Introduction to Desktop File Utils

The Desktop File Utils package contains command line utilities for working with Desktop entries. These utilities are used by Desktop Environments and other applications to manipulate the MIME-types application databases and help adhere to the Desktop Entry Specification.



Development versions of BLFS may not build or run some packages properly if LFS or dependencies have been updated since the most recent stable versions of the books.

Package Information

Desktop File Utils Dependencies





Installation of Desktop File Utils



If you are upgrading from a previous version of desktop-file-utils that used the Autotools method of installing and configuring the package, you must remove the desktop-file-edit symlink by using the following commands.

rm -fv /usr/bin/desktop-file-edit

Install Desktop File Utils by running the following commands:

mkdir build &&
cd    build &&

meson setup --prefix=/usr --buildtype=release .. &&

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

ninja install

Command Explanations

--buildtype=release: Specify a buildtype suitable for stable releases of the package, as the default may produce unoptimized binaries.

Configuring Desktop File Utils

Configuration Information

The XDG Base Directory specification defines the standard locations for applications to place data and configuration files. These files can be used, for instance, to define the menu structure and menu items in a desktop environment.

The default location for configuration files to be installed is /etc/xdg, and the default locations for data files are /usr/local/share and /usr/share. These locations can be extended with the environment variables XDG_CONFIG_DIRS and XDG_DATA_DIRS, respectively. The GNOME, KDE and XFCE environments respect these settings.

When a package installs a .desktop file to a location in one of the base data directories, the database that maps MIME-types to available applications can be updated. For instance, the cache file at /usr/share/applications/mimeinfo.cache can be rebuilt by executing the following command as the root user:

install -vdm755 /usr/share/applications &&
update-desktop-database /usr/share/applications


Installed Programs: desktop-file-edit, desktop-file-install, desktop-file-validate and update-desktop-database
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: None

Short Descriptions


is used to modify an existing desktop file entry


is used to install a new desktop file entry. It is also used to rebuild or modify the MIME-types application database


is used to verify the integrity of a desktop file


is used to update the MIME-types application database