Re: [Proposal] Remove some stuff from Application menu

On Fri, 2003-07-04 at 12:06, Reinout van Schouwen wrote:
> 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
> derivatives.
> 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.

Thanks for the info.  I'll admit I don't know the issues presented by
different languages.  Concrete examples like this are helpful.

Note that the 'Home' icon in Yelp is (IMO) just silly.  There's some
discussion concerning this on bug #91610.

The house seems like a very poor metaphor in light of l10n issues, but
I'm at a loss to suggest anything better.

> > 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).

Well, yes.  That's pretty much what I was saying.  Those of us who use
Unix and GNU/Linux in a corporate environment do share files with other
users quite often.  Never do anything that betrays the multi-user nature
of the system.  (I'm not saying 'Personal Files' necessarily does.  I'm
just repeating one of my mantras.)

> > 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.

Heh.  Read my email and count how many times I said folder.  I didn't
use directory in some deliberate attempt to be Unixy.  It's just the
term I'm more familiar with.  Despite the choice of Gnome to use folder,
lots of people still run around saying directory.  The results is that
users basically have to know that folder == directory, which I think
most do.

Is that a bad thing?  Probably not.  Humans are good with synonyms. 
However, I think a similar situation would arise by using 'Personal
Files'.  Users will come across the term 'home directory', and they'll
have to learn that it's the 'Personal Files' folder.  This probably
isn't too hard on the user, but it rather negates the whole point of
using 'Personal Files' to begin with.

> > "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.

Consistent, no.  But it should be usable with non-Gnome stuff.  Gnome
does claim to be a desktop for Unix-like operating systems.  It should
certainly work with non-Gnome stuff.  All right, calling it 'Personal
Files' isn't going to cause any Motif apps to core dump.  But it just
seems like such an arbitrary change that's guaranteed to make other
programs feel even more out of place.

Also, non-Gnome programs account for a huge number of programs.  Even on
a typical Gnome desktop, a lot of programs (though less so these days)
are just GTK+ programs, which happen to work fairly well under Gnome. 
One thing Gnome has done fairly well is separating the components of the
system, giving (advanced) users and vendors choice.  I don't have to run
Metacity; I can run Sawfish.  I don't have to run Nautilus; I can run

Introducing different terminology creates a sort of conceptual barrier
to this.  I'm not saying we should never change terminology.  But using
a different word than something commonly-accepted in Unix-land should
always be met with resistance.  That way, only the really necessary
changes make it through.  I'm doing my civic duty and providing the
resistance to this one.  ;)

Metacity, for instance, changed 'Shade' to 'Roll Up'.  We all survived
the terminology change, although I still call it shading.  However, I
would say that 'home directory' is a bit more fundamental and pervasive
than 'shade'.

You mentioned Gnome not being consistent with non-Gnome applications. 
And I agree in general.  But Gnome should certainly be consistent with
itself, all the way through.  Is the System Administrator's Guide going
to talk about users' Personal Files folders?  I think it would be silly
if it did, but inconsistent if it didn't.

> > 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'.)

I don't see how that's an argument for desktop == $HOME.  I call tech
support for some Unixy program (written in, let's say, Motif).  The tech
support guy says home directory.  If I have 'Personal Files', I don't
know where my home directory is.  If I have desktop == $HOME, I don't
know where my home directory is.  (Sure, it's right in front of me, but
do I know that?)  But if my desktop says "shaunm's Home", I can probably
figure out where my home directory is, unless I'm really not too bright.

> > 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.

Let's not get too proud just yet.  As someone who frequently answers
questions and fixes problems on, I assure you we have
not shielded users from the command line.

And I guess I still don't see how this is shielding anybody from
anything.  As a user, what complexity have you saved me from?  The
complexity of this directory being called my home?  That doesn't seem
difficult to me.  In fact, thanks to web browsers, that term is very
likely to be recognized by a lot of people.


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