Re: Icons of program


Been sick for a few days and let my mailbox fill up.  I scanned through
the 'ICON' discussion with interest, and have a few comments.

1. The idea of embedding the metainfo directly in each and every file:

   There's one big problem with this; this assumes the file belongs to
   a single user.  I often work with shared documents...I don't want to
   start a file-by-file preferences war. 

2. .INFO file resident in the same directory as the 'real' file:

   This suffers from the same problem as above.

3. 'Gnome' document format:

   This will become a necessity at some point.  As for myself, I am
   really in favor of seeing the default Gnome document be a 'MIME'
   document.  In this case, you can embed multiple types of content,
   with their types distinctly stored.  Lots of code for pulling 
   apart and assembling MIME documents in umpteen different languages
   already exists.  I can forsee someone implementing a MIME VFS mode
   for gmc that allowed me to browse 'into' a document to open and edit
   the individual parts without opening the whole bloody thing (sort of
   akin to Jim Pick's "buffers" GUI).  Lots of potential there, but I
   don't see this as the solution to the metainfo problem because it
   suffers from the same problem as 1 & 2, above.

4. Jim Pick's 'define an API and let the implementations compete' idea.
   This sounds like a given, to me.  This still leaves us with the
   option of a true MetaInfo-aware filesystem if it ever becomes
   available.  And it leaves a lot of room for individual preferences.

Additionally, I'd like to make a suggestion that is closely related
to #1, but circumvents the problem.  Store an ID String in the file.
This would work for executables, text files, scripts, etc, and is a
small extension of the 'hint' you can place in text files to force
Emacs into a particular mode.  Local metainfo directories could use
that 'key' to retrieve tags and icons and it would transparently 
travel with the file when it was copied without breaking anything.
This wouldn't work for some image formats, so in that case you would
fall back to magic/mime associations.

Gnome Apps could use some library function to create this value on
file creation (perhaps the unique ID from the CORBA persistence
service, coupled with MAGIC-usable type information?).  


Just a thought.

 Robert J. Slover | Admin Sys Mgr | Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

 "Yesterday starts tomorrow, Tomorrow starts today.  The problem 
  always seems to be we're picking up the pieces on the ricochet..." 
                                                    -Marillion, "Jigsaw"

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