XDG Base Directory

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This article summarizes the XDG Base Directory specification in #Specification and tracks software support in #Support.

Specification

Please read the full specification. This section will attempt to break down the essence of what it tries to achieve.

Only XDG_RUNTIME_DIR is set by default through pam_systemd. It is up to the user to explicitly define the other variables, using absolute paths that point to existing directories.

User directories

  • XDG_CONFIG_HOME
    • Where user-specific configurations should be written (analogous to /etc).
    • Should default to $HOME/.config.
  • XDG_CACHE_HOME
    • Where user-specific non-essential (cached) data should be written (analogous to /var/cache).
    • Should default to $HOME/.cache.
  • XDG_DATA_HOME
    • Where user-specific data files should be written (analogous to /usr/share).
    • Should default to $HOME/.local/share.
  • XDG_RUNTIME_DIR
    • Used for non-essential, user-specific data files such as sockets, named pipes, etc.
    • Not required to have a default value; warnings should be issued if not set or equivalents provided.
    • Must be owned by the user with an access mode of 0700.
    • Filesystem fully featured by standards of OS.
    • Must be on the local filesystem.
    • May be subject to periodic cleanup.
    • Modified every 6 hours or set sticky bit if persistence is desired.
    • Can only exist for the duration of the user's login.
    • Should not store large files as it may be mounted as a tmpfs.

System directories

  • XDG_DATA_DIRS
    • List of directories seperated by : (analogous to PATH).
    • Should default to /usr/local/share:/usr/share.
  • XDG_CONFIG_DIRS
    • List of directories seperated by : (analogous to PATH).
    • Should default to /etc/xdg.

Support

This section exists to catalog the growing set of software using the XDG Base Directory Specification introduced in 2003. This is here to demonstrate the viability of this specification by listing commonly found dotfiles and their support status. For those not currently supporting the Base Directory Specification, workarounds will be demonstrated to emulate it instead.

The workarounds will be limited to anything not involving patching the source, executing code stored in environment variables or compile-time options. The rationale for this is that configurations should be portable across systems and having compile-time options prevent that.

Hopefully this will provide a source of information about exactly what certain kinds of dotfiles are and where they come from.

Contributing

When contributing make sure to use the correct section.

Nothing should require code evaluation (such as vim and VIMINIT), patches or compile-time options to gain support and anything which does must be deemed hardcoded. Additionally if the process is too error prone or difficult, such as Haskell's cabal or Eclipse, they should also be considered as hardcoded.

  • The first column should be either a link to an internal article, a Template:Pkg or a Template:AUR.
  • The second column is for any legacy files and directories the project had (one per line), this is done so people can find them even if they are no longer read.
  • In the third, try to find the commit or version a project switched to XDG Base Directory or any open discussions and include them in the next two columns (two per line).
  • The last column should include any appropriate workarounds or solutions. Please verify that your solution is correct and functional.

Supported

Application Legacy Path Supported Since Discussion Notes
aerc-gitAUR
antimicroAUR ~/.antimicro edba864 [1]
aria2 ~/.aria2 8bc1d37 [2]
asunder

~/.asunder
~/.asunder_album_artist
~/.asunder_album_genre
~/.asunder_album_title

2.9.0 [3] Uses XDG_CONFIG_HOME/asunder/asunder for ~/.asunder and XDG_CACHE_HOME/asunder/asunder_album_... for the other 3 files. Legacy paths are not removed after migration, they have to be deleted manually.
binwalk ~/.binwalk 2051757 [4] $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/binwalk

Supported only in Git master branch, there's no updated stable release yet.

Blender ~/.blender 4293f47 [5]
calibre
Chromium ~/.chromium 23057

[6] [7]

citra-gitAUR ~/.citra-emu f7c3193 [8]
Composer ~/.composer 1.0.0-beta1 [9]
cowerAUR 8b70805
d-feet ~/.d-feet 7f6104b
dconf
Dolphin emulator ~/.dolphin-emu a498c68 [10]
dr14_tmeterAUR 7e777ca [11] XDG_CONFIG_HOME/dr14tmeter/
dunst 78b6e2b [12]
dwb
fish
fontconfig

~/.fontconfig
~/.fonts

8c255fb Use "$XDG_DATA_HOME"/fonts to store fonts instead.
fontforge

~/.FontForge
~/.PfaEdit

e4c2cc7

[13] [14]

freerdp ~/.freerdp edf6e72
Gajim ~/.gajim 3e777ea [15]
gconf ~/.gconf fc28caa [16]
GIMP

~/.gimp-x.y
~/.thumbnails

60e0cfe 483505f

[17] [18]

Git ~/.gitconfig 0d94427
GStreamer ~/.gstreamer-0.10 4e36f93 [19]
GTK+ 3
htop ~/.htoprc 93233a6
i3 ~/.i3 7c130fb
i3status ~/.i3status.conf c3f7fc4
imagemagick
Inkscape ~/.inkscape 0.47 [20]
latex-mkAUR ~/.latexmkrc
lftp ~/.lftp 21dc400 [21]
lgogdownloaderAUR ~/.gogdownloader d430af6 [22]
LibreOffice

a6f56f7 25bd2ee

[23]
Streamlink ~/.livestreamerrc ea80591 [24]
llpp 3ab86f0 Currently llpp places the configuration directly under XDG_CONFIG_HOME instead of creating a directory.
mc ~/.mc

1b99570 0b71156 ce401d7

[25]
Mercurial ~/.hgrc

3540200 4.2

XDG_CONFIG_HOME/hg/hgrc.
mesa 87ab26b XDG_CACHE_HOME/mesa
milkytracker ~/.milkytracker_config eb487c5 [26]
mpd ~/.mpdconf 87b7328
mpv ~/.mpv cb250d4 [27]
mutt ~/.mutt b17cd67 [28]
mypaint ~/.mypaint cf723b7
nano

~/.nano/
~/.nanorc

c16e79b [29]
ncmpcpp ~/.ncmpcpp

38d9f81 27cd86e

[30] [31]

ncmpcpp_directory should be set to avoid an error.log file in ~/.ncmpcpp.
np2kai-gitAUR

~/.config/np2kai
~/.config/xnp2kai

56a1cc2 [32]
Neovim

~/.nvim
~/.nvimlog
~/.nviminfo

1ca5646

[33] [34]

newsbeuter ~/.newsbeuter 3c57824 [35] It is required to create both directories [36]:

$ mkdir -p "$XDG_DATA_HOME"/newsbeuter "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/newsbeuter

node-gyp ~/.node-gyp 2b5ce52a [37] Only available on master as of 2018-12-04.
NVIDIA ~/.nv
OfflineIMAP ~/.offlineimaprc 5150de5 [38]
opentyrianAUR ~/.opentyrian 8d45ff2 [39]
pcsx2 ~/.pcsx2

87f1e8f a9020c6 3b22f0f 0a012ae

[40] [41]
Pry ~/.pryrc
~/.pry_history

a0be0cc7 15e1fc92 e9d1be0e

[42]
python-pip ~/.pip 6.0 [43]
powershellAUR 6.0
ppsspp ~/.ppsspp 132fe47 [44]
procps-ng ~/.toprc af53e17

[45] [46]

orbment-gitAUR
pacman ~/.makepkg.conf 80eca94 [47]
panda3dAUR ~/.panda3d 2b537d2
PulseAudio

~/.pulse
~/.pulse-cookie

59a8618 87ae830 9ab510a 4c195bc

[48]
pyroomAUR
quodlibet ~/.quodlibet 3.10.0 [49]
qutebrowser
qtile

fd8686e 66d704b 51cff01

[50] Some optional bar widgets can create files and directories in non-compliant paths, but most often these are still configurable.
rclone ~/.rclone.conf 9d36258 [51]
retroarch
rrAUR ~/.rr 02e7d41 [52]
rTorrent ~/.rtorrent.rc 6a8d332
skypeforlinux-stable-binAUR ~/.Skype 8.0
snes9x ~/.snes9x 93b5f11 [53] By default configuration is blank, is intended that the user fill it at they will (throw the gui or manually) before launch a rom
sublime-text-devAUR Cache is placed in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/sublime-text-3/Cache instead of expected $XDG_CACHE_HOME/sublime-text-3.
surfraw

~/.surfraw.conf
~/.surfraw.bookmarks

3e4591d bd8c427 f57fc71

sway ~/.sway/config 614393c [54]
systemd
termite
tmuxinatorAUR ~/.tmuxinator 2636923 [55]
Transmission ~/.transmission b71a298
util-linux 570b321
Uzbl c6fd63a [56]
vimbAUR
VirtualBox ~/.VirtualBox 4.3 [57]
vis ~/.vis

68a25c7 d138908

[58]
vis ~/.vis

68a25c7 d138908

[59]
VLC ~/.vlcrc 16f32e1 [60]
Visual Studio Code
warsow ~/.warsow-2.x 98ece3f [61]
Wireshark ~/.wireshark b0b53fa
xsettingsd-gitAUR ~/.xsettingsd b4999f5
xmonad ~/.xmonad 40fc10b

[62] [63]

Alternatively the environments XMONAD_CONFIG_HOME, XMONAD_DATA_HOME, and XMONAD_CACHE_HOME are also available.
xsel ~/.xsel.log ee7b481 [64]
yarn

~/.yarnrc
~/.yarn/
~/.yarncache/
~/.yarn-config/

2d454b5 [65]

Partial

Application Legacy Path Supported Since Discussion Notes
abook ~/.abook $ abook --config "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/abook/abookrc --datafile "$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/abook/addressbook
Anki

~/Anki
~/Documents/Anki

[66] [67] $ anki -b "$XDG_DATA_HOME"/Anki
aspell ~/.aspell.conf $ export ASPELL_CONF="per-conf $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/aspell/aspell.conf; personal $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/aspell/en.pws; repl $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/aspell/en.prepl"
Atom ~/.atom [68] $ export ATOM_HOME="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/atom
aws-cli ~/.aws 1.7.45 [69]

$ export AWS_SHARED_CREDENTIALS_FILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/aws/credentials
$ export AWS_CONFIG_FILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/aws/config

bash-completion ~/.bash_completion $ export BASH_COMPLETION_USER_FILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/bash-completion/bash_completion
bazaar

~/.bazaar
~/.bzr.log

2.3.0 [70] Discussion in upstream bug states that bazaar wil use ~/.config/bazaar if it exists. The logfile ~/.bzr.log might still be written.
Ruby#Bundler ~/.bundle [71] [72] $ export BUNDLE_USER_CONFIG="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/bundle BUNDLE_USER_CACHE="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/bundle BUNDLE_USER_PLUGIN="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/bundle
Rust#Cargo ~/.cargo [73] [74] [75] [76] $ export CARGO_HOME="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/cargo
ccache ~/.ccache $ export CCACHE_CONFIGPATH="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/ccache.config

$ export CCACHE_DIR="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/ccache

chez-schemeAUR ~/.chezscheme_history $ petite --eehistory "$XDG_DATA_HOME"/chezscheme/history
conky ~/.conkyrc 00481ee [77] $ conky --config="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/conky/conkyrc
coreutils ~/.dircolors $ source $(dircolors "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/dircolors)
crawl ~/.crawl The trailing slash is required:

$ export CRAWL_DIR="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/crawl/

CUDA ~/.nv $ export CUDA_CACHE_PATH="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/nv
dict ~/.dictrc $ dict -c "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/dict/dictrc
Docker ~/.docker $ export DOCKER_CONFIG="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/docker
docker-machine ~/.docker/machine $ export MACHINE_STORAGE_PATH="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/docker-machine
DOSBox ~/.dosbox/dosbox-0.74-2.conf [78] $ dosbox -conf "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/dosbox/dosbox.conf
ELinks ~/.elinks $ export ELINKS_CONFDIR="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/elinks
emscripten

~/.emscripten
~/.emscripten_sanity
~/.emscripten_ports
~/.emscripten_cache__last_clear

[79]

$ export EM_CONFIG="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/emscripten/config
$ export EM_CACHE="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/emscripten/cache
$ export EM_PORTS="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/emscripten/cache
$ emcc --em-config "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/emscripten/config --em-cache "$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/emscripten/cache

freecadAUR ~/.FreeCAD [80] $ freecad -u "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/FreeCAD/user.cfg -s "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/FreeCAD/system.cfg
GDB ~/.gdbinit $ gdb -nh -x "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/gdb/init
get_iplayerAUR ~/.get_iplayer $ export GETIPLAYERUSERPREFS="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/get_iplayer
getmail ~/.getmail/getmailrc $ getmail --rcfile="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/getmail/getmailrc" --getmaildir="$XDG_DATA_HOME/getmail"
glivAUR ~/.glivrc $ gliv --glivrc="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/gliv/glivrc
GnuPG ~/.gnupg [81] [82]

$ export GNUPGHOME="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/gnupg
$ gpg2 --homedir "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/gnupg

Google Earth ~/.googleearth Some paths can be changed with the KMLPath and CachePath options in ~/.config/Google/GoogleEarthPlus.conf
GQ LDAP client

~/.gq
~/.gq-state

1.51

$ export GQRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/gqrc
$ export GQSTATE="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/gq/gq-state
$ mkdir -p "$(dirname "$GQSTATE")"

Gradle ~/.gradle [83] $ export GRADLE_USER_HOME="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/gradle
GTK+ 1 ~/.gtkrc $ export GTK_RC_FILES="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/gtk-1.0/gtkrc
GTK+ 2 ~/.gtkrc-2.0 $ export GTK2_RC_FILES="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/gtk-2.0/gtkrc
httpie ~/.httpie [84] $ export HTTPIE_CONFIG_DIR="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/httpie
ipython/jupyter ~/.ipython

$ export IPYTHONDIR="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/jupyter
$ export JUPYTER_CONFIG_DIR="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/jupyter

irb ~/.irbrc
~/.profile
$ export IRBRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/irb/irbrc
"$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/irb/irbrc
IRB.conf[:SAVE_HISTORY] ||= 1000
IRB.conf[:HISTORY_FILE] ||= File.join(ENV["XDG_DATA_HOME"], "irb", "history")
irssi ~/.irssi [85] $ irssi --config="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/irssi/config --home="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/irssi
isync ~/.mbsyncrc $ mbsync -c "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/isync/mbsyncrc
Java OpenJDK ~/.java/.userPrefs [86] $ export _JAVA_OPTIONS=-Djava.util.prefs.userRoot="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/java
less ~/.lesshst

$ mkdir -p "$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/less
$ export LESSKEY="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/less/lesskey
$ export LESSHISTFILE="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/less/history

$ export LESSHISTFILE=- can be used to disable this feature.

libdvdcss ~/.dvdcss [87] $ export DVDCSS_CACHE="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/dvdcss
libice ~/.ICEauthority [88] $ export ICEAUTHORITY="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/ICEauthority

Make sure XDG_CACHE_HOME is set beforehand to directory user running Xorg has write access to.

Do not use XDG_RUNTIME_DIR as it is available after login. Display managers that launch Xorg (like GDM) will repeatedly fail otherwise.

libx11

~/.XCompose
~/.compose-cache

$ export XCOMPOSEFILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/X11/xcompose
$ export XCOMPOSECACHE="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/X11/xcompose

ltrace ~/.ltrace.conf $ ltrace -F "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/ltrace/ltrace.conf
maven ~/.m2 $ mvn -gs "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/maven/settings.xml
settings.xml
<settings xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/SETTINGS/1.0.0"
  xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/SETTINGS/1.0.0
                      https://maven.apache.org/xsd/settings-1.0.0.xsd">
  ...
  <localRepository>${env.XDG_CACHE_HOME}/maven/repository</localRepository>
  ...
</settings>
Mathematica ~/.Mathematica $ export MATHEMATICA_USERBASE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/mathematica
mednafen ~/.mednafen $ export MEDNAFEN_HOME="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/mednafen
MOC ~/.moc

$ mocp -M "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/moc
$ mocp -O MOCDir="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/moc

most ~/.mostrc $ export MOST_INITFILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/mostrc
MPlayer ~/.mplayer $ export MPLAYER_HOME="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/mplayer
msmtp ~/.msmtprc $ msmtp -C "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/msmtp/msmtprc
MySQL ~/.mysql_history $ export MYSQL_HISTFILE="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/mysql_history
ncurses ~/.terminfo Precludes system path searching:

$ export TERMINFO="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/terminfo
$ export TERMINFO_DIRS="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/terminfo:/usr/share/terminfo

ncmpc ~/.ncmpc ncmpc -f "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/ncmpc/config
Netbeans ~/.netbeans [89] $ netbeans --userdir "${XDG_CONFIG_HOME}"/netbeans
Node.js ~/.node_repl_history $ export NODE_REPL_HISTORY="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/node_repl_history [90]
notmuch ~/.notmuch-config [91]

$ export NOTMUCH_CONFIG="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/notmuch/notmuchrc
$ export NMBGIT="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/notmuch/nmbug

npm

~/.npm
~/.npmrc

[92] $ export NPM_CONFIG_USERCONFIG=$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/npm/npmrc
npmrc
prefix=${XDG_DATA_HOME}/npm
cache=${XDG_CACHE_HOME}/npm
tmp=${XDG_RUNTIME_DIR}/npm
init-module=${XDG_CONFIG_HOME}/npm/config/npm-init.js

prefix is unnecessary (and unsupported) if Node.js is installed by nvmAUR.

nvidia-settings ~/.nvidia-settings-rc $ nvidia-settings --config="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/nvidia/settings
nvmAUR ~/.nvm $ export NVM_DIR="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/nvm
Octave

~/octave
~/.octave_packages
~/.octave_hist

$ export OCTAVE_HISTFILE="$XDG_CACHE_HOME/octave-hsts"
$ export OCTAVE_SITE_INITFILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/octave/octaverc"

$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/octave/octaverc
source /usr/share/octave/site/m/startup/octaverc;
pkg prefix ~/.local/share/octave/packages ~/.local/share/octave/packages;
pkg local_list /home/<your username>/.local/share/octave/octave_packages;

The local_list option must be given an absolute path.

openscad ~/.OpenSCAD 7c3077b0f [93] Does not fully honour XDG Base Directory Specification, see [94]

Currently it hard-codes ~/.local/share.

OpenSSL ~/.rnd Seeding file .rnd's location can be set with RANDFILE environment variable per FAQ.
parallel ~/.parallel 20170422 $ export PARALLEL_HOME="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/parallel
Pass ~/.password-store $ export PASSWORD_STORE_DIR="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/pass
Pidgin ~/.purple [95] $ pidgin --config="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/purple
PostgreSQL

~/.psqlrc
~/.psql_history
~/.pgpass
~/.pg_service.conf

9.2 [96] [97]

$ export PSQLRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pg/psqlrc"
$ export PSQL_HISTORY="$XDG_CACHE_HOME/pg/psql_history"
$ export PGPASSFILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pg/pgpass"
$ export PGSERVICEFILE="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pg/pg_service.conf"

It is required to create both directories $ mkdir "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pg" && mkdir "$XDG_CACHE_HOME/pg"

PulseAudio ~/.esd_auth Very likely generated by the module-esound-protocol-unix.so module. It can be configured to use a different location but it makes much more sense to just comment out this module in /etc/pulse/default.pa or "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/pulse/default.pa.
python-setuptools ~/.python-eggs $ export PYTHON_EGG_CACHE="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/python-eggs
python-pylint ~/.pylint.d won't fix $ export PYLINTHOME="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/pylint
readline ~/.inputrc $ export INPUTRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/readline/inputrc
rlwrap ~/.*_history [98] $ export RLWRAP_HOME="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/rlwrap
Ruby#RubyGems ~/.gem

$ export GEM_HOME="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/gem
$ export GEM_SPEC_CACHE="$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/gem

Rust#Rustup ~/.rustup [99] $ export RUSTUP_HOME="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/rustup
sbt ~/.sbt

~/.ivy2

[100] $ sbt -ivy "$XDG_DATA_HOME"/ivy2 -sbt-dir "$XDG_DATA_HOME"/sbt (beware [101])
GNU Screen ~/.screenrc $ export SCREENRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/screen/screenrc
Haskell#Stack ~/.stack [102] $ export STACK_ROOT="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/stack
subversion ~/.subversion [103] [104][105] $ svn --config-dir "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/subversion
task

~/.task
~/.taskrc

$ export TASKDATA="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/task
$ export TASKRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/task/taskrc

tig ~/.tigrc $ export TIGRC_USER="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/tig/tigrc
tiptopAUR ~/.tiptoprc This will still expect the .tiptoprc file.

$ tiptop -W "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/tiptop

tmux ~/.tmux.conf [106] $ tmux -f "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/tmux/tmux.conf

$ export TMUX_TMPDIR="$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR"

uncrustify ~/.uncrustify.cfg $ export UNCRUSTIFY_CONFIG="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/uncrustify/uncrustify.cfg
Unison ~/.unison $ export UNISON="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/unison
urxvtd ~/.urxvt/urxvtd-hostname $ export RXVT_SOCKET="$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR"/urxvtd
Vagrant

~/.vagrant.d
~/.vagrant.d/aliases

[107]

$ export VAGRANT_HOME="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/vagrant
$ export VAGRANT_ALIAS_FILE="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/vagrant/aliases

WeeChat ~/.weechat [108]

$ export WEECHAT_HOME="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/weechat
$ weechat -d "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/weechat

wget

~/.wgetrc
~/.wget-hsts

$ export WGETRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/wgetrc"
and add the following as an alias for wget:
$ wget --hsts-file="$XDG_CACHE_HOME/wget-hsts"
or set the hsts-file variable with an absolute path as wgetrc does not support environment variables:
$ echo hsts-file \= "$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/wget-hsts >> "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/wgetrc"

wine ~/.wine [109] Winetricks uses XDG-alike location below for WINEPREFIX management:

$ mkdir -p "$XDG_DATA_HOME"/wineprefixes
$ export WINEPREFIX="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/wineprefixes/default

xorg-xauth ~/.Xauthority $ export XAUTHORITY="$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR"/Xauthority
xinit

~/.xinitrc
~/.xserverrc

$ export XINITRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/X11/xinitrc
$ export XSERVERRC="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/X11/xserverrc

Note that these variables are respected by xinit, but not by startx. Instead, specify the filename as an argument:

$ startx "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/X11/xinitrc" -- vt1

xorg-xrdb

~/.Xresources
~/.Xdefaults

Ultimately you should be using Xresources and since these resources are loaded via xrdb you can specify a path such as $ xrdb -load ~/.config/X11/xresources.

Hardcoded

Application Legacy Path Discussion Notes
adb ~/.android/ [110] $ export ANDROID_SDK_HOME="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/android
AMule ~/.aMule
Android Studio

~/.AndroidStudio2.3
~/.android/
~/.java/

anthy ~/.anthy [111]
Apache Directory Studio ~/.ApacheDirectoryStudio
ARandR ~/.screenlayout
Arduino

~/.arduino15
~/.jssc

won't fix
Audacity ~/.audacity-data/
Avidemux ~/.avidemux6
Bash

~/.bashrc
~/.bash_history
~/.bash_profile
~/.bash_login
~/.bash_logout

won't fix $ export HISTFILE="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/bash/history

A specified bashrc can be sourced from /etc/bashrc.

Specify --init-file <file> as an alternative to ~/.bashrc for interactive shells.

cabal ~/.cabal/ [112] See discussion for potential workarounds. It is not very easy or straightforward but may be possible to emulate Base Directory compliance.
chattyAUR ~/.chatty/ [113]
cmake ~/.cmake/ Used for the user package registry ~/.cmake/packages/<package>, detailed in cmake-packages(7) and the Package registry wiki page. Looks like it's hardcoded, for example in cmFindPackageCommand.cxx.
cryptomatorAUR ~/.Cryptomator [114]
CUPS ~/.cups/ won't fix
darcs ~/.darcs/ [115]
dbus ~/.dbus/ [116] This should be avoidable with kdbus [citation needed].
devede ~/.devedeng Hardcoded here
Dia ~/.dia/
Eclipse ~/.eclipse/ [117] Option -Dosgi.configuration.area=@user.home/.config/.. overrides but must be added to "$ECLIPSE_HOME"/eclipse.ini" rather than command line which means you must have write access to $ECLIPSE_HOME. (Arch Linux hard-codes $ECLIPSE_HOME in /usr/bin/eclipse)
Emacs

~/.emacs
~/.emacs.d/

[118] It's possible to set HOME, but it has unexpected side effects. So far the most promising approach is modifying another Emacs environment variable to alter the load path and author your own site file which can manually load up your init file, but it changes the load process significantly.
Fetchmail ~/.fetchmailrc
Firefox ~/.mozilla/ [119]
Flatpak ~/.var/ [120] [121] won't fix
GHC ~/.ghc [122]
Goldendict ~/.goldendict/ [123]
gramps ~/.gramps/ [124]
grsync ~/.grsync/ [125]
gtk-recordMyDesktop ~/.gtk-recordmydesktop
hplip ~/.hplip/ [126]
idris ~/.idris [127]
Java OpenJDK ~/.java/fonts [128]
Java OpenJFX ~/.java/webview
julia

~/.juliarc.jl
~/.julia_history

[129] [130]
Linux PAM ~/.pam_environment [131] Hardcoded in modules/pam_env/pam_env.c
lldb

~/.lldb
~/.lldbinit

mathomatic

~/.mathomaticrc
~/.matho_history

History can be moved by using rlwrap mathomatic -r with the RLWRAP_HOME environment set appropriately.
Minecraft ~/.minecraft/ [132]
Minetest ~/.minetest/ won't fix
mongodb

~/.mongorc.js
~/.dbshell

[133] This Stack Overflow thread suggests a partial workaround using command-line switch --norc.
Nestopia UE ~/.nestopia/ won't fix
~/.netrc Like ~/.ssh, many programs expect this file to be here. These include projects like curl (CURLOPT_NETRC_FILE), ftp (NETRC), s-nail (NETRC), etc. While some of them offer alternative configurable locations, many do not such as w3m, wget and lftp.
NSS ~/.pki [134]
OpenSSH ~/.ssh won't fix Assumed to be present by many ssh daemons and clients such as DropBear and OpenSSH.
palemoon ~/.moonchild productions [135]
perf ~/.debug Hardcoded in tools/perf/util/config.c:29.
various shells and display managers ~/.profile
python ~/.python_history All history from interactive sessions is saved to ~/.python_history by default since version 3.4, custom path can still be set the same way as in older versions (see this example).
Qt Designer ~/.designer
racket ~/.racketrc
RedNotebook ~/.rednotebook
Remarkable ~/.remarkable
Ren'Py ~/.renpy [136]
SANE ~/.sane/ scanimage creates a .cal file there
scribus ~/.scribus
SeaMonkey ~/.mozilla/ [137]
simplescreenrecorder ~/.ssr/ [138] Author seems against this feature.
Solfege

~/.solfege
~/.solfegerc
~/lessonfiles

[139]
SpamAssassin ~/.spamassassin
spectrwm ~/.spectrwm
SQLite

~/.sqlite_history
~/.sqliterc

[140] $ export SQLITE_HISTORY=$XDG_DATA_HOME/sqlite_history

$ sqlite3 -init "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/sqlite3/sqliterc

Steam

~/.steam
~/.steampath
~/.steampid

[141] Many game engines (Unity 3D, Unreal) follow the specification, but then individual game publishers hardcode the paths in Steam Auto-Cloud causing game-saves to sync to the wrong directory.
TeamSpeak ~/.ts3client
texinfo ~/.infokey $ info --init-file "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/infokey"
TeXmacs ~/.TeXmacs
Thunderbird ~/.thunderbird/ [142]
tllocalmgr ~/.texlive
vim

~/.vim
~/.vimrc
~/.viminfo

Since 7.3.1178 vim will search for ~/.vim/vimrc if ~/.vimrc is not found.

$ mkdir -p "$XDG_CACHE_HOME"/vim/{undo,swap,backup}

"$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/vim/vimrc
set undodir=$XDG_CACHE_HOME/vim/undo
set directory=$XDG_CACHE_HOME/vim/swap
set backupdir=$XDG_CACHE_HOME/vim/backup
set viminfo+='1000,n$XDG_CACHE_HOME/vim/viminfo
set runtimepath=$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/vim,$VIMRUNTIME,$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/vim/after
~/.profile
export VIMINIT=":source $XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/vim/vimrc
vimperator ~/.vimperatorrc [143] $ export VIMPERATOR_INIT=":source $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/vimperator/vimperatorrc"

$ export VIMPERATOR_RUNTIME="$XDG_CONFIG_HOME"/vimperator

w3m ~/.w3m [144]
wpa_cli ~/.wpa_cli_history
xdg-utils ~/.gnome [145] For some reason the script xdg-desktop-menu hard-codes gnome_user_dir="$HOME/.gnome/apps". This is used by chromium among others.
xombrero ~/.xombrero [146]
zenmap nmap ~/.zenmap [147] [148]
zsh

~/.zshrc
~/.zprofile
~/.zshenv
~/.zlogin
~/.zlogout
~/.histfile

[149] Consider exporting ZDOTDIR=$HOME/.config/zsh in ~/.zshenv (this is hardcoded due to the bootstrap problem). You could also add this to /etc/zsh/zshenv and avoid the need for any dotfiles in your HOME. Doing this however requires root privilege which may not be viable and is system-wide.

$ export HISTFILE="$XDG_DATA_HOME"/zsh/history

Libraries

C
C99: Cloudef's simple implementation.
JVM
Java, Kotlin, Clojure, Scala, ...
directories-jvm
Go
go-appdir
Haskell
Officially in directory since 1.2.3.0 ab9d0810ce.
xdg-basedir
Perl
File-BaseDir
perl-file-xdg
Ruby
rubyworks/xdg
Rust
directories-rs
Python
pyxdg
Vala
Builtin support via GLib.Environment.
See get_user_cache_dir, get_user_data_dir, get_user_config_dir, etc.

See also