Re: Why file content sniffing sucks

On Wed, 2003-12-24 at 15:07, Fabio Gomes wrote:
> The file name was example.txt. The first line of the file
> had a <heade> rtag. After I closed vim, Nautilus ASSUMED that it was an
> HTML file, so it PREVENTED me from opening the f %(#$*%ing file from the
> "incredibly high-quality GNOME UI".
> No way. I finally quit. I decided to open a xterm. Not to edit my file
> and make it look less like HTML, but to GET RID of the most stupid
> feature ever implemented in a file manager. I moved
> /etc/gnome-vfs-mime-magic to somewhere else and restarted Nautilus.
> Now the damn file manager sees that the .txt file is really a text file
> (what a great guess! :-)) and allows me to open vim to edit it. Great.

Well there's a few implicit issues here.  You're saying 'determination
by content is rubbish' but in the same breadth 'recognise the file
extension' when it is globally recognised that the whole .ext approach
is one of Window's greatest flaws.

The 'mime-magic' should not be recognising this as an html file. 
Period.  It's a bug, log it in Gnome's bugzilla.  That's far more
helpful than a rant like this.

Another option would be to have the context menu offer you an 'Open
with...' dialogue.  I don't use Nautlius much and would have assumed it
had this.  Evidently not!

> File type determination by content is crap. It's a misfeature. It is 
> completely unnecessary. Its benefits do not compensate its drawbacks:

Ok, so we could a) recognise by file extensions, b) just don't bother
recognising files so others can do it, or c) make Nautilus efficiently
go about this task in a background thread whilst the user gets on with
their browsing and intelligently cache the results somewhere.

> [1] xfe = X File Explorer,

Ah, the benefit of the Free Software platform; copious choice.

I'm not sure why you're complaining rather than just use something that
you prefer (xfe) whilst keeping Nautilus in reserve for 'content rich'

- Charlie

Charles Goodwin <charlie xwt org>
Member of the XWT Foundation

The future of the net -

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