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[2]: Oliver has lost it.
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 26th Jul 2012 07:25 UTC 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[4]: Oliver has lost it.
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 26th Jul 2012 15:45 in reply to "RE[3]: Oliver has lost it."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Luckily a typical low-skill computer user of one of the mainstream Linux distros, you practically *never* have to leave your home directory and enter such system territory as /etc and /boot. You might need /etc if you're dealing with daemons, but I doubt that an inexperienced user will even know what that is let alone need to run them.

Similarly, with Linux's stronger separation from root from users, a user most likely won't have to worry about totally screwing up their entire OS with malware so it won't boot, and is even more unlikely to need to lurk around in /boot. Even then, with a clean segregation of / and /home partitions, a fix without losing any of your personal settings is just a reinstall away, keeping your existing /home untouched.

Windows is certainly not any cleaner with its C:\WINDOWS, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM and C:\WINDOWS\System32 directories, among others. In my opinion, it's much more of a mess.

I will say though, that I'll take something like /etc/hosts over C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers\etc\hosts any day. [Drivers? Really? WTF?]

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Oliver has lost it.
by tupp on Thu 26th Jul 2012 18:13 in reply to "RE[3]: Oliver has lost it."
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Indeed, Linux is guilty of the the same sort of confusion, and more so when you look at system files!

No. Linux is almost always very straightforward, with none of the "pseudo" weirdness found in post 3.x Windows and without the wholesale obfuscation of system internals found in OSX.

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.

If you are confused by system files, just don't look at them!

Reply Parent Score: 1

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[4]: Oliver has lost it.
by Soulbender on Thu 26th Jul 2012 12:40 in reply to "RE[3]: Oliver has lost it."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

it wasn't there in Redhat 6 but it was there in Windows 95!


No it wasn't. "My Music" and "My Pictures" were introduced in Windows 98.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Oliver has lost it.
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 27th Jul 2012 16:48 in reply to "RE[3]: Oliver has lost it."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

As a pure single-user operating system, Windows 95 didn't have shit for storing personal user files until Win95-OSR2. Windows 98, still single-user though adding kludges in an attempt to expand, finally brought the "My Documents" folder concept to Windows users who bought retail versions instead of OEM.

In Linux, the closest comparison to My Documents was... drumroll... /home. Every user (not just one, unless there is only one user set up) has their own directory to store all of their personal files, and permissions at the file system level to allow or restrict other users on the system from accessing their files.

I'm sure it was common for people to organize their home directory with documents, downloads, music, video, etc. subdirectories long before similarly-named directories have started coming with new installations of more recent distros. I used to have all of those, in lower case, before distros started conveniently adding them by default while screwing things up and making the first letter capital (certainly not optimal on an OS whose file system fully respects the capitalization of file names and has a nice command line interface). I personally preferred it when my home directory came clean on a freshly installed system, so I didn't have to later clean it up by nuking the caps.

Reply Parent Score: 2

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[4]: Oliver has lost it.
by zima on Wed 1st Aug 2012 23:56 in reply to "RE[3]: Oliver has lost it."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

With Linux/Unix and DOS, the organization makes sense

And yet not a long time ago there was an article documenting how little sense it has, lots of weird historical baggage... http://www.osnews.com/story/25556/Understanding_the_bin_sbin_usr_bi...
(and of course religious war in the comments)

Edited 2012-08-02 00:07 UTC

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