Now, here’s one for the masochistic types out there: As far as I can tell, there is no way to for an application to be installed such that it will startup as part of every user’s session the next time they log in to GNOME. Mark can probably tell me if this is absolutely true or not, but if there’s a way, I can’t find it.
On windows you can add an entry to HKLM/Run and in KDE you can stick a .desktop file into /opt/kde/share/autostart. I know Mark’s vision for the future of gnome-session includes this revolutionary capability, but for right now, it seems I’m not going to get anywhere fast. So, what can we do? There’s a half measure that can be taken, which is to edit the default.session but this will only affect users who log in for the first time after installation, which won’t be the common case. On top of that it doesn’t seem possible to add non-session-aware programs this way. gnome-session does know how to read the session-manual file but that’s per user and there’s no system wide equivalent.
We’re currently experimenting with having our system daemon detect that a user logged in and then launching the per-user process on their behalf. But this is limited because you can only reliably detect ?DM managed logins (as opposed to startx or similar) and the launched process will lack the full environment of the session.
So, the question I’m posing: Is there a proper way to install an auto-start app for GNOME? If not, are there saner alternatives to the current plan?
Update: Just to clarify: I know that the session supports restarting running applications – I’m saying I can’t find a way to say that an application should start, for the first time, the next time a user logs in.