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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RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by DoctorD on Sun 31st May 2009 10:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
DoctorD
Member since:
2009-03-08

Mac OS X is a broken ENVIRONMENT, period.
I'll take my Apps in a nice friendly menu, thank you very much.
Why should I have to go poking around in the FILESYSTEM
to launch an App that I only need once in a while??
Why must it try to deceive me so? Those are Folders and I know it!!

Try launching the Firefox Profile Manager on OS X.
All it takes is a simple `firefox -P` on non-broken systems.


The point of view expressed above is so strikingly opposite mine that frankly, just trying to understand the value system behind it comes close to putting me on the verge of seizures. I don’t even kind of relate to whatever leads him to such an utterly alien opinion. Please don’t take any offense; it's just like stumbling across some guy bitching about physical relations with women because he prefers cats. I mean, what the hell do you even tell the guy?

Personally, I’ve liked the apple applications folder for some time. It’s not what I grew up using; I mostly used windows until I eventually started using GNU/linux in my early twenties, several years before I ever tried OS X. So at least I can safely say I have no "initial bias".

On a desktop, why deal with directories and nested executables, when your applications themselves can be self-contained packages which serve as folders, executables, and icon-launchers simultaneously. It removes so many needless abstractions. Installation and uninstallation is a simple matter of dragging them to and from your hard drive; it works the same way you deal with mp3s or jpgs. That’s exactly what I want with a desktop computer.

That being the case, what on earth am I supposed to say to an individual who comes along and complains that the applications are not further sub-divided into individual executables, menu launchers, and generic folders and then scattered across the entire file system? That approach involves too many abstractive layers and offers nothing much in return that’s of any value to a simple desktop operating system.

Sure, it really does make sense in certain operating environments where coders desire coder-centric means of organizing every bit and byte according to file type, exclusive of any other ideal. But what, really, is FHS doing in a desktop environment, where its key strengths are not even needed, and where it sacrifices the kind of desktop orientation it ought to be focused on having from the moment of it’s inception?

I think there is a very real need for traditional *nix, which is based upon otherwise solid concepts (such as FHS) that originated entirely in non-GUI desktop territory, to part ways in a graceful manner with desktop oriented computing entirely. I don’t think that the overarching strengths of these two philosophies overlap well with each other. This, I believe, is where the intense double-sided frustration comes from, when software finds that it simply cannot successfully subscribe to both schools of thought at the same time.

To use a simple analogy, treat traditional *nix like an orange. There’s nothing wrong with oranges, they are tasteful and worthwhile for what they are. However, if you find yourself surrounded by orange trees, and discover that what you really have a craving for is apples, then what exactly is the best choice? Attempt to genetically modify oranges into apples? Or consider planting an apple tree? Does an immense history or knowledge of orange tree cultivation play a role in this decision?

Food for thought...

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