Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 23rd Aug 2008 15:37 UTC
Editorial Earlier this week, we ran a story on GoboLinux, and the distribution's effort to replace the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard with a more pleasant, human-readable, and logical design. A lot of people liked the idea of modernising/replacing the FHS, but just as many people were against doing so. Valid arguments were presented both ways, but in this article, I would like to focus on a common sentiment that came forward in that discussion: normal users shouldn't see the FHS, and advanced users are smart enough to figure out how the FHS works.
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wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27

The fact is, everyone using English means everyone using a standard.

A standard is always better than no standard.



I have issues with both sentences. English is not a true standard, it's just a "de-facto" standard, much like the MS Office file formats.

Your complaint seems to be that people can't leave politics aside and pick whatever looks like a dominating option as a standard. But standards are all about politics, that's the whole point, IMO: a good standard must be perceived as common ground by all the parties conforming the standard's intended audience.

A true standard should be carefully designed with input from all the interested parties, beginning with a minimal common ground and then building upon it, trying to keep it simple, fair and balanced. Whenever possible, if parties disagree on how to do or how to express something, the standard should provide means for each party to specify their chosen option, rather than picking one of the competing solutions.

A bad standard may well be worse than no standard. At least a no-standards situation is fair, so it's a much better starting point for building good standards.

Of course you can ignore all of this, take the dominant player's caprices and call them standards. And then wonder why on earth so many people don't adhere to them.




Natural, homeland language is all good and well (heck, I like Italian more than English) for personal talk purposes. But when a standard is required, a standard should be enforced.

Why someone wants to make a complex system to allow for non-standards, when people could just be teached the standard (and such a standard is useful for much,much more than simply reading filesystem hierarchies) again escapes my comprehension.


Again, calling English "the standard" begs the question . English, the standard.. says who?. In my view, it's just the dominant player's option in a no-true-standards situation. The "complex" (not really) system I propose is an attempt at creating a standard, one that lets people agree to disagree and still communicate. Again, It only seems odd because modern computing was developed in a largely mono-lingual environment. If it had been an international (and inter-lingual) effort from the beginning, locale-agnostic provisions would seem only natural.

Regarding direct human (spoken and written) communication, learning a second language up to near-native level is *hard*. As long as the "standard" language is native for some of its speakers and not for others, the native speakers have a *huge* advantage. The only way that a particular natural language could work as a fair standard is that all the other languages were effectively eliminated, so that this "standard" were everyone's first language. Given that other strategies are available or at least conceivable (auxiliary languages like Esperanto, real-time translation), is it so surprising that many of the affected societies resist this trend?

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