Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jul 2012 22:18 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes The article I'm about to link to, by Oliver Reichenstein, is pretty terrible, but it's a good way for me to bring up something I've been meaning to talk about. First, the article: "Apple has been working on its file system and with iOS it had almost killed the concept of folders - before reintroducing them with a peculiar restriction: only one level! With Mountain Lion it brings its one folder level logic to OSX. What could be the reason for such a restrictive measure?" So, where does this crusade against directory structures (not file systems, as the article aggravatingly keeps stating) come from?
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Thank you for that insightful post. I agree with your ideas. I've given the same thoughts to the duality of documents on storage and documents on display. That duality isn't inherent, it was evolutionary just like you said. I think there are some platforms that tried to treat all documents as active documents and eliminate the notion of opening & saving them. It's unfortunately such projects have been relegated to obscure niche usage since I think it's a nice alternative.

"Don't get me wrong: organising data hierarchically is a mighty fine tool for certain types of problems (e.g. it makes a lot of sense for stuff like OS and application files), but for user data it is an absolute tyranny."

I still have to disagree with you here though, even once we've expelled the disk-saved/memory-loaded duality, which was invented for the computer's sake so to speak, it hasn't eliminated clutter nor the user's desire to keep certain documents organised in relative hierarchies, metadata only takes you so far and works much better in some cases than others.

People used hierarchies even before computers came on the scene because it was a natural approach for them to organise data - it's not like they were invented for the computer's own sake. They exist in all kinds of "human" contexts; my favourite computer part supplier, newegg, organises their website products in a hierarchy. That wasn't for the benefit of their web server, or their developers. No, it was for my benefit as a user. In addition to hierarchies, they also provide great metadata searching too, proving that both approaches are complementary. We should my own computer not permit me to work this way if I want to?

"Good luck with effecting any sort of change though. There are all too many folks who'll fight to the death to maintain a nasty, ugly, crippled status-quo where they are the undisputed kings than sweep it away to stand shoulder-to-shoulder all the little folk in a brave new world. OSS/*nix folks should be taking the lead in shaping the future to everyone's best interests."

I certainly hope you are not referring to me, because I agree with you. The status-quo really does impede progress sometimes. I don't feel user directories do that since they're entirely optional and don't interfere with metadata.

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