Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Apr 2008 21:38 UTC, submitted by kiddo
Graphics, User Interfaces The trash can metaphor in computing is as old as the desktop metaphor itself. It was first introduced with the Apple Lisa user interface, and found its way to the Macintosh. Apple patented the whole idea, and sued anyone who tried to use the same name, resulting in other user interfaces implementing the exact same principle but just named differently. Despite its old age, and the fact it barely changed over the decades, many people have issues with the traditional concept.
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My comment
by Punktyras on Mon 28th Apr 2008 22:31 UTC
Member since:

It seems to me someone has too mach free time:)
Sure it wouldn't be too complicated to create icon, showing Trash Bin's filling percentage. But something tells me, simply there's no way to satisfy you.
If your behaviour is compulsive, contact psychiatrist.

Reply Score: 10

RE: My comment
by kiddo on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:03 UTC in reply to "My comment"
kiddo Member since:

It is not really an OCD. I wrote that in my rant, and well, I was being funny. I was exaggerating the fact that we nowadays mostly empty a virtual trash can on reflexes, and that it made little sense.

About the psychiatrist thing... Well I'm actually a psychology undergrad ;)

About the "too much free time thing"... well if you add all the microseconds I now save by not emptying the trash (or thinking about it), I'm sure I am now on a positive balance! As I said in my rant, it feels very zen not to have a trash can on the panel or the desktop anymore (I did remove it from my GNOME desktops).

Indeed, the timemachine concept somewhat obsoletes the trash. There are some very few occasions where you really need to empty it by hand though (if you want to clear gigabytes of space, or launch an rsync backup for example).

Reply Score: 2

by Square on Mon 28th Apr 2008 22:31 UTC
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The idea of the trash needs to evolve.
For starters nothing should truly be deleted until the hard drive runs low on space. Hard drives are large and cheap enough now that there is little reason beyond security to erase files

Yes Stuff should be deleted from user space when they click delete. But instead of simply moving the file to a trash folder it just renames it and marks its attributes as "deleted" then removes it from user space so the user cant see it.

If the user needs to restore a file or erase something for security reasons then a system utility would be used

When the hard drive starts running low on space then older "deleted" files get automatically erased by the OS

Reply Score: 8

RE: Evolve
by SEJeff on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:04 UTC in reply to "Evolve"
SEJeff Member since:

New and upcoming COW (copy on write) filesystems such as btrfs[1] will more or less give you this for free. The problem with never deleting files lies around fragementation.

Until COW filesystems become more mainstream, your idea can't be a reality.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Evolve
by apoclypse on Tue 29th Apr 2008 02:13 UTC in reply to "Evolve"
apoclypse Member since:

Isn't that the way things work now? All your system is really doing when you delete files is telling the file that it can be overwritten in need be. On a windows system most of the time the files are strung all over the place so you have a good chance recovering them anytime you want. What the trash can does is basically tell the file that it shouldn't be deleted or overwritten. Clearing the trash flags all the files so that they can be overwritten. I usually keep things in trash for months and take things out sometimes if I need too. Its a great concept and I really couldn't live without it. However, sometimes you really need something completely deleted on your system and having a neverending trash can is kind of pointless.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Evolve
by Square on Tue 29th Apr 2008 02:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Evolve"
Square Member since:

Well filesystems kinda work that way, however you can't count on recovery do to the randomness of when it might overwrite a deleted file. My idea is to basically remove that randomness and to only overwrite when it has to and starting with the olderfiles

Also if you really really need to delete something do to security you need a method of scrubbing the file of data that emptying the trashcan just doesn't do

Reply Score: 1

RE: Evolve
by Almafeta on Tue 29th Apr 2008 03:32 UTC in reply to "Evolve"
Almafeta Member since:

Hard drives are large and cheap enough now that there is little reason beyond security to erase files

Which is plenty of reason enough to delete files.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Evolve
by renox on Tue 29th Apr 2008 05:36 UTC in reply to "Evolve"
renox Member since:

Agreed, but there is one issue: how are you going to explain to your grannie that they can undelete their file?

My idea would be to keep the trash, but instead of having two icons trash full/trash empty, have just one trash icon and remove the oldest content of the trash when the disk usage becomes too big.

Reply Score: 2

Time Machine
by Alex Forster on Mon 28th Apr 2008 22:33 UTC
Alex Forster
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If you think about it, Apple's Time Machine obsoletes the trash can. Past files are available for as long as there is enough space to keep them, and are removed intelligently when there isn't. With revisioning, there's simply no need need for one central file "purgatory."

Reply Score: 11

A simple fix
by Captain_DaFt on Mon 28th Apr 2008 22:39 UTC
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Just remove the trashcan icon from the screen!

I know it can be done in Windows, and most linux desktops(Not too sure about Gnome), surely it can't be that hard in OSX?

Reply Score: 1

RE: A simple fix
by 6c1452 on Mon 28th Apr 2008 22:51 UTC in reply to "A simple fix"
6c1452 Member since:

In gnome the trash can is just a deskbar applet - real easy to remove.

Nautilus also includes two checkboxes that I like - "Include a delete command that bypasses the trash" and "warn before emptying the trash or deleting files". The first one gets checked, the second one gets unchecked. No more problem.

Of course, you have to have backups. Everybody keeps backups, right?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: A simple fix
by Anonymous Penguin on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:35 UTC in reply to "RE: A simple fix"
Anonymous Penguin Member since:

KDE has something almost identical:

"Show "Delete" context menu entries which bypass the trashcan"

"Ask confirmation for
Move to trash

Personally I use "delete" almost all the time.

Reply Score: 2

RE: A simple fix
by kiddo on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:23 UTC in reply to "A simple fix"
kiddo Member since:

Ah, you surely have not read The Fine Article/Rant ;)

this is not about getting the trash out of your view. It is about not having to manage it (empty it by hand) unless it's an exceptional case.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: A simple fix
by Captain_DaFt on Wed 30th Apr 2008 00:53 UTC in reply to "RE: A simple fix"
Captain_DaFt Member since:

"Ah, you surely have not read The Fine Article/Rant ;) "
Yes, I read it. ;) But this quote:
"Every now and then, I delete a file. I drag it to the trash icon, press delete, whatever; it ends up in the trash. The icon now changes to its "full" state - which triggers some of my obsessive compulsive neurones to fire like crazy, almost forcing me to empty the trash can.", would indicate that the "Full" trash can icon is what's really irritating him.
So, remove the icon, and just either check the Delete folder periodically, or set up a script to empty it every couple of weeks or so would seem to be a viable solution.

Reply Score: 1

Its obvious
by Angel Blue01 on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:08 UTC
Angel Blue01
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Yes! its perfectly obvious, the system should have a limit to long the files stay there -you suggested 24 hours I would make it like 2 months. I'm constantly encountering users who think that sending a file to the Recycle Bin will eventually delete it.

Reply Score: 1

Trash Can icon not becoming fullfilled
by Tanner on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:09 UTC
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Just make the trash can icon STATIC...

eg. not changing empty<>full but always empty even if it contains deleted stuff.

Then, the Basket can inform you when there is too much garbage inside the trash can... and you can leave free your obsession to empty that can.

Reply Score: 2

looncraz Member since:

Personally, I'd set a global Trash can size limiter ( ala Windows ), THEN, I would only fill the trash can icon gradually as it begins to become more and more full.

The problem is not the concept or implementation, it is the presentation of the icon.

I, too, find myself deleting a file, then hiding every window then emptying the Trash - or otherwise bypassing then Trash completely if I'm certain I won't need the file any longer.

The only thing that causes me to empty the Trash so often is the appearance that it is "over-flowing." I can handle it when there are only one or two pieces of Trash, but when it gets closer to the top.. well.. OUT YA GO!

Another item of frustration is organization of the Trash's contents when possibly trying to find something which is within.

In this case, sorting by name or date is useless, by type has some value, by date deleted even more, but if you REALLY want do the Trash right.. well... I'd hate to give away the solution which will be employed in my "Loon-Tracker" ( for Haiku R1 / BeOS R5-Dano ).

--The loon

Reply Score: 1

I'm really smart! ;)
by Tanner on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:14 UTC
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In fact, your compulsion is given by the idea that "IF THE ICON REPRESENTS A FULL TRASH CAN, IT IS SURELY FULL OF GARBAGE" which isnt correct by a psycological point of view.

The trash can is FULL only when the garbage reaches the limit. So, desktop enviroment programmers like those from GNOME should script the Trash Can to draw its icon full only when really full.

Really full = too many little files OR few files but too big.


Edited 2008-04-28 23:16 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: I'm really smart! ;)
by timefortea on Tue 29th Apr 2008 13:15 UTC in reply to "I'm really smart! ;)"
timefortea Member since:

Good idea, it should only show full when it is actually full. I like the idea of automatically removing files that have been there more than a specified length of time though, a bit like having the trash man come round and empty it regularly ;) I suppose 'auto pruning' could be enabled/disabled and its frequency configured to suit each user.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by zizban
by zizban on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:21 UTC
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many people have issues with the traditional concept.

Really? I never give it a second thought.

Reply Score: 6

Comment by mzilikazi
by mzilikazi on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:28 UTC
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Trash can? You mean you don't use rm? Drag & drop, right click, Empty trash, Are you sure? OMG.....I've got better things to do..

Reply Score: 2

Black Hole
by lunarcloud on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:40 UTC
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So lovely KDE has pure delete, okay. you hold down shift and delete changes function... but not yet does it look different.

Why don't we take this a step further (and on all desktops) and have the trash can turn into an obvious black hole when you hold down shift (except on mac, where it'd be option)?

Reply Score: 2

my usage
by Lion on Mon 28th Apr 2008 23:45 UTC
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In windows it's easy to avoid the compulsion. turn off recycle bin display entirely.
The recycle bin can still fill up, and is able to be accessed from the "My Computer" view.

Personally I set to delete instantly anyway, but with confirmation.
I wish OSX offered the same option.
Removing the trashcan from the OSX dock would also remove my usual method of ejecting/unmounting disks/images. so that's not an option there, sadly.

Reply Score: 3

RE: my usage
by vimh on Tue 29th Apr 2008 16:19 UTC in reply to "my usage"
vimh Member since:

That's what I do on my Windows machines. I turn off the 'recycle bin' functionality. I delete, it's gone.

I was recently given a shiny new mac mini. The trash can is an annoyance, like it always has been on Windows. I have other methods of data retrieval should I delete the wrong thing.

I also don't like the concept of un-mounting something by throwing it in the trash. It goes against common sense. The trash can is where I want to put something I don't want any more. Not where I put media I want to remove from my system but will use later.

Reply Score: 2

by HappyGod on Tue 29th Apr 2008 00:20 UTC
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I hate a full trash! I'm also a compulsive trash emptier.

It's actually more of a problem on other people's computers as I instinctively empty their trash and end up apologising!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Agree!
by rhavenn on Tue 29th Apr 2008 00:37 UTC in reply to "Agree!"
rhavenn Member since:

Yeah. I've met more then one person who stores files in the "recycle bin" and expects them to stay there and hence, i've done a few disk restores for people as well after emptying it for them. Same goes for the "deleted items" folder in Outlook. If you want to keep it why is is it in the trash???

Reply Score: 4

RE: Agree!
by sc3252 on Tue 29th Apr 2008 01:10 UTC in reply to "Agree!"
sc3252 Member since:

I seriously need to bring one of you guys to my work, so you can clean out my desk. I have so much paper work piled on top of each other that people at work make comments about my desk when they walk by.

Reply Score: 1

Trash File Recovery is a Filesystem Issue
by segedunum on Tue 29th Apr 2008 01:11 UTC
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The icon now changes to its "full" state - which triggers some of my obsessive compulsive neurones to fire like crazy, almost forcing me to empty the trash can.

Thank goodness it isn't just me. I thought I was turning into Monica from Friends or something.

The trash/recycle bin or call it whatever you want is another one of those daft desktop metaphors we have inherited from the Apple world that tries to dress something up into something that it isn't. Recovering files is a filesystem issue, not a desktop one, and having a trash can is ultimately useless. Once you've deleted a file then it should be fully deleted, and if you want to recover a file then your next port of call should be the undelete facility (hopefully with a decent desktop front-end) you will find in just about any filesystem. The only issue here is if you come back after several days or weeks hoping to find a file that will have long since been overwritten, but then, few people keep files languishing around in their trash/recycle bin for days and weeks on end, so you're left with the same problem.

This presents a technical problem for Linux desktops because they can run on top of many different filesystems, and it also requires a filesystem and a desktop to work closer together. However, that is neither here nor there to an end user. It also presents an issue for any filesystem, as the way this should work is that the oldest deleted files have their space overwritten first.

The whole trick with a trash or 'undelete' facility to recover files, as has been hinted at, is that the user doesn't get to see it directly. They must believe that the file has been deleted ;-), and there's no used space for them to want to 'free up'. Beyond that, their next port of call is a backup system.

Edited 2008-04-29 01:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

MamiyaOtaru Member since:

You're not alone. I too have to empty the trash as soon as there is something in it. And so, I always use shift delete. Like the author says though, thats not entirely safe. Ive been lucky though. It's got me in trouble exactly once, where I lost a file that I wasn't able to replace until three years later.

Speaking of OCD, I'm not but the tendencies are there. When I drink from a drinking fountain, the number of sips has to be a power of two. 8 is good, 16 if I'm really thirsty but I have to stop there because 32 would just be too much. I could take 7 sips if I wanted to though, really!

Reply Score: 2

Embrace the Felatious Metaphor
by RGCook on Tue 29th Apr 2008 01:18 UTC
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I have a solution to the compulsive need to keep the trash/recycle bin empty. Simply remove it from the desktop and label the new, unseen feature "Landfill". Let's face it, nobody wants the landfill in their back yard, and yet, no matter what, ultimately, everything you toss ends up there.

So landfill is basically a less elegant implementation of Time Machine, as it should be for Windows/Linux OS's after all.

Reply Score: 2

by Minuous on Tue 29th Apr 2008 01:35 UTC
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The author is clearly a fool.

"Apple patented the whole idea, and sued anyone who tried to use the same name"

The Trashcan has been used on the Amiga since 1985, and has always been called the Trashcan. So the above statement is wrong.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Wrong
by apoclypse on Tue 29th Apr 2008 02:15 UTC in reply to "Wrong"
apoclypse Member since:

Didn't the Lisa come out it in like 1983 or something.

Reply Score: 5

Trash %
by SoloDeveloper on Tue 29th Apr 2008 02:17 UTC
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So there needs to be a way to measure the amount of space available for the trash VS how much is actually in use, then have the trash can fill up gradually, say, like, a REAL trash can?

So that way, you can see a trash can with only a small bit full, or half-way, and you can ignore it safely, until it comes up to being overflowing, then you have to empty it.

(Using the idea behind the Kitchen Trashcan here, bear with me)

So therefor, we can safely ignore x% of the graphical representation of the virtual trash with a normal human like behavior?

so, in essence, we either ignore the stuff and let it flow, or we go OCD and keep it clean and tidy.

wow, what a decision.

this almost makes me want to make a windows app to do exactly as i said, just to see how much people will use it... (let me know if anyone is actually interested in this idea, ok?)

thank god when in linux, i have the menu "delete", aka, "bypass trash and do a full delete" menu option enabled. that way i dont have to worry about the trash can.

not like as if i have one on my gnome desktop anyway, i de-activated it's icon.

Reply Score: 1

Member since:

I am not sure about how the trash can worked in the Apple Lisa, but there was a change to the way the trash can worked in the Macintosh in the late '80s. That changed behavior was in some aspects for the worse, and most other systems copy the newer behavior.

In the original Macintosh desktop, the trash emptied automatically at the launch of the next application. If you wanted to delete a file you dragged it into the trash. It was available for undelete for a certain amount of time, but then eventually the system deleted the file for real. Its was similar to the trash can in my real life office desk. If I throw something out by accident I can pull it back out for some period of time (unless the cold, half empty coffee cup tips over and spills over it, but lets ignore that issue.) but eventually the cleaning crew comes by and empties the trash and its gone for good.

When Apple introduced MultiFinder's co-operative multitasking to their system, the concept of "at the next application launch" became a little fuzzier, and they fixed ambiguity by removing the auto-emptying feature entirely.

The user used to have to start doing something that the system used to take care of on its own, and that usually isn't the direction things should go. (again in a real life analogy; one time when I was working at a startup, money started to run short. One of the cost saving measures was to fire the cleaning crew. I should have known then that things were heading in the wrong direction.)

Maybe a roughly analogous method for modern systems would be to have the trash emptied at log out, at wake from sleep, and at screen unlock time.

Reply Score: 2

Create a "PreTrash" Folder
by James99 on Tue 29th Apr 2008 03:12 UTC
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> The icon now changes to its "full" state...
> almost forcing me to empty the trash can

Here's a low-tech idea:

1. Create a folder on your Desktop called "PreTrash" (or whatever) and put all your trash there. (If you wish, also put an alias to PreTrash in your Dock or Sidebar for convenience.)

2. Once a day, open PreTrash and drag its files into the trash can and empty it immediately.

This method doesn't save steps, but it removes the visual annoyance you're having when you see a "full trash" icon.


Reply Score: 1

by izomiac on Tue 29th Apr 2008 05:07 UTC
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Since hard drive space is cheap, there are only two reasons that I delete something. Either it's taking up more space than it's worth, or it's useless to me. For that reason, I've never liked the Trash Can, and tend to Shift-Delete everything. Since I do make mistakes occasionally, I am trying to break that habit. Now I just have a perl script to delete files in the trash after they're 5 - 10 minutes old. (Unfortunately, I did make the mistake of letting it follow symlinks to system directories, ouch...)

Something I've always wondered, why not replace the trash can with a simple undelete utility? I.e. you can't empty the trash since everything has already been deleted. Much like a real trash can, there isn't a guarantee that something in the trash is 100% recoverable, but if it was deleted in the last 5 minutes it probably is. The added benefit to this approach would be to remind people that files are somewhat recoverable after deletion (i.e. use secure deletion for confidential stuff).

Reply Score: 1

New features
by IvoLimmen on Tue 29th Apr 2008 05:25 UTC
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I think the trash-can will automatically evolve (like others suggested).
In the future, when your trash can is filled with ten items, a small truck will retrieve the trash and bring it to the garbage dump.
How long it stays in the garbage dump is uncertain, I do know however that lost files in the garbage dump are difficult to find.

Reply Score: 1

Just a thought
by Buck on Tue 29th Apr 2008 05:39 UTC
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I remember how in an original Macintosh they had a Trash that when filled showed flies buzzing around. We could use the same concept today - instead of showing percentage bars (percentage of what anyway?) or half-full trash, there could be an effect, not unlike a jumping icon in a Finder's dock, that shows something animated being done near the trash. Yeah, like the flies. It's cute, it's not distractive and you don't have to calculate percentages.

Reply Score: 2

by Googol on Tue 29th Apr 2008 05:44 UTC
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... an article which I don't need to read in order to form an opinion on - how can you have "issues" with the concept of deleting files and calling them trash? As has been pointed out already, someone must have too much time on their hands ;)

Reply Score: 1

see a shrink please
by xushi on Tue 29th Apr 2008 05:59 UTC
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I believe such people with psychological or mental problems should contact their psychiatrists or psychologists and stop pestering the rest of us who actually use the trashcan properly and as it's supposed to be used.. Just because they have problems doesn't mean that the rest of us do and want something working to change...

That said, I wonder how useful the trashcan is now with the introduction of the Time Machine.

Reply Score: 1

Automatic Backup
by Lu-Tze on Tue 29th Apr 2008 06:32 UTC
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I always Shift-delete in Vista. And with Vista's automatic versioned backups, I haven't lost anything as yet. I feel the next step in the evolution is to leave the trash symbol unchanged when you delete a file, and the deleted version of the file can be added to the backup archive - and after a finite period of time, that can be deleted. So the trash always appears empty. When you open it, it can offer the option of recovering recently deleted files from the backup.

Might be a bit of a pain for stuff you delete from your porn collection but shift-delete could be made to do a complete erase (including backups).

Reply Score: 1

trash can - useless and drives to negligence
by l3v1 on Tue 29th Apr 2008 06:35 UTC
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Well, well, the good old trash can story. In my world, the trash can is a stupid idea. Why ? If you need something, don't delete it, if you have the tiniest hunch that one day you'll might need it then store it, backup it, save it for later days, and after backup, if there's no immediate need for it, then you might think about deletion. Hard drives are cheap, dvds are cheap. In my book there's no such thing as accidental deletion, there's only carelessness and stupidity. Hit me if you wish, I can take the punch.

I never used the trash/recycle bin/whatever, I always disable it if possible. I never in my life have lost or deleted anything I later wished I didn't. It's not a big deal actually to get used to think twice about your files. I managed to drive my non-techie sister to behave by this rule and since her 9+ years of computer use she never ever complained about deleting something "accidentally". Although I'm managing her backups, still, it's working.

In my profession it's imperative that I don't loose my files and data [research results, sometimes data coming from really long work, articles, and so on] yet I still need to find any real use for that trash/recycle bin thing. Oh, and "managing" the trash can, well, I find that whole concept a waste of time and resources.

Reply Score: 4

mono Member since:

I fully agree with you. I always disable the Trash can (it's possible on Mac OS X as well with a little trick - make the trash point to /dev/null).

I think the problem comes from the idea that the desktop metaphore must be similiar to real life examples: The Trash can must be there to trash your stuff. But imho the computer interfaces are already too abstract. Creating analogies just makes it more confusing. Users already learnt a lot of abstract stuff from the graphical interfaces.
Anyway.. in real life you put something into the trash because you don't need it (there has to be an object where you collect your garbage because you can't delete it / you can't make it disappear and it's a really big problem in the world because there are too much garbage) - and there is an option that you can take it back but it's not really common - at least in my life.
In the graphical user interface it's totally different. I'm sure MOST users delete those files they don't need at all. If the Trash can was really Apple's idea then it was a very big mistake. People got used to it and it will be very hard to break this habit.

Reply Score: 2

not like before
by siraf72 on Tue 29th Apr 2008 09:11 UTC
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I guess this is a personal thing. I do not have this problem. I delete things and then usually every couple of days quickly review the content of the trash can and then empty it.

However, in pre OS X systems the trash can looked like it was going to explode when you put something in it. That did kind of make it feel like it was imperative to empty it in the interest of personal safety.

Edited 2008-04-29 09:14 UTC

Reply Score: 1

by giddie on Tue 29th Apr 2008 09:23 UTC
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Thom, I'm sure you remember the old Amstrad running CP/M and Locomotive? I actually prefer the Locomotive concept of "Limbo" to the Trash Can idea. It seems as though things are moving back in that direction nowadays, what with Time Machine, and I'm sure Nepomuk will bring something similar along before long.

For those that are not familiar with Limbo:

Reply Score: 1

on your desk?
by PipoDeClown on Tue 29th Apr 2008 10:10 UTC
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Only a fool puts his garbagebin on top of his workspace unless ur workspace is on the floor, but at least its not an integrated part of ur workspace.

Under my real-world-desk is a trashbin and a shredder. The shredder immediately destroys the things i put in. If needed i empty the trashbin over the floor to search for something i accidently put in there.

And the funny thing on Windows (tm) is dat even the Recycle Bin is represented on the filesystem as a folder where graphical deleted stuff goes in, there is no native basic command available to control this folder from the commandline nor a switche for the delete command to move the files to that folder instead of really deleting it.

Edited 2008-04-29 10:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: on your desk?
by mono on Tue 29th Apr 2008 11:26 UTC in reply to "on your desk?"
mono Member since:

"Only a fool puts his garbagebin on top of his workspace unless ur workspace is on the floor, but at least its not an integrated part of ur workspace.
Under my real-world-desk is a trashbin and a shredder. The shredder immediately destroys the things i put in. If needed i empty the trashbin over the floor to search for something i accidently put in there."

And that's where you fail. There's no floor in graphical user interfaces so it's not possible to put the "garbagebin" there. And thanks god there's no annoying Dock in real life. It's totally pointless to find analogies in the GUI vs real life debate. They are completely different dimensions.

"And the funny thing on Windows (tm) is dat even the Recycle Bin is represented on the filesystem as a folder where graphical deleted stuff goes in, there is no native basic command available to control this folder from the commandline nor a switche for the delete command to move the files to that folder instead of really deleting it."

I don't get what you mean. The Recycler folder is as hidden as the .Trashes folder in OS X by default which is really a simple folder.
In Windows there's a command called cleanmgr which can empty the trash. However it's true you can't delete to the trash from the command line but that's for advanced users only and they can solve this issue with 3rd party command line tools i guess.
You may critize Windows because of these missing features but OS X is the same. You can't limit the size of the Trash, you can't restore an item from the Trash to its original location, etc.

To summarize i use your own words: only a fool deletes to the Trash in a graphical user interface. I'm a fool too because i have to use Mac OS X at my workplace emptying the Trash all the time (command-backspace -> command-shift-backspace).

Edited 2008-04-29 11:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I'm a psycho too, so this is what I do
by Tremor on Tue 29th Apr 2008 11:30 UTC
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On Windows I swap empty and full trash icons, so I rarely empty my trash to have empty trash can on my desktop.
On Linux I don't use trash at all.

Edited 2008-04-29 11:31 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Change the Icon
by Gryzor on Tue 29th Apr 2008 13:07 UTC
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Put an empty (or barely filled) thrashcan icon to your thrashcan and your "visual" problem is fixed. Create a Cron job that deletes it overnight and that's it.

The concept of thrash can in a computer is anyways a little bit broken (or outdated). With modern computers, we shouldn't have to delete stuff. Time machine uses Hard drive "until there's no more" then starts deleteing old stuff. This should be the same. If I don't need stuff I just throw it to the thrash, but I must not remember to delete that. Let it be. Auto-delete if for me when the space is needed. And also don't calculate it as "used space" anymore.

We do that with Memory, why not with files?

Reply Score: 2

Which trash can?
by h3rman on Tue 29th Apr 2008 13:34 UTC
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I never see the trash can on the OS X desktop.
The dock can be set to hidden by default.
Dock = cute concept, just hide it.

Reply Score: 2

I hate it
by Invincible Cow on Tue 29th Apr 2008 14:12 UTC
Invincible Cow
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I don't use the trash on Windows. I just delete the files.

I have tried to use it on Linux and it drives me nuts. Not only does it not automatically delete the oldest files when it's full (and by full I don't mean just one small file), but amazingly enough, manually emptying it doens't work either because trashed files that were owned by root can't be deleted by me!

Of course I can delete them from the terminal, or by using the file manager from the root account (oups, there went my root trash, but not mine), but it should be totally unnecessary.

Reply Score: 2

by kiddo on Tue 29th Apr 2008 14:17 UTC
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It seems nobody cares to read the original submission article in the "read more" link (, or a lot of comment such as "well just remove the trash" or "see a psychiatrist" here would not have been posted.

It's a bit disappointing, maybe I should entrust it to digg next time. At least some people would read the essay I bothered to write instead of just looking at a summary that mentions it on osnews.

Reply Score: 2

by James99 on Tue 29th Apr 2008 15:01 UTC in reply to "RTFA"
James99 Member since:

> It seems nobody cares to read the original submission article...

You're painting with a broad brush. Some of us did read it.

> It is not really an OCD... I was being funny...

If you say so, but speaking as someone who has some experience with OCD, your article really sounded like OCD might be a factor.

> About the psychiatrist thing...
> Well I'm actually a psychology undergrad

That's great, but it doesn't mean you might not be affected by OCD. One of my best friends is a psychologist and she believes that many of her colleagues entered the profession due to concerns about their own, well, idiosyncrasies.

(None of what I've said is intended to be a put-down of folks with OCD. I have some symptoms of it myself.)

Reply Score: 1

by Bounty on Wed 30th Apr 2008 15:29 UTC in reply to "RTFA"
Bounty Member since:

Are "mac guys" just more prone to OCD? I'm serious. More of my mac friends are compulsive when it comes to their work areas. The windows guys have cables laying all over.... not the mac guys, everything in raceway, clips all tidy. The linux guys tend to be extremes in one way or the other mega messy, or mega clean. My desktop... files all over, trash can sits full most of the time.

Maybe I'm a little dumb here, but why is shift+del dangerous, but instant delete is ok? I have a feeling that you would empty it instantly no matter it's status. If it had a picture of 1 small crumpled file in it, you'd empty it.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Verenkeitin
by Verenkeitin on Tue 29th Apr 2008 22:04 UTC
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Just set Trashcan full icon to be the same as Trashcan empty. Problem solved. If you have to have some sort of automation, set up a script that deletes oldest files in the Trashcan when drive space starts to run out or when some set time has passed. That way you don't need to care about or see any trash, but you retain dumpster diving capabilities for saving accidental deletes.

Trashcan is pretty good metaphor, but it doesn't go far enough. What it needs is a garbage dumb where trash is taken after the trashcan is emptied. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Not hard to fix
by unoengborg on Wed 30th Apr 2008 02:35 UTC
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First use incron to watch the .Trach folder and use touch on each file that is moved to .Trash

Then just run a cron script at regular intervalls that deltes old mail.

cd ~/.Trash;find . -amin +xxxx -exec rm -rf \{\} \;

where xxxx is how long time ago a file was last accessed.

The problem with this is that the files are touched and that their date information gets lost.

If you feel that this is a problem, you could let incron create a soft link preferably starting with a dot to make it invisible, and then modify the find script so that it removes both the link and the linked file when it is time. Don't forget to let incron handle deletion of the links in case a trached file is removed from the trash.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not hard to fix
by Invincible Cow on Wed 30th Apr 2008 20:13 UTC in reply to "Not hard to fix"
Invincible Cow Member since:

Ah! The UNIX solution. Which essentially means I'll lose my file dates (which is not a problem, but let's make it one ;) ) OR I can't trash both net_programming.txt and .net_programming.txt without errors.

As is standard for UNIX solutions, it does not even solve the original problem, as rm still can't delete the files that were owned by root, and I can't touch them if they're owned by root either.

And of course there's "simple" ways around it, but come on, it's 2006!

No, it's actually 2008. I don't want to write a shell script to get my trash can working!

Edited 2008-04-30 20:15 UTC

Reply Score: 1