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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The Key Problem Is...
by chaosvoyager on Mon 25th Aug 2008 21:51 UTC
chaosvoyager
Member since:
2005-07-06

...that you cannot 'reason' about an OS like you can with mathematics, mechanics, physics, electronics, chemistry, and biology. In those fields I can make inferences, form hypotheses, and conduct experiments. When using a computer however, whether it's through the command line, writing a program, or even just knowing which icon to click, I have to know the EXACT 'name' of a thing to get anything done.

The only way to reason about names and symbols is through their cultural significance. The name 'settings' is more meaningful only because it is (or perhaps just SEEMS to be) culturally significant to a larger group of people. However, even with this cultural reference, I often can't infer the meaning of an OS related name/word/term based on the context it is used in like I can with a natural language, especially on the command line where names are nearly devoid of context. Directories can provide this kind of context, but only if there are already enough meaningful names in the path.

The specific names are really not that important. What is important is what they MEAN, and the meaning of these names are either not shared within a large enough cultural reference (or perhaps not the particular cultural reference some people want), or they are still used despite their reason for existence becoming obsolete or forgotten.

This is why I don't believe a 'semantic' web is possible. You would need too large a cultural reference to do it (the whole world), and it would have to change over time.

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