Re: Desktops: a post-2.4 suggestion.

On Sun, 2003-05-18 at 01:25, Callum McKenzie wrote:
> When an argument has gone on this long it means one of two things:
> a) Both sides are right and it doesn't really matter which choice you
>    make.
> b) Both sides are wrong.

c) Both sides are right _and_ wrong ;-)

> Conventional wisdom is that a) is correct which is why there's been a lot
> of argument about detail. I would like to suggest that b) is in fact what
> we have.
> Two facts:
> a) We want to use the desktop as the primary working area: i.e. we want
>    the user to have access to the programs and files they commonly use.
>    They don't want it cluttered.
> b) $HOME is where all the users files go. Thats the way the system is
>    designed. We can't change it. 
> So the conflict comes when we want to show the user his files on the
> desktop. The current arguments revolve around whether we show all of them
> (the $HOME option, which leaves clutter) or just a select few (the Desktop
> option, which then leaves them inconvenient to access from non-GNOME
> apps).
> So I have a suggestion: virtualise everything on the desktop. If a user
> drags a file onto the desktop actually place it in the $HOME directory (or
> wherever the power user says using GConf) and place a link on the
> desktop. The user sees it on the desktop, the GNOME file selector will
> show it on the desktop, the other-app file selector will show it in $HOME
> and everything is easy to get to for everyone.
> You will of course still want a Home icon on the desktop (think of it as
> the "my files" box). But now the "real" filesystem is presented entirely
> through the nautilus window so there is no need to worry about "desktop
> in home in desktop in ..." style loops.

You introduce 2 problems.

1. Direct manipulation won't work - dragging a desktop file will move a
link, not the file it appears to be. Special casing this for links on
the desktop vs. links everywhere else is inconsistent.

2. The user thinks he's storing lots of files in his desktop, and will
probably get confused when he looks in $HOME. He thought he saved those
file to the desktop! Since they are on the desktop as well, he can
safely delete these extra copies, can't he. Can't he?
(Basically, lying to a user about what's happening is likely to confuse
him in the long run.)

Andrew Sobala <aes gnome org>

"A freudian slip is when you say one thing but you mean your mother." -- unknown

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