menu entry

For each archeos application that need to go into the “ArcheOS” submenu, the following items must be created:

  • An icon (PNG, 64x64px) into menu-icons/64x64/apps/
  • (Optional) a svg vector icon into menu-icons/scalable/
  • A desktop entry into deskop-files/. Use any .desktop file as template.
  • The Category= entry must correspond to a category used in the menu. See the menus/ for the complete list of categories (eg. Category=05-cad-applications;)
  • Multiple categories can be assigned using the ; separator.
  • The Icon= entry must exists somewhere into /usr/share/icons or must be inserted into the menu-icons/64x64/apps/ folder.
  • The X-Archeos-Package= entry must match the corrisponding ArcheOS debian package (installed). This information will be used by the update-archeos-menu script to build the actual list of applications into /usr/share/applications/. This allows to create desktop files that will not be used until the actual deb package is installed.

Add a new submenu

To add a new submenu:

  • Add a new <Menuname> .. </Menuname> like the others into the <Layout> section into menus/ file (see others).
  • Add a new <Menu> ... </Menu> stanza into menus/ similar to the other.
  • The <Directory> ... </Directory> tag must contain the filename of the desktop entry (see below)
  • The <Include> ... </Include> tag must contain a list of categories that applications files (see above) must contain. If no applications contains this category the menu will not be displayed.
  • Add a new .directory file into desktop-directories/ like the other ones
  • The Type= entry must be Directory
  • The Icon= entry must exists somewhere into /usr/share/icons or must be inserted into the menu-icons/64x64/apps/ folder (see above).
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