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Re: Some impressions about the current status of Unity


On 26. feb. 2012 19:23, Adrian Maier wrote:
On Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 20:02, Michael Hall<mhall119@xxxxxxxxxx>  wrote:
The hierachical directories is concept too deeply used in all
operating systems .   It will not go away just because many users use
their computers only for web and searching  photos/videos/music .

Phones and Tablets don't expose a hierarchical filesystem, which proves that
users can easily adapt to a metaphor that don't use folders.
Yet they still have a hierarchical filesystem .

That's debatable. It's perfectly possible for the same file or folder to belong in two different subtrees at the same time. That's not hierarchical. All modern operating systems support that. And when I say modern, I mean newer than 1993 or so. I use the term rather loosely. However, when a file does exist in many places at the same time, using a hierarchical navigation scheme becomes cumbersome.

A smartphone deals with a very limited range of files , which makes it
possible to :  save photos in a predetermined directory , save videos
in a predetermined directory ,  play music from a predetermined
directory   ,  and  store the ebooks in a predetermined  directory ,
and so on  .

I don't see such a scheme working on a general-purpose computer.
Files doesn't have to be saved in a predetermined directory. They probably shouldn't be saved in directories at all. It is an ancient and completely outdated way of locating stuff.

There's really no reason why a file should belong in a hierarchy at all, really. The only reason it is that way, is because it's been that way for thousands of years. Literally. You've needed to use paths in order for the human librarian to remember how to find stuff. Because when there are thousands of books, it is difficult to remember where each book is at any moment unless you follow some predetermined ordering system. Then, in the early days of computing, you needed a way to tell the computer how to find stuff. Since the compute power was so extremely limited, you needed a direct path. That's no longer the case, and I really think single-path navigation to be a thing of the past.

For instance, let's say you have a photograph from your wedding, with your wife, your friends and family. What is the right path to that photograph?


There should be no fixed number of ways to access that photograph, of course. It's "location" should depend on what you're looking for. Let's say you have Bluetooth and everyone uses that on their mobile devices, which they obviously always carry with them. Then your system should recognize who's present and you should have "People nearby" category in your Photos lens which would always display photographs of the people who are in the room with you.

You may think that sounds like fantasy, but it's actually quite easy to do, though it obviously requires some work. Doing that using hierarchical structures, would be much more difficult. Using metadata to describe data content instead of just referring to a location, makes it possible to do extremely cool things with relative ease.

That's what the semantic desktop is all about.

Jo-Erlend Schinstad

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