mime-type icons, a proposal

Rob Lanphier robla at real.com
Sat Oct 2 07:41:52 EEST 2004

On Fri, 1 Oct 2004 22:23:41 +0000, Frans Englich
<frans.englich at telia.com> wrote:
> Mac OS X and GNOME[1] are heavily document oriented with functional approach.
> Windows has its usual lack of personality, and heavy commercial orientation.
> From following the discussion around the GNOME menu a couple of months ago,
> this is the last thing they would implement(AFAICT). It could be spec'ed, but
> I wonder who would implement it.
> This is about branding. We could gather together a bunch of major companies,
> and ask what they honestly think is best -- for everyone -- regarding
> software patents, EULAs, open source/proprietary, etc, and we know what they
> would answer. I think we simply need to hold our grounds. Or that someone
> thoroughly explains why the application oriented approach is better or could
> be relevant(from the User's perspective).

I think we can agree that something deterministic and simple is a Good
Thing (tm).  I agree that this should be user driven, and not all
about vendors.  I work for an ISV, but I also have to deal with the
consequences of these decisions as a user (both at work and at home),
and so I can see both sides of this issue.

This is partly a matter of choosing your battles.  Every one of the
things you mention above (patents, EULAs, open source vs proprietary)
are far bigger and more important issues than this one is.  Firstly,
because even if your nightmare scenario of things becoming just like
Windows in this respect is not nearly as bad as losing any of the
other battles.  Secondly, because in one of the ideals you are holding
up (Mac OS X), Ryan *demonstrated* that they are more app-centric than
you are giving them credit for, and the platform is still
aesthetically just fine.

App-centric vs. document-centric is a spectrum, and "just right" is
probably somewhere in the middle rather than either end.  On an
intellectual level, people only care about their task, and not the
tool.  On an emotional level, people are very, very fussy about their
tools, no matter how technical.   The debate could be about vi vs
emacs, KDE vs GNOME, Mac vs Windows vs Linux, or it could be Ford vs
Toyota vs Volvo.  You may make it slightly easier for someone in their
very first few weeks of using Linux to be very document centric, but
they'll quickly start caring about whether Abiword, KWord or
OpenOffice launches when they double click on a .doc file, and will
appreciate having a visual cue to remind them they should right click
on the file to pick a different app if they don't want the default for
some reason (and perhaps as a cue to figure out how to change the

Ryan happens to be a very contentious person who is trying to work
with the community to establish clear and fair rules of the road, and
is asking "hey, what are the rules here, so we can make sure we follow
them?".  The response seems to be "there shouldn't be a road here. 
Roads are stupid".  It'd be a bummer if that's the attitude, because
as more apps get out there, and more non-technical,
non-community-oriented users come to Linux, the next wave of
developers may not be so polite, and I think this group will regret
not establishing good rules up front.

Rob Lanphier, Development Support Manager - RealNetworks
Helix Community: http://helixcommunity.org 
Development Support:

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