It would be really neat if there were some tool which recorded which dotfiles an application read, used, or created.
As an example emacs uses .emacs, but won't create it. However firefox will create and fill ~/.mozilla if it isn't present, and links will create ~/.links2.
What would we do with that data? I'm not sure off the top of my head, but I think it is interesting to collect regardless. Perhaps a simple tool such as apt-file to download the data and let you search:
who-creates ~/.covers who-creates ~/.dia
Obviously the simple use is to purge user-data when matching packages are removed - e.g. dpkg-posttrigger hook. But that's a potentially dangerous thing to do.
Anyway I'm just pondering - I expect that over time applications will start switching to using "centralised" settings such as ~/.gconf2 etc.
In the menatime I've started cleaning up ~/ on my own machines - things like ~/.spectemurc, ~/.grip, etc.
ObQuote: What a long sword. I like that in a man - Blood of the Samurai (Don't be tempted; awful film.)