Re: Icons of program

On Sun, 19 Apr 1998, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
> I resist this idea because it tends to hide what is really on the system.
> This is a typically Microsoft philosophy -- it (may) simplify matters in the
> beginning, but adds confusion later on (So why don't I see the files on my
> desktop now that I've started using the shell?  Where's the netscape file on
> my desktop in the filesystem?)  This functionality really needs to be built in
> from the ground up (as MacOS does.) not added on to an existing system.

I think the confusion comes from an insufficient break between the
new and the old, easy and hard. Mac breaks cleanly, but it does so by
eliminating the hard stuff and correspondingly some power. Gnome could
keep both.

Why not add a new virtual file system, say "SimpleVFS." This is just a
directory hidden somewhere, but it looks like a separate partition, or an
ftp site, or a tarball - all things gmc handles now. It behaves just the
same. If you want to see files from the shell, you have to move them from
your SimpleVFS to your ext2fs. If you want files from the shell to appear
in SimpleVFS, you move them there with gmc. (of course some moves would
just be creating a SimpleVFS link back to the ext2fs, and SimpleVFS is
really an ext2fs tree of .desktop text files - so manual intervention is
possible.) If you hate SimpleVFS you don't use it, and if you hate ext2fs
you don't use it. gmc works with both and if there's no icon info for a
filesystem gmc does its best to make something up (using 'file' and

Personally, I would use both. I'd love to have SimpleVFS to keep all my
documents and images and apps and so on (stuff most people do with
computers). It would also be perfect for the equivalent of the Apple/Start
menu folders and Startup folders. I'd hate it (or any similar scheme, like
.info files in all directories) for a big source tree like Gnome, or for a
server, or for /usr/bin. It's slow and cluttered for those purposes. I'd
like to keep things cleanly separated. 

Also, you want movement between the Simple and non-Simple environments to
happen correctly anyway. For example, if I create a web site and upload
it, gmc should automatically nuke the SimpleVFS information, because
.info-type files don't belong on my web site. If gmc is leaving .info
files all over the place, and people are expecting to be able to use
gmc-tainted directories in a normal way, it's just going to be a mess.
(One immediate annoyance I can think of is that every single shell
tab-completion would beep. Another is that I normally won't want grep to
act on .info files. Another is having to copy them. Another is
directory clutter - double the files. Another is disk space. etc.)

So I'm hoping someone will code a clean break - a new VFS based on
.desktop files. This gives you the advantages of a new filesystem, without
actually having one. A separate coding project is just gmc-simplification,
taking out some of the more obscure dialogs, rewording things for newbies,
more reasonable defaults, etc. This should be independent of VFS choice. 
GnomeFileSelection should be integrated into the whole scheme.

So that's what I'm hoping some generous hacker will do, but I'm not going
to bet on it. :) Maybe a Gnome 3.0 project. 

Havoc Pennington

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