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: Oliver has lost it.
by phoenix on Thu 26th Jul 2012 02:04 UTC in reply to "Oliver has lost it."
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

I deal with a lot of Windows users in my day job.

People understand directory hierarchies. But Windows makes 'Desktop' the root of a pseudo-filesystem, and 'My Documents' the root of another pseudo-filesystem, both of which are only accessible from icons in Windows Explorer.

When people have to deal with the actual filesystem on the disk, they get confused, because C: is the real root of the filesystem, and 'Desktop' and 'My Documents' are buried several levels deep.

I'm a firm believer that all the 'help' MS provides to users is actually hindering more then helping.

If you provide users access to the filesystem, they'll figure things out. Hide things behind layers upon layer of abstractions to 'simplify' things, and you'll just confuse them.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Oliver has lost it.
by tupp on Thu 26th Jul 2012 03:43 in reply to "RE: Oliver has lost it."
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

If you provide users access to the filesystem, they'll figure things out. Hide things behind layers upon layer of abstractions to 'simplify' things, and you'll just confuse them.

Agreed, 1000%!

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Oliver has lost it.
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 26th Jul 2012 07:25 in reply to "RE: Oliver has lost it."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

When people have to deal with the actual filesystem on the disk, they get confused, because C: is the real root of the filesystem, and 'Desktop' and 'My Documents' are buried several levels deep.

The fact that they're "buried" is not so bad. Hell, look at Linux and its typical directories:

/: Root file system
/home/user: User's home directory
/home/user/Document's: User's documents
/home/user/Music: User's music
/home/user/Pictures: User's pictures
/home/user/Videos: User's videos
...etc...

They're "buried" (not in the top level directory), but it's relatively simplified and makes perfect sense to me... completely logical and easy to remember. Windows Vista, as shitty as it was, did make some improvements here though, I have to admit ("C:\Users\User Name" instead of "C:\Documents and Settings\User Name"

But you're wrong about C: being the "real" root of the file system. It's only the root of what is most commonly the system drive in Windows and DOS before it, which is usually set up to be a whole disk but can sometimes be a smaller partition. Every hard drive partition, CD/DVD-ROM disc and USB drive has its own root file system. In UNIX/Linux, there is one virtual filesystem under which *everything* resides.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Oliver has lost it.
by daedalus on Thu 26th Jul 2012 08:58 in reply to "RE[2]: Oliver has lost it."
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Indeed, Linux is guilty of the the same sort of confusion, and more so when you look at system files! I still admire the Amiga way of arranging things. It keeps each device separate, so the highest point in the file system is just a list of devices. This also corresponds to the desktop, which contains all the attached drives and can hold shortcuts, but isn't actually a directory. It's just a fancy list of devices. Very intuitive and very quick to grasp.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[3]: Oliver has lost it.
by lustyd on Thu 26th Jul 2012 11:21 in reply to "RE[2]: Oliver has lost it."
lustyd Member since:
2008-06-19

Actually Windows does have a single virtual file system, you just don't usually see it. You can also mount drives as folders without drive letters in Windows.

As for your example of /home/user/music etc. Where do you think that came from in Linux?! Hint - it wasn't there in Redhat 6 but it was there in Windows 95!

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Oliver has lost it.
by jigzat on Thu 26th Jul 2012 17:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Oliver has lost it."
jigzat Member since:
2008-10-30

You have a valid point but you have to see how other people use their computers, I have seen many people place important files directly in the Root of the file System, whether is Windows C or Mac's HD. Although others have point out something valid and is that it shouldn't be hardcoded. Yes I know it's only ICloud but the article spawned a interesting debate by calling it Anti-n Directory Structure Movement. I firmly believe that when Apple finalize the iOS Mac OS merging there will be some kind restriction maybe not to the iPhone iPad point but still some limitation in folder creation, maybe at the end we will have only smart folders temporary folders with no depth.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Oliver has lost it.
by tupp on Thu 26th Jul 2012 18:05 in reply to "RE[2]: Oliver has lost it."
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

The basic difference between the hierarchal models of Linux/Unix systems and DOS is is very simple:
- with Linux/Unix, all devices, files and folders are contained within the root partition;
- with DOS, all partitions/devices exist together at the root level, and one does not contain another.

Other than a couple of exceptions (GoboLinux, etc.), Linux/Unix perpetrates no "obfuscation" of the type that phoenix explains is inherent in post Windows 3.x systems.

With Linux/Unix and DOS, the organization makes sense and nothing is "pseudo" (but some things are "sudo").

OSX is possibly the worst offender, in that it tries to completely hide the system directories from the user, which additionally makes things more complex in regards to how the system files are actually handled internally.

Of course, GoboLinux also hid the system directories from the user, but it was much more open and straightforward about it. Also, the GoboLinux method went further than OSX in coordinating the hidden and non-hidden sections, and the GoboLinux links system certainly was much better suited to an eventual elimination of the hidden section.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Oliver has lost it.
by clasqm on Fri 27th Jul 2012 07:27 in reply to "RE[2]: Oliver has lost it."
clasqm Member since:
2010-09-23

Hell, look at Linux and its typical directories:

/: Root file system
/home/user: User's home directory
...etc...


As long as you can convince the users that /usr has absolutely nothing to do with them! :-)

But you're wrong about C: being the "real" root of the file system. It's only the root of what is most commonly the system drive in Windows and DOS before it, which is usually set up to be a whole disk but can sometimes be a smaller partition.


Quite right. As long as there is a possibility of an A: or a D: drive, conceptually the file system begins below C: even if it is invisible in practical terms. One of the great tragedies in computing history is that when MS ... was inspired by CP/M they didn't take the opportunity to clean up THAT mess. And here we are, still stuck with it 40 years later.

Reply Parent Score: 2