Re: Structure in $HOME

On Mon, 2003-01-13 at 00:19, Seth Nickell wrote:
> > > I think this is based on a misconception... User's do not function best
> > > with a black box that has simple GUI interfaces to everything. This is a
> > > minimally useful interface. User's function best with an interface that
> > > helps them develop a Conceptual Model of the object they are trying to
> > > manipulate. This is much better served by an accessible filesystem than
> > > by a slew of specialized interfaces.
> > 
> > I have to bow to your superior usability knowledge here, but most
> > non-geek people I know use a computer by remembering where to change
> > things in the GUI.
> But I think that's precisely because that's the interface that Windows
> and GNOME/KDE/etc have been foisting on them. My whole point is that you
> see many Macintosh users able to do and understand these things in spite
> of the fact that many of them are much less computer indoctrinated than
> their Windows peers. (I should mention btw, that I'm not arguing that
> the Macintosh is right because its the Macintosh way, its merely a
> useful illustration of how this stuff plays out in the real world).
> Note, btw, that I'm not suggesting the primary interface to preferences
> be through the filesystem :-) And for example, it would be appropriate
> in the font selection preference page to have an "Open Font Folder"
> button (which GNOME does).

Agreed - or at least, agreed it's possible :-)

> > But they might learn that files can be saved by going
> > file->save, and loaded by going file->load, but they have no idea where
> > the files are being saved. When it comes to trying to copy these files
> > onto a floppy disk, they are stumped. Basically, I don't think a file
> > manager is the best way for a lot of people to use a computer.
> In Windows most people don't know anything about the filesystem
> precisely because in Windows the filesystem has not been made accessible
> or friendly to users. It is a complex nightmare filled with frightening
> things like "C:", "regedit32.dll". Microsoft has been improving lately
> (once again by making hacked out shortcuts and stuff, but it is
> improvement). Still, users have already been conditioned to avoid the
> filesystem like the plague.
> My claim is mostly that "intermediate" Macintosh users are able to
> accomplish much more than "intermediate" Windows users in a number of
> domains because of a filesystem structure choice. Certainely there are a
> great many users, even on Macintosh, who don't understand the idea of
> folders, where things are stored, etc. As far as they know the File Open
> dialogue is a simple list of all the available files on the system. But
> they probably aren't going to be considering copying files to a new
> computer (or installing fonts) anyway. However, if they were, I think
> the filesystem way would be easier to learn.

Is this OS X, or 9?

I agree with most of the points in here; of course we are stuck with
/proc, /dev, /lib (for non-programmers) and other evil top-level
directories as far as user friendliness goes.

Andrew Sobala <aes gnome org>

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