[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Martin Pool mbp@samba.org
Mon Oct 6 19:11:15 PDT 2003

On  4 Oct 2003, "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> on Sat, Oct 04, 2003 at 01:58:37AM -0700, Jason Spence (jspence@lightconsulting.com) wrote:
> > On Sat, Oct 04, 2003 at 12:09:26AM +0100, Karsten M. Self wrote: 
> > > > On  2 Oct 2003, Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org> wrote:
> > > > 
> > >   - In Evolution 1.0.5, the "Summary Page" has a "My Weather" feature.
> > > 
> > >     First gripe:  I hate the "My Foo" school of attribute naming.  It's
> > >     either "Weather", or "System name" (my computer has a name, damnit).
> > >     "My Foo" is patronising to the extreme.  
> > 
> > I feel obligated to point out that this is how the ordinary users of
> > the world talked about different applications and such long before we
> > ever started seeing the "My Foo" names pop up everywhere.
> > 
> > Example:
> > 
> > User: "My computer is broken."
> Look, let's try to get this accross as succinctly as possible.
> When I'm making love to a woman, what I want to hear isn't "My Name",
> but *my* *name*.  And I certainly don't want some outfit tattoing "My
> Lover" across my forhead for her.

(This sounds better as Isaac Hayes.  Thankyou for livening up this
discussion. :-)

> You see the distinction?

I think I do[0].  The distinction is that you're a person, rather than
an inanimate object, and they are treated differently in English.
Many people consistently say "my car" rather than "car" or "JRH-301"
or (the slightly autistic) "Martin's car".  On the other hand, always
saying "my wife" rather than her name sounds a bit patronizing.

The rules for this are probably different in other languages, and
they're complicated by Unix systems having more salient and
anthropomorphic hostnames than on other systems.

In various places in software there is a naming pattern of "my
$widgets" referring to widgets specific to the subject, either the
current user or some other object.  I don't love it, but it's not a
terrible pattern.  At least it makes it clear how the widgets are
being selected.

Anyhow, I think this is more of a reasonable difference of opinion
than any kind of gnome conspiracy.  If you would like to get into
drafting some text on what naming patterns should be used I'm sure
they would welcome your thoughts.


[0] Though I don't understand where the tattoo concept comes in,
unless you're arguing that there should be no text names on computer

More information about the linux-elitists mailing list