Re: Name vs GenericName (again)

[Sorry for the misthreading; I didn't receive the original.]

On Jul 25, 2008, at 2:52 PM, Vincent Untz wrote:
> ...
>  + when displaying a menu, use this algorithm:
>    - if only one item for some value of GenericName, then display this
>      item as GenericName
>    - if two items for GenericName, then display both items with their
>      names.
> This way, we'll have "Movie Player" when only totem is installed, and
> "Totem Movie Player" and "VLC Movie Player" when totem and vnc are
> installed.
> Opinions?

This would be a clever way of making the menus simpler. However, it
would be quite undesirable in two cases.

One is where someone is having trouble performing a task, and a
friend/relative/workmate is trying to give them phone or chat support.
They may take a very long time to realize that they're actually using
completely different applications. ("What do you mean, there's no
'Navigation' menu? You do have Movie Player open, right??")

The other is where an operating system vendor ships version N with
application A, but decides to ship version N+1 with application B
instead. (A might have been abandoned upstream, or B might have
noticably overtaken A in usability.) If the menu gives B the same name
as A had, that would cause rage and confusion for those familiar with A.
(For a real-life example of this, look up what happened when Apple
replaced iMovie with a completely different program also called iMovie.)

Neither of these problems apply for programs with very simple scopes and
interfaces: for example, if a distributor replaced gcalctool with
galculator, it could still be "Calculator" and no-one would mind. But it
does matter for non-trivial programs, such as a movie player, Web
browser, or advanced text editor.

To address the problem of Gnome programs having non-sequitur names, I
have an alternative suggestion: stop giving them non-sequitur names. I
know this is the sort of non-technical bug that programmers really don't
enjoy fixing, but it's important nonetheless: it would be beneficial for
all distributors, none of whom currently have the marketing budget to
make (for example) "Totem" sound like a movie player.

This could be done in a couple of ways. First, to avoid the problem
getting worse, those considering new modules for inclusion could
consider whether they have either a strong independent marketing effort
to associate their name with their task (like Firefox and Miro do, to
pick two non-Gnome examples), *or* a name obviously related to their
function (like Gossip and Rhythmbox do). If they have neither, that's a
point against them.

Second, each cycle there could be a vote on which module needs renaming
the most -- which application's name is least helpful in getting people
to use systems that include it. Then it could be a Gnome Goal for that
cycle to brainstorm a better name, rename the project, update its help,
get it a cool new Web site, and make a new release with the new name.

Matthew Paul Thomas

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