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SourceForge: Abstracting the Linux Desktop from the File-system

Nov 28, 2002, 01:00 (38 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark Finlay)


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"One of the most intimidating things to new users about Linux is the layout of the file-system. Users who are learning to hack Linux have to just clench their teeth and learn their way around, but what about a user who just wants to send e-mails, browse the web and type up a few documents? ie. ninety-something percent of computer users. Do they need to know the difference between /var, /usr and /tmp to send an e-mail? Do they need to know that their home directory is in /home/{username}? Do they need to know that their cdrom is mounted in /mnt?

"Do you ever hear complaints from OsX users about the OsX file-system? Is the OsX file-system any more intuitive than the Linux one? Do you even know anything about the OsX file-system? Will you ever know anything about the OsX file-system? Probably not. Microsoft have added the My Documents Folder to Windows... Apple have abstracted the desktop from the file-system in OsX... Which OS is acclaimed for being intuitive and easy to use?

"Advanced users might want to install some software that they've downloaded from the net, do some website development, maybe even some software development. But when you think about it, the majority of desktop computing tasks, whether simple or advanced, can be performed without any mention of /usr, /var or /home. I'm not saying it's not good for people to learn about how Linux works under the hood. I'm saying that they should have to make a conscious decision and go look under the hood if they want to learn. There should not be bits of engine sticking out of the dash of the car. I.e, there should be a clear line drawn between the desktop and the file-system..."

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