Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th May 2009 19:17 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Ask OSNews is apparently quite popular among you guys; the questions just keep on coming in. Since David took on the first two, we decided to let me handle this one - it's an area I've personally covered before on OSNews: file system layouts. One of our readers, a Linux veteran, studied the GoboLinux effort to introduce a new filesystem layout, and wondered: "Why not adopt the more sensible file system from GoboLinux as the new LSB standard?"
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Comment by DoctorD
by DoctorD on Fri 29th May 2009 00:49 UTC
DoctorD
Member since:
2009-03-08

I seriously think that the traditional unix file system for desktop computer operating systems needs some serious rethinking.

Take a look at the bigger picture.

What does the FHS file system revolve around? Programers. Only software programers. Matter of fact, every stitch of logic in an FHS file system comes from coder / programmer centric thinking.

A better generalized name for this type of file system is a "programer's tree".

I think so far what I have written is pretty impartial.

IMHO, a "programer's tree" is a useless layout except to those who code. It is a coder's file system meant for coding purposes. Desktop orientated computer users have little to nothing to gain from it. A "programer's tree" doesn't concern them, because it wasn't made for them, and that's a real problem in a desktop oriented system.

It's a case of mismatched identity, the system trying to pretend on the surface it's one thing (a user centric desktop system) when in reality it's simply a coders workstation, hacked, and wearing a desktop coat.

The underlying issue is... why should a desktop oriented computer have a "programer's tree" in the first place? Why didn't more people ask this question from the get go when GNU/linux went to the desktop? Probably because the majority of them were coders, and (like most humans) don't shift their perspective right way when the situation calls for a new one.

A user centric desktop file system should be built around and logically extend at least partially from a user-centric point of view. IMHO, this means, among other things, that as a whole it should represent the organization of data on physical devices first and foremost.

IE make the top level directories the physical devices. Windows already does this (albeit in an archaik fassion with letters A: and C:), and MAC OS X does it almost perfectly; ie everything starts with Hard Drive, CD-ROM, Flash Drive, etc. Non-coders (ie most users) can grasp their hard drive far more intuitively since folder names are not heaps of abbreviated coder terms, but a smaller set of simplistic, well-organized folder names which anyone can appreciate... Applications, Libraries, Users, System etc...

Making the top level directory / in a desktop computer is completely non-applicable logic. While useful in non-desktop oriented workstations and servers, orienting programer centric folders with a top level / in a desktop oriented computer computer is a unintuitive misfit of an implementation, taken from an entirely different scenario of usefulness and placed in an environment where it just doesn't belong in the first place.

Edited 2009-05-29 00:53 UTC

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