Re: Volume handling proposal

On Tuesday, September 16, 2003, at 09:40  am, Alexander Larsson wrote:

There are some issues we need to think about when we design out system:

On some systems we can detect when the user inserts a CD/DVD or even a
floppy, but Gnome in general cannot depend on this feature in order to
work. Therefore we must somehow allow you to access the device before
the volume is mounted, so that you can mount it using the user

Hmm. It is really a shame that this can't be detected everywhere. Certainly, on any system that supports it, this would be a good thing to use.

Its not always clear which local mounts (appart from removable media)
are supposed to be visible in the user interface. Nautilus currently
looks for user mountable mountpoints and exposes them as visible
volumes. This is right sometimes, and sometimes not, and when it fails
there is no way to fix it.

I would say that some sane default for the basic user could probably be decided upon, and then any others could be connected to by the user. If the user has any weird mount points they probably understand how to get to them.

Proposed Model

I've looked at what MacOS X, WinXP and KDE does, and this proposal is
sort of a mix of MacOS X and WinXP. The idea is to have only the most
used things on the desktop to avoid desktop clutter, but still have a
way to reach every interesting volume in a few clicks. There should
also be several ways to reach things without using the desktop icons.

Three new concepts are introduced:

First concept is a virtual location called "Computer", which is a
"root" of all the volumes in the system, much like "My Computer" in
WinXP and "Computer" in MacOSX.

This makes a lot of sense. I don't think it should be an icon on the desktop, but should be the "root" of the system anywhere a user can get to. In other words, even in the new file selector dialog, the "Computer" should be the root item. This is how it works in Mac OS and I think in Windows too. As much as possible the idea that "/" even exists should be hidden. At least in the spatial view anyway.

Second one is the MacOS X concept of connected network
volumes. You select "Connect to server" in a menu, and then using
either manual typing or a browser for some types of servers you select
a server and directory. This location is then saved between sessions
and easily accessible. This allows you to quickly access commonly used
shares, and is also a way to introduce a way to intelligently handle
non-discoverable network shares. At the very least you only have to
figure out/get told that strange ssh: uri once.

Rock on.

The tree sidebar will have roots for home, filesystem (/), and
the items on the desktop.

That makes sense for the Navigation tree view, but if you end up adding a "list view" like Mac OS has, to the spatial view, I would recommend against having any sort of path characters in it. Instead it would make more sense to have the "Computer" root be the top for the tree. And a multi-root tree is probably confusing then it needs to be for an average user anyway. Actually, I sort of think we should remove path characters and any notion of the filesystem working that way from all of GNOME, but that's for a different discussion.

I'm not sure what roots we want in the fileselector. At the minimum we
want the desktop ones, but do we want e.g. unmounted floppies/CDs there?

As above, for the average user the only root for the fileselector should probably be the "Computer" one. Unmounted floppies make sense to me, unmounted CDs don't, at least on any platform where we can reliably detect it.

What about printers etc? "Computer" is essentially only "filesystems
accessible on the computer" right now, but it *could* be extended to
be more like a "hardware connected to the computer", although that
makes network filesystems not fit in there as good, and introducing
non-files in the filesystem is dangerous as noted above.

The way Mac OS X handles printers is to simply autodetect as many as they can. Then they have a printcenter application that lets you configure options and set up undetected printers. This seems to make sense, I'm not sure you need a folder where the printers live.


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