Decade of Decadent Desktops
With all this talk about change, I wonder if anyone is really getting
the bigger picture. One particular thing in Andy's post about the decadence of
GNOME stood out among the rest to me. His comments on input methods and the
types of hardware we're using. It's not GNOME that is falling away due to some
missing lack of innovation. It's the Desktop PC concept in general. Over the
last 10 years, there have been leaps and bounds in terms of technology growth.
The wireless internet. Camera phones. PDA and phone integration. Tablet PCs.
The world is moving away from the desktop. It's really only a fitting metaphor
for programmers, and data entry roles in an office, any more. And GNOME, being
a desktop, doesn't fit the new methodologies. Nor do Windows Vista or Mac OS X.
They might have pretty shiny panels, or 3d zoom effects, but in the end, they
are still desktops. Windows Mobile is still even very similar to the desktop
version of the OS. It's got a panel, start menu, and feels like you're stuck
in it's convoluted world. We need to do more than just make a shiny panel, and
pretty effects, to "break free from the decadence." We need to work on ways to
empower the user, rather than trap them into our metaphors.
Back to Reality
One very common issue that has come up in my eyes more, as I go back into
cleaning up gnome-icon-theme to remove old icons, and prepare it to be
relicensed to LGPLv2.1+, is that we have a lot of useless emblems. The original
idea of using emblems for metadata searching in the Eazel Nautilus was indeed
a noble one, but I think they went ahead on the implementation a little too
headstrong. Emblems have two distinct uses in the current implementation. You
can set some as custom tags on a file or folder, and some are hidden
from the user choices, and only presented to display certain properties of
files or folders to the user. The former, I think, should be considered to
be tags and not emblems. As tags are more specifically the same as
categories, it would probably be best to pull category icons and let the
user choose from them, and allow the user to set custom tag/category icons
as well. As for emblems, these would be the latter type of usage, and the
icon theme could provide all the necessary emblems to represent properties of
files and folders. This would give us the clear separation we need, and allow
the themes to be metter maintained and handled.
Currently, I am working on removing a number of these emblems as we speak.
A large number of them either duplicate other emblems or categories, or they
just make no sense to have, such as the "distinguished" emblem. What exactly
is it distinguishing? I thought all the emblems were to be used for that.