Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Apr 2008 21:38 UTC, submitted by kiddo
Graphics, User Interfaces The trash can metaphor in computing is as old as the desktop metaphor itself. It was first introduced with the Apple Lisa user interface, and found its way to the Macintosh. Apple patented the whole idea, and sued anyone who tried to use the same name, resulting in other user interfaces implementing the exact same principle but just named differently. Despite its old age, and the fact it barely changed over the decades, many people have issues with the traditional concept.
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Trash File Recovery is a Filesystem Issue
by segedunum on Tue 29th Apr 2008 01:11 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

The icon now changes to its "full" state - which triggers some of my obsessive compulsive neurones to fire like crazy, almost forcing me to empty the trash can.

Thank goodness it isn't just me. I thought I was turning into Monica from Friends or something.

The trash/recycle bin or call it whatever you want is another one of those daft desktop metaphors we have inherited from the Apple world that tries to dress something up into something that it isn't. Recovering files is a filesystem issue, not a desktop one, and having a trash can is ultimately useless. Once you've deleted a file then it should be fully deleted, and if you want to recover a file then your next port of call should be the undelete facility (hopefully with a decent desktop front-end) you will find in just about any filesystem. The only issue here is if you come back after several days or weeks hoping to find a file that will have long since been overwritten, but then, few people keep files languishing around in their trash/recycle bin for days and weeks on end, so you're left with the same problem.

This presents a technical problem for Linux desktops because they can run on top of many different filesystems, and it also requires a filesystem and a desktop to work closer together. However, that is neither here nor there to an end user. It also presents an issue for any filesystem, as the way this should work is that the oldest deleted files have their space overwritten first.

The whole trick with a trash or 'undelete' facility to recover files, as has been hinted at, is that the user doesn't get to see it directly. They must believe that the file has been deleted ;-), and there's no used space for them to want to 'free up'. Beyond that, their next port of call is a backup system.

Edited 2008-04-29 01:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

You're not alone. I too have to empty the trash as soon as there is something in it. And so, I always use shift delete. Like the author says though, thats not entirely safe. Ive been lucky though. It's got me in trouble exactly once, where I lost a file that I wasn't able to replace until three years later.

Speaking of OCD, I'm not but the tendencies are there. When I drink from a drinking fountain, the number of sips has to be a power of two. 8 is good, 16 if I'm really thirsty but I have to stop there because 32 would just be too much. I could take 7 sips if I wanted to though, really!

Reply Parent Score: 2