well-known user folders, a proposal

Alexander Larsson alexl at redhat.com
Thu Feb 22 06:55:18 PST 2007

On Thu, 2007-02-22 at 15:02 +0100, Benedikt Meurer wrote:
> Alexander Larsson wrote:
> >>> I'd like some feedback from the various desktop projects. Do you think
> >>> this is an important area to standardize? Does my approach make sense?
> >>> Is my code full of holes?
> >> I think it's necessary to standardize on this and on first sight your
> >> proposed solution makes sense. However, to avoid trouble, I'd strongly
> >> suggest to allow only UTF-8 filename encoding. I'd also suggest to use
> >> PICTURES instead of PHOTOS.
> > 
> > I dunno. People still use non-utf8 filenames. I agree that by default it
> > has to be utf8, and all translations and default config files should be
> > in utf8. But I see no harm in allowing you to specify some other
> > encoding, then we'd just convert to that before creating the directory.
> Applications will need to convert the file name to unicode first anyway
> (applies to both QT and GTK based desktops). Non-unicode filenames can
> cause trouble if the users environment is messed up and you're unable to
> display the filename properly (of course that's the users fault, but
> nevertheless stupid if it can be avoided). Forcing UTF-8 filenames here
> is the best option, IMHO.

Yes, filenames have to be converted to utf8 to be displayed. But many
people still use non-utf8 filenames, so apps/libs have code to convert
from the specified filename encoding (for instance G_FILENAME_ENCODING
in gtk+) to utf8. If we create utf8 filenames in a system using some
other filename encoding these will not display correctly (said
conversion will fail). How is this good?

> > I'm not sure we should standardize this. People might not handle it in
> > the same way. For instance, in Gnome it might be handled by adding an
> > emblem instead of using a particular icon. Desktops not using emblems
> > couldn't do that. Can't we leave this to implementations? (As in, it
> > doesn't really affect interoperability much.)
> It should be standardized, otherwise applications will display the user
> folders differently even within the same desktop session (i.e. Acrobat
> running in KDE or a KDE application running in Xfce/Gnome). Let the user
> decide whether to use special icons or just emblems (emblems can be
> handled via the emblem spec, so we're just talking about icons here).
> Maybe allow the user to specify DESKTOP_ICON, DOWNLOAD_ICON, etc. in the
> user dir conf. If empty or not present in the current icon theme, the
> default folder icon will be used.

gnome already have a way to set a custom icon for a file, I don't want
to add some special configuration where you can set a custom icon for
only some subset of files. If we really wanted we could come up with
default icon names for the standardized directories as part of the icon
naming spec and recommend desktops to use that. But I really don't think
this is all that important to standardize. A million other things than
the icon will look different between these apps anyway, and its unlikely
that apps like Acrobat will be looking for some special icon to use
anyway (whereas the filenames will "just work" for all apps).

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl at redhat.com    alla at lysator.liu.se 
He's a suave one-eyed werewolf with no name. She's a beautiful gypsy college 
professor trying to make a difference in a man's world. They fight crime! 

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