Re: Should Desktop = Home?

On Sat, 2 Oct 2004, Steven Garrity wrote:

> Date: Sat, 02 Oct 2004 15:27:02 -0300
> From: Steven Garrity <stevelist silverorange com>
> To: Desktop Devel <desktop-devel-list gnome org>
> Subject: Should Desktop = Home?
> I snuck this question in the middle of the discussion[1] about default
> folders (Photos, Music, Documents, etc.), and got one reply arguing
> against [2] and one arguing for [3], but I thought it deserved a thread
> of its own.
> Should we merge the Home directory with the Desktop directory?

I dont think so.  I of course want to put the burden of proof on you which
is not entirely unfair given that the idea has been shot down several
times before and that both Mac OS X and Windows and KDE use seperate
directories for the Desktop to the User Profile aka Home directory.

I'm not saying that that it is proof positive for keeping the status-quo
merely that it is enough to say where the burden of proof should be.

> 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.
> 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.

I understand "Works for me" and that is why the option is available but
I'm not convinced it makes a better default.

I dont particularly want my "Maildir", "share" or my "www" folder on my
desktop and that is not counting all the other folders I have since added
like ~/Documents* and ~/cvs" and ~/devel ~/Screenshots ~/Bugs and many

(* Documents is the one folder I would actually want to have on the
desktop but with a little trickery I could have it both in ~/Documents
and as a fake link on the desktop that would be ideal)

I dont think it will make a significant difference for the average user
and it will at least require some significant adjustment for users like me
that have a lot of crap in their home directory.

(If I were using Evolution I would probably have it setup to use my
"Maildir" directly, so hiding the folder wouldn't help me.  Hiding your
mailbox/Evolution folder bothers me a little as most other applications
have documents stored and users are given a good sense of the Document
centric desktop model and users are not expected to understand that their
mail is just there even though it is hidden but I'm willing to leave mail
as a special case).

> 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

is that supposed to read "special" or "spatial"?  :P

> ;-)   (kind of Escher, actually)

In one way that recursion helps cancel out another far more absurd idea
some users have which is "Oh it is not on my computer, it is on my
desktop" as if the desktop was not within the computer.

> 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.
> Thoughts? Thanks,
> Steven Garrity

I really dont think it will improve things all that much but it is worth
discussing (if only to increase the linkage to the old dicussions).


Alan Horkan
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