Re: RFC: Common desktop-wide paths

On Sat, 2 Oct 2004, Samuel Abels wrote:

> Date: Sat, 02 Oct 2004 12:33:10 +0200
> From: Samuel Abels <newsgroups debain org>
> To: lists marcomorain com
> Cc: desktop-devel-list gnome org
> Subject: Re: RFC: Common desktop-wide paths
> On Sat, 2004-10-02 at 03:28, Marc O'Morain wrote:
> > Hi there,
> >
> > This topic has been covered before, but no conclusion was made.
> >
> >
> > The original proposal was to define a set of folders for storing files
> > created by the average desktop PC user. In my case these folders are
> > {Documents, Downloads, Photos, Music, Video}. I believe that this common
> > folderset would help the end-user to store and mange files more easily,
> > and would promote continuity across the desktop.
> Am I the only one who does not like the idea?

Probably not.  But I dont think the system is designed for you.

Providing a few default folders is supposed to encourage users who might
not otherwise create folders and organise their files to use them.  Users
who dont feel the need to organise their files very much will simply dump
them all in Documents, but providing default folders hints to users that
they probably should organise their files a little (I think 'affordance'
is the correct usability term for this).

I'm actually fairly likely to create a much more complicated filing with
lots of subdirectories and different categories for my own use.

(I've been playing with Picasa from Google on Windows recently and) I can
think of "Photo Album" style applictions that would save all photos
to ~/Documents/Pictures/  and use their own metadata and abstract out the
file organisation.
I guess applications like Rythmbox already provide similar user
friendly abstract organisation with playlists.
(Takes away the need for users to understand symlinks/aliases if they want
to have the same file in two folders).

> At work, we don't think in terms of document types. We think in terms of
> projects and we want all data types would to be stuffed into the same
> directory (Projects/"Projectname"/).
> Also, some files are in a shared directory, /pub/. How would you solve a
> scenario like that?

I wouldn't solve it yet.  It is an interesting problem and worth looking
into but as it stands we definately need to at least have


and encourage document centric applications to create folders of their own
there if they want (using generic name types like Spreadsheets or
Presentations, etc).

I'm totally dodging your question because I would really like to see
progress on this question first and i dont think that is incompatible with
later providing a better solution for more complicated situations like

> At home, I could maybe live with some of the directory names, but
> because of the large number of "Documents" I would like to have them
> split via multiple directories, so I have "Letters", "Books" and "Other
> Documents" visible right on my desktop.

Personally I'd use a shortcut for this rather than changing the default
location, I think it would be simpler.

> a) move us one step further from using $HOME as desktop.

I dont particularly favour this idea but I dont think my suggestion to use
subdirectories of ~/Documents/ is works pretty well.

> b) pollute the home directory of users who out of the above reasons do
> not use that behaviour.
> c) not solve the flexibility issue (Split "Documents" into "Letters",
> "Books", etc.).

Note, I'm thinking of Documents as a generic for what might be described
'user data files' (i used to tend to think of it as Word Processing
Documents) which is why I no longer see a need to split the
documents folder but instead think it is workable to have all sorts of
document types as subfolders.

Although I'd like to get some sort of a specification this
is such a relatively straightforward problem that we are already suffering
the bicycle shed effect (everyone has an opinion).
All it really needs to get the ball rolling is a Nautilus developer
willing to add  (in generic translatable way of course)


and go from there.

Any Nautilus developers gonna make my day?


Alan Horkan
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