Re: [Proposal] Remove some stuff from Application menu

Hi Shaun,

On Wed, 1 Jul 2003, Shaun McCance wrote:

> > >      1. rename "$USER Home" icon on desktop as "Personal Files" (do we
> > >         need to expose the home concept to all users?)

> actually a problem at this point?  What I mean is, we've been doing this
> i18n stuff for a while now, and I would assume (I don't know) that home
> has already been translated.  Are there languages where home presents a
> l10n problem that hasn't already been solved?

Well, after much discussion the Dutch translation team decided to
translate 'Home' with the equivalent of 'Personal folder'. In Nautilus
this already presents a problem with the 'Home' button on the toolbar,
because that text would be a bit long, so we opted for (the equivalent
of) 'Personal'. Furthermore, the 'Home' in a web browser is a different
home than the 'Home' in Nautilus, which is a different home than the
'Home' in Yelp. :-( For browsers and Yelp we now have 'Start' and

Still unsolved is that an icon of a house is used for something that now
hasn't got much to do with a house at all.

> I don't think "the home concept" is all that hard.  I mean, it's just
> where you put stuff.  Is it really that hard to understand that I put
> stuff in my home directory?  As for "Personal Files", I'm not sure that
> everything in my home directory qualifies as personal.

They are personal in the sense that other users can't access them (unless
you explicitly tell otherwise).

> The home directory is so thoroughly entrenched in Unix and Unix-like
> systems that trying to remove it is an exercise in futility.  First,

The word 'directory' is thoroughly entrenched in Unix, yet we've chosen to
consistently use the word 'folder' instead. This met resistance as well in
the beginning but no one who's complaining about that now.

> "Where is my home directory?"  Second, even if Gnome went through all
> the effort of removing all references to home from all programs and all
> documentation, you'll never get home removed from all the programs and
> documentation that aren't Gnome.

So what? There are lots of tasks imaginable which require more than a
skin-deep knowledge of the inner workings of the system. Be it the
directory structure, be it package management... Apart from that, GNOME
doesn't claim to be consistent with "external packages" to begin with - it
can only strive to be a coherent desktop environment. That doesn't stand
in the way of choosing a terminology for certain concepts.

> Imagine a user calling tech support for some software.  Tech support
> needs to refer the user to some file in his home directory.  The user
> doesn't have any idea what this "home directory" is.

You've just given a very good argument for desktop == $HOME ;-)
But be realistic, the naming of some object on the screen really isn't
going to help solve the fundamental problem of user cluelessness for one
bit. (I'd even dare to say that 'personal folder' gives more clue to the
user as to the nature of what's in there than 'home directory'.)

> user out of a huge amount of information.  You can't possibly shield
> users from the home directory, so masking its existence will only hurt
> them in the long run.

A few years ago you would probably have said that you can't possibly
shield UNIX-users from the command line. Now we can. In a few years,
possibly sooner, we will be able to shield them from filesystem
intracacies as well.


Reinout van Schouwen			Artificial Intelligence student
email: reinout cs vu nl			mobile phone: +31-6-44360778

Softwarepatenten bedreigen Europa. Teken op!

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