Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Aug 2008 23:33 UTC, submitted by Charles Wilson
Editorial GoboLinux is a distribution which sports a different file system structure than 'ordinary' Linux distributions. In order to remain compatible with the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, symbolic links are used to map the GoboLinux tree to standard UNIX directories. A post in the GoboLinux forums suggested that it might be better to turn the concept around: retain the FHS, and then use symbolic links to map the GoboLinux tree on top of it. This sparked some interesting discussion. Read on for more details.
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Solving the wrong problem
by unoengborg on Tue 19th Aug 2008 06:43 UTC
unoengborg
Member since:
2005-07-06

Filsystem hierarchy should not matter to the user, at least not the parts that deals with installed software.
The user should just need to know that he adds new functionality, he shouldn't need to know where the files actually goes.

The software installer or package manager should make shure that executables ends up in the users PATH, FONTPATH,..., and/or in some appropriate place in the program menu.

When a user need to select an executable somewhere in the GUI, he should be able to select it from what's in the PATH, or in the Program menu if it is some kind of GUI based program that need to be selected.

E.g if you make a new starter for your Gnome desktop you should be presented with a list of programs that is in your PATH. To make it backward compatible and expert user friendly it should also still be possible to write a full path, but the OK button should be greyed out until you actually have selected something executable.

When you remove some funktionality the package manager should ask if it also should remove the preferences for the application. Note, I did not say it should ask the user if he want it to also remove configuration files. This is important because there might be configuration, but not necessarily in files, it could reside in a database or in LDAP depending what application it is. In other words application developers should provide hooks for the uninstaller to do the right thing when asked to remove something.

The Desktop user should just need to see the programs in the program menu, the control center where he can configure the functionality of his system, his own data and the data other people share with him. It should also be easy for him to se what part of his data he have decided to share with others.

Users should just see what they need to do their business, and in most cases that is not computer related so in most cases there is no need to introduce computer related things like "Application Folder"

In the rare cases where it is computer related e.g. for a sys admin there should be ways to make exceptions, and to these people it is good if the file hierachy conforms to some kind of standard, so why not continue to use the Linux FHS for them.

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