Benjamin Rich at
Thu Apr 6 03:51:49 EEST 2006


I propose an idea about arranging a user's files. First, a little background.

Why is it that in Windows/KDE/GNOME/MacOSX etc. there are two
directories for user information - the user's home area (or My
Documents, etc.) and the Desktop?

The separation seems to be historical. Windows has the desktop as an
area for application shortcuts, while the documents & settings/home
area was recently invented as a place to store personal files on a
multi-user system (windows has only been multi-user since 2000,
remember). But Windows also allows and has allowed the savings of
files and programs to the desktop, thus confusing the issue. The
desktop used to be once place on a single-user system - other files
could be arranged in directories in the system root. But now with the
compartmentalisation of desktop into a user's home area inside of
documents & settings etc. etc., things get stupidly complex. Introduce
the concepts of having application links in the start menu and the
quicklaunch bar, and suddenly it starts to get very ambiguous and

The Linux desktops seemed to follow on from this idea because it was
established convention. Anything including files and app launchers
could be placed on the desktop. Originally it would seem, Desktop was
made a separate directory in the user's home area because early
implementations of the 'Computer' icon or 'Network' icon were actual
modified launcher files, not as they are today, invisible objects
which nautilus/kde/etc. place on the desktop field dynamically. So, in
order to not clutter a user's content with meta-icon-launchers and
other fluff, there was a line drawn.

But we are still left with this pointless separation. Why not have one
place only for applications, and one place for a user's files?
Applications launched only from a bar, or a menu; and files in the
user's home area displayed on the desktop?

What is the point of saving files to the desktop so they're easily
accessible; but then having to move them into the home directory? 2x
organisation for the user, wasting time they could be spending
actually using their files.

Why have application launchers on the desktop? Once you've launched an
app, it takes up the screen, and the desktop is obscured so you can't
launch any others. Isn't this why panels and the 'quick launch' bar in
windows, and so forth, were invented? Look at the simplicity of the
Mac OSX dock, I say.

Many users don't understand the separation of desktop and home area,
and many windows users save their recent files to the desktop,
creating a massively cluttered space. Why not organise this space
using meta-data, or an even more interesting paradigm presented here:

This allows a home users to see all the things they need to, always.
No more ferreting around in directory heirarchies, exposed to the
meaingless structure of the internal system - just all their stuff,
right there, on the desktop.

So in short, I move to create a standard which:
-makes all content in /home/user available on user's desktop space
-does not allow app launchers on the desktop
-removes the /home/user/Desktop directory, because it is no longer needed

Please give me your suggestions and ideas.


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