[linux-elitists] Re: GNOME > you

Jeff Waugh jdub@perkypants.org
Sat Jan 3 09:49:05 PST 2004

<quote who="Jay Sulzberger">

> > Do you write novellas in your filenames? Like, seriously, what behaviour
> > are you trying to optimise for here?
> Here is part of the output of ls in the directory of root on this box:
>  diff.dist-upgrade.18-20.December.2003
>  dist-upgrade.21.November.2003

> Here is a clipping from xterm 3 on the screen before me right now:
>  jays@knoppix:~/ALKAN$ ls
>  op17_LePreux.mid           op31_16.mid          op39_06.mid

Surely your interaction model with these kinds of files is terminal-centric
to start with? Perhaps not the midi files, but I'm not sure why visibility
of the old name would assist you greatly when giving them sensible names (or
whatever you're trying to do with them).

Can you see that these kinds of interactions are not the sorts of things
we'd optimise for, particularly in the file manager? The file manager is not
there to fully replace what you do in a shell. Were you ever seriously
expecting to have a satisfying experience doing these kinds of things in a
file manager? Highly unlikely, and you're using shell examples to begin with
anyway. ;)

I find this happens a lot in "CLI vs. GUI" debates. The CLI person says,
"Aha, but how would you rename a lot of files all at once, eh?" [1] and the
GUI person says, "well, you couldn't". But what they really mean is, "well,
you generally wouldn't". And despite coming up with all kinds of reasons why
it would happen, it's really very true. You just don't find yourself in that
situation (usually). But where it does happen on *nix systems, you always
have a shell.

So, I think that in the vast majority of file rename interactions in
Nautilus, providing the complete filename, selected and ready to edit in
place - with its hint of direct-manipulation - is still the most usable
approach. Sure, an argument could be made for indirect manipulation through
a rename dialogue box, but... Well, we have already been through this:

  http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/hig/1.0/usabilityprinciples.html#enable-direct-manipulation (Which links to the User Input chapter, too.)

- Jeff

[1] Using this as an example, I know it's not what you were talking about.

Come to gnome.conf.au 2004!   http://www.gnome.org/~jdub/2004/gnome.conf.au/
   "Oh my god, if I get killed, Meryl Streep will get an award playing my
          life and I would be really pissed off." - Susan Sarandon

More information about the linux-elitists mailing list