RFC: An app category for "adult" material?

Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen mikkel.kamstrup at gmail.com
Thu Nov 3 01:15:12 PDT 2011

On 2 November 2011 13:19, Kevin Krammer <kevin.krammer at gmx.at> wrote:
> Hi,
> On Tuesday, 2011-11-01, Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen wrote:
>> Hi,
>> The latest tickets in what's been a recurring item for our application
>> search in Ubuntu is
>> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/883800. It
>> basically boils down to the fact that you may not want PornView (or
>> other adult apps) popping up as you type a search during a
>> presentation (or have your kids look at it for that matter).
>> I think that no one wants to get into censorship  - and there are many
>> ramifications of this problem. For example, it might not be
>> appropriate if bible-related apps show up while a rabbi is giving a
>> talk. Make up your own examples ad lib. This all get's really complex
>> really fast.
>> So keeping it to a problem that we can easily solve a user proposed
>> something that I also think the upstream app authors wouldn't mind:
>> Introducing a new XDG category "Adult". That way it is a sensible
>> upstream opt-in, and distros and app stores can handle it like they
>> see fit.
> I find this a rather problematic approach.
> First, as Joseph has already stated, "adult" is a rather vague concept,
> extremely based on cultural factors.

That is on purpose - exactly because I didn't want to get this too
much into theoretical discussions. The issue that has been raised in
bugs (and other forums) will be fixed by my proposal. I can certainly
imagine many other potential scenarios not covered by the proposal,
but since no one has raised them so far it amounts to solving
something that is a non-issue at this point.

> Second, it does not address the allegded use case of something not showing up
> in search at all. Searching for "view" would still match the program's name,
> now probably even labelled as "Adult".
> It would still be in the application launcher, likely even having a promiment
> spot of a labelled section.

Only in the most simple of implementations would it not fix the issue.
It's a simple matter to exclude search results from any given category
in the Unity apps lens for example. For apps that use .menu files to
list applications it is also very easy to exclude or special case
stuff in some given category.

> It seems to me that what you want instead is a way to make things not show up
> in certain places, something conceptually a lot more like DoNotShowIn, e.g.
> not show in search, not show in history, not show in command completion.

Yes. And an Adult category can do exactly that :-)

> As for the "OMG, think of the children" problem, concerned parents should
> rather control which software they have installed on the computer accessible
> by their offspring, or even do white listing based on actually checking whether
> something is appropriate.

Firstly - the "OMG, think of the children"-problem is only secondary
to me here. That said - do you want all parents go through the
thousands of apps and whitelist them individually? I assume you didn't
mean that :-)

If you meant to have some sort of "rating" system that would help
parent quickly check off a few boxes then sure, that might be cool,
but also a big task to get in place. And a big task is what I wanted
to avoid in the first cut; we can easily get a "good enough" solution
out there by just adding one new category to the spec and patching a
handful apps (if it's even that many).


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