Re: Should Desktop = Home?

On Sat, 2004-10-02 at 15:27 -0300, Steven Garrity wrote:
> Should we merge the Home directory with the Desktop directory?
> There are some obvious arguments that popup in the "no" camp, including 
> keeping your desktop (or your home dir) clutter free. However, people 
> like to keep both as clutter-free as possible.

There is a difference between a lot clutter and a lot of organization.
I do have a lot of things on my desktop, all pushed to the side of how I
use it.  My folders have unique starting letters in their names so I can
quickly navigate by keyboard.  My data is on the left, device and remote
objects on the right.  I've pushed task-based folders like Trash,
Templates, and Public to the lower right.  Unfiled stuff in on the
bottom above my panel with the window list, reminding me of my tasks and
data.  In don't expect the average user to give a toss about my

I used panels and taskbars for many years because my screen was small
and there was no practical means to bring the desktop forward as a work
space.  We don't control the hardware, so I believe we really mu give
the user a choice between using the desktop verses using the panel.
Ubuntu is emphasizing the panel, which to some degree weakens the
spacial desktop we are striving for.

Even with a larger screen, I rarely see my desktop, and the window
manager is fond of opening windows aligned to the top left--covering the
default location we place important desktop objects.  That is below
average.  Since my Show Desktop applet is next to my Window List, there
is not difficult to bring the desktop forward when it is needed.

> When I compare the contents of my current Desktop to my current Home 
> dir, I don't see too much of a semantic difference. Obviously, my Home 
> dir is full of hidden dirs with all of my application settings, but I 
> don't see those in Nautilus anyhow.
> It always did strike me as odd that from my Desktop, I have a link to my 
> Home dir, which contains my Desktop - don't seem very "spacial" to me 
> ;-)   (kind of Escher, actually)

I think is very difficult introducing the concept of Home when a
directory/folder doesn't resemble a home in any way.  It is a bad
metaphor.  The desktop metaphor works to some degree--its use with
networked objects is weaker than the local objects.  I suspect that as
much as 75% of users have difficulty distinguishing local from remote,
Home from Desktop.

> I see this as an opportunity to take two similar but slightly different 
> metaphors (the Desktop and Home dirs) and merge them into one - making 
> for one less concept the we have to grasp when we deal with our files.

I do use desktop=home and have done for 3 years.  It just works.  It is
one less place to look for data.  I needn't concern myself about where
some app will save something because it is or is not desktop savvy.


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