Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Jun 2012 22:55 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes "Whenever there is a conversation about the future of computing, is discussion inevitably turns to the notion of a 'File'. After all, most tablets and phones don't show the user anything that resembles a file, only Apps that contain their own content, tucked away inside their own opaque storage structure. This is wrong. Files are abstraction layers around content that are necessary for interoperability. Without the notion of a File or other similar shared content abstraction, the ability to use different applications with the same information grinds to a halt, which hampers innovation and user experience." Aside from the fact that a file manager for Android is just a click away, and aside from the fact that Android's share menu addresses many of these concerns, his point still stands: files are not an outdated, archaic concept. One of my biggest gripes with iOS is just how user-hostile the operating system it when it comes to getting stuff - whatever stuff - to and from the device.
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RE: Ted Nelson on files
by jkloetzke on Sat 30th Jun 2012 11:30 UTC in reply to "Ted Nelson on files"
jkloetzke
Member since:
2012-04-25

Nice video. I think he's hitting the nail on the head, although he's only giving a small hint at the end what could improve the situation.

The way how I see it is the following: every user has an intuitive idea what a file is. Ted calls it a "lump" and I tend to agree. From the users point of view a file is just a piece of information belonging together. May it be a calendar entry, note or a text document. What counts is that the user want's to manage this piece of information, that is share it, copy, delete, edit, you name it.

The real problem for the users start where he has to name these pieces of information to find it again. File systems as we know it have only one scheme: hierarchical with distinct file names. Even that alone brings many problems that I don't need to re-enumerate. But even more severely the file name is also the only way how to get back your information. If you forgot the file name or someone else renamed the file you won't get back your data again.

Now mail applications are typical examples how an application hides the inadequacies of regular file systems and provides you an interface which is much more suited to the problem domain. But even there every mail is typically a file but the underlying file system does a poor job to get this organized. So we really need file systems, just the traditional schemes suck.

I thought very long about it and I'm working now since three years on a project in my spare time which may provide an answer these issues: www.peerdrive.org. Right now the focus is more on regular file access and synchronization but it has all the building blocks that Ted describes at the end of his video: a system where you can address and store small lumps which can be arbitrarily connected and the support to track the history of these pieces and make these changes addressable too. If PeerDrive really works remains to be seen but working on it has been a lot of a fun until now... ;-)

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