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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RE: Interesting
by phoenix on Thu 26th Jul 2012 01:57 UTC in reply to "Interesting"
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

People don't have problems with hierarchical directory structures that they create themselves (like in their own home folder or 'My Documents' directory).

However, a lot of people have problems when they find themselves in another directory on the disk/system/network, and don't know how to get back to their stuff. And Microsoft has been making this harder and harder with each release of Windows, with Libraries being the epitome of 'hide things behind abstractions so that no one knows where things are actually stored'.

No one had issues with directories in MS-DOS. No one had issues with directories in Windows 3.x. Things got a little confusing with Windows 95 and the introduction of 'My Documents'. then things stayed 'normal' throu Win 98, ME, and XP. things moved with Vista. Then, suddenly things went wonkers with Win 7 where everything that was under My Documents was moved up a level, Libraries were added, and things just got confusing.

But, the real confusion started with the introduction of 'Desktop' as a magical pseudo-top level directory, which is actually in the middle of the file system. We'd all be so much better off if that was never introduced, and everyone had to deal with the actual layout on the disk for everything. I believe that's the root of all the 'issues' with confusion with directories.

Reply Parent Score: 15

RE[2]: Interesting
by tupp on Thu 26th Jul 2012 03:42 in reply to "RE: Interesting"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

You have deftly expressed exactly how we got into this "dumbification" mess.

Joe Sixpack had no trouble understanding files and directories with Windows 3.x and DOS. As soon as the Windows '95 obfuscation appeared, things went south, and we have never recovered.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Interesting
by Alfman on Thu 26th Jul 2012 05:17 in reply to "RE: Interesting"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

phoenix,

"However, a lot of people have problems when they find themselves in another directory on the disk/system/network, and don't know how to get back to their stuff."

You hit the nail on the head. In fact this is one of the best points that's been brought up; users can obviously understand their own directory structures. The main aspect that might be genuinely confusing is being exposed to rather arbitrary and scary system directories (including C:\ on windows).

"And Microsoft has been making this harder and harder with each release of Windows, with Libraries being the epitome of 'hide things behind abstractions so that no one knows where things are actually stored'."

It is hard to use because it lacks consistency and solid points of reference. Windows puts system directories at the root, but that's not what a user wants to see. From a user standpoint, the root directory should be initially empty and take on whatever files / hierarchy the user creates there.

The system files, nor their associated hierarchy should ever need to be displayed to normal users. Placing users at the root (even if only a virtual root) makes it that much harder to get genuinely lost since users would be intimately familiar with their root directories.

Novice users needn't be intimidated by any pre-existing system hierarchy, advanced users should be able to override the configuration, and everyone should be able to work with directories & archives without any silly device directory limitations.

Of course for any paradigm to be successful it must be adhered to consistently in software, which is far easier to do with a new platform than an existing one.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Interesting
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 26th Jul 2012 06:58 in reply to "RE[2]: Interesting"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I agree. As a Windows user from Windows 95 to Windows XP (~1997 to late 2006) and a Linux user from late 2006 to now and the foreseeable future, Windows Vista's "Library" concept has got to be the most fucked up, confusing, retarded, bullshit new "feature" of ANY OS. Period. Well, besides Metro and GNOME 3, anyway.

But seriously... whoever decided to put that feature in Windows needs to be shot.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Interesting
by BushLin on Thu 26th Jul 2012 16:43 in reply to "RE[2]: Interesting"
BushLin Member since:
2011-01-26

I never had a problem with XP's "Documents and Settings", it was obviously labelled and followed a logical structure for user folders.

Even if made slightly more long winded from Win2k to XP, you still had built in support for overwriting the "Default User" profile with your chosen candidate; avoiding the creation of scripts and policies for things like adding bunch of networked printers configured for double sided printing. This is no longer possible.

I hope someone can point out the benefit of the mess I see in Windows 7, I've met plenty of "IT Professionals" who are not even aware of the many possible locations for user data now.

Edited 2012-07-26 16:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Interesting
by Lobotomik on Fri 27th Jul 2012 07:47 in reply to "RE: Interesting"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

I agree about W7 libraries. It sounded nice when I first read about them, but now that I have them forced on me, I think they are incredibly confusing.

The problem is the way they mix the physical layout of files on disk with a misguided abstraction of a parallel hierarchical view which is meant to help you, but totally fails.

Reply Parent Score: 2