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GoboLinux Rethinks The Linux Filesystems 859

Posted by timothy
from the deep-linking dept.
dolbywan_kenobi writes "GoboLinux is an alternative Linux distribution which redefines the entire filesystem hierarchy. In GoboLinux we have paths such as /Programs/XFree86/4.3/ and /System/Settings/BootScripts/Reboot." By design, GoboLinux is quite a bit different from most Linux distributions, and -- notably -- is a live ISO, always nice.
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GoboLinux Rethinks The Linux Filesystems

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  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:54PM (#5926445)
    I'm not a fan of Windows at all, as a matter of fact I can't stand it. However, it would be unwise to dismiss things purely because they are similar to how Windows implements them.

    Just my 2 cents...
  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TwistedSpring (594284) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:56PM (#5926457) Homepage
    I've always held that the filesystem organisation in linux is the primary reason that new users find it hard to get to grips with. Names like etc, bin, var, usr, are meaningless to newbies, and novice users can get confused with /usr/local/share vs. /usr/share Hopefully gobo have also sorted the Installing-a-program bomb-blast, i.e. as soon as you install something it scatters a million files all over the filesystem in different directories that makes it impossible to keep track of and (sometimes) impossible to completely remove if you compiled it rather than used a package manager. It's about time this was re-vamped if linux is to become a viable desktop OS.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Epistax (544591) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xatsipe}> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:58PM (#5926480) Journal
    Kind of stupid that since M$ is evil, you automatically declare everything about them wrong and anything else to be better. M$ has the most understandable file system I have ever seen. Extensions are a huge plus. Drive letters instead of arcane codes specifying various IDE devices, etc. Anyone should be able to use a computer without knowing a damn thing about it, beyond the input and output.

    What I don't like about the M$ scheme is that they still wont accept "/" instead of "\", and they have a real boner for treating compressed files as directories.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:59PM (#5926487)
    I don't think it's you...
    Why on earth could one want to change a fine hierarchy that's been there for eons into something that would require either a gigantic $PATH variable or something like a /usr/bin with symlinks to all programs?
    You don't want to change your $PATH for every application you install, and if you have a central pool of symlinks you really should place your applications there instead of only symlinks..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @01:59PM (#5926490)
    Maybe we should have a file system like Windows, such as: /XFree86 /Program Files /Documents and Settings


    It would sure simplify system adminstration for those coming from a Windows background. Do you know how confusing for a newbie it is to see directories like /bin /sbin /usr/local/bin /usr/local/sbin /etc /lost+found ??!!! It's so confusing trying to figure out what goes where. And when they ask for help, someone tells them to just do a "rm -rf" in the root directory. Brilliant!! Part of Linux's problem is its insane file structure. Even I can't find things sometimes, or at least wonder why in the world some things are where they are. Couple that with the fact that every distro sticks things in different places and you've got a real mess on your hands. Just look at the state on fonts on XFree86. Why do we need so many font directories?
  • Bad, Terrible Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:00PM (#5926497) Journal
    This is a terrible idea... It makes a complete mess of the Unix filesystem, just so that the distro maker doesn't need to edit /etc/ to include /usr/lib as well as /lib

    The only minor problems I have EVER experienced with libs/headers is that some will install themselves in a subdirectory, and software that uses it expects it to either not be in a subdirectory, or expects the subfolder to be in the LD/C/CPP path. That is easilly fixable, and this distro doesn't address that issue at all.

    Hey, why make a mess out of the Unix filesystem anyhow??? If you want is a bit less complex, throw in a few symlinks. No need to cause all sorts of #%@^ to happen with this type of hack.
  • by baywulf (214371) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:03PM (#5926517)
    Except that for a command line user, longer names mean more typing. In Windows 2000, we have "Documents and Settings" as the base directory for users. Not only is it long but it has spaces which complicates the typing. Yes I know there is tab completion but it still can be a problem when names start the same way.
  • Will never work (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:07PM (#5926538)
    I suspect this system will be quickly snubbed by the Linux elite who actually spent days and hours learning the arcane Unix/Linux directory structure. (The "We've all mastered it the hard way, so you should too!" mentality). This mentality is so pervasive on Slashdot. Every time someone says something the tiniest bit negative about Linux usability, a bunch of people post comments to the tune of "Linux isn't for inexperienced people like you" or "Go back to Windows" etc. This kind of thinking is part o what is keeping Linux out the mainstream. What's odd is that many of these same people espouse the Mac OS X for its ease of use and simplicity of design. "It's so easy even my grandmother can use it!" they say. But if they curse their grandmother for trying to use Linux because she's not skilled enough. Huh??
  • by rusty0101 (565565) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:09PM (#5926552) Homepage Journal
    which is not what 'ls' displays. 'ls -l' will, but then you have quite a bit of other stuff showing up in the list. Colorization can help, but someone has made some really lousy color choices along the way.

    Perhaps it is just me, but Yellow on White, and DarkBlue on Black just don't strike me as wise color combinations considering that a significant portion of the population will have trouble seeing one or the other, and possibly both. I know I have problems with these combinations.

    Visually adding an astrisk '*' after an executable is also handy.

  • by SilverSun (114725) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:11PM (#5926562) Homepage
    This complete BS. cyphering any kind of metadata into something stupid like a three letter file extension is a very stupid idea, even for Bill G.! (it wasn't his of course)

    Every half decend FS developer knows, that modern FSs will be databases (see BeOS, Longhorn, etc...)
    This makes arbitrary hirachies like the one proposed by GoboLinux guys superfluous and offers a natural way to attach all necessary metadata to a file (like _if_ it can be executed, or what program might be able to open the file, who is allowed to do what with the data and of course inwhich category the file firs)

  • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TwistedSpring (594284) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:15PM (#5926585) Homepage
    There's definitely a certain amount of fear of change being exhibited by the linux users who've posted before i did. Linux is an evolving OS, if you don't let it change it'll never have the chance to be what you want it to be; a windows-beater. Personally I use windows 2000, though i did spend half a year with only Linux installed on my machine, and I administer linux and BSD servers. My dad recently installed Lycoris [] linux, and it looked like a step in the right direction. I don't advocate Linux as a good desktop operating system, it simply doesnt have the application base to compete yet, what it does have is a lot of applications that nearly do what the commercial apps do, but don't quite. This is mostly due to a shoddy windowing system (X) and a nonstandard way of programming for window managers (do you use QT, or GTK?).

    Do you want more people to use Linux or not? Or are you happy to be an elitist group who prefer to keep linux usage Your Secret. If you pride yourself on being able to navigate the Linux filesystem, maybe you should learn some new skills, like being able to adapt to change.

    This post was not directed at the Anonymous Coward above, it's just general observations prompted by his sarcastic response :)
  • by Hanji (626246) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:16PM (#5926592)
    Perhaps you're looking at it incorrectly. It seems to me that the real solution would be to make tab-expansion case-insensitive. I'm not saying that this is practical, but case-sensitive filesystems and paths really only add a major annoyance to a system, rather than any great benefit.

    If anyone knows a reason why case-sensitive paths are a GOOD thing, please respond. I really would love to know - they just seem annoying as hell to me.
  • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mdfst13 (664665) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:16PM (#5926597)
    I think that this operates rather backwardly. Instead of making /bin a symlink to some new directory, it would make more sense to make a conglomerate directory that includes the contents of /bin, /usr/bin, etc. One can do this comparatively easily in a GUI environment (or in a database filesystem--it's just a matter of query structure).

    There are several problems with symlinking all */bin directories to another directory. First, some of these directories are put in different places for good reason--/usr/bin for system apps, /usr/local/bin for locally installed versions that may clash with system apps, ~/bin for user apps. The /opt structure exists to separate out packages so that they don't conflict with other apps (like GamBas and Gaby do by default). If you put them all in the same directory, you are stuck with name clash again. Further, /bin, /sbin, and ~/bin usually have different file permissions. For most desktop users, this is unnecessary, but do we really want a different underlying file system structure for desktop distros than for server distros?

    I would rather that all versions of Linux retain the same underlying file structure. Any changes that need to be made to make it easier for people to understand are better made at the view level rather than the functional level.

    That said, I do think that it is good that people are starting to think about how to make file systems more understandable for newbies. I just don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Keep the good; replace the bad; add enhancements. That's improvement.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phoxix (161744) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:17PM (#5926601)
    Have you ever used OS-X ?

    It has a similar file system structure.

    I believe that if we really want to have an OS dedicated to the masses, this very much is the direction to go.

    Apple wouldn't bet their company on the same concept if they didn't didn't believe it as well.

    Sunny Dubey

  • by arevos (659374) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:23PM (#5926627) Homepage
    If you think the Unix filesystem isn't a mess currently, then either you have to look again, or you're using a floppy distro under 2 meg in size.

    Even when you know what each directory is meant to have in, which the rather excellent LFS is good at doing, it's still an awful system. In fact, if you know where everything goes and why, it's even harder not to consider it a bad system. Unix was alright in its day, and certainly better than some other popular operating systems around now, but I'd hardly claim that the standard filesystem for Unixes is anything but a hack upon a hack upon a hack.

    Personally, I really liked the idea of reorganising directory structure. Unix isn't perfect, and can, in many, many, many ways be improved.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:23PM (#5926629)
    "Anyone should be able to use a computer without knowing a damn thing about it"

    No. Stupid people should not be allowed to use computers. People should know how to use computers, not how to click and drool.
    Stupid people sitting at a keyboard are hazards to the rest of the computing world. They wreck data, they spread viruses, the break hardware, they waste IT support time, they cost businesses money.

    If stupid people were kept away from keyboards and stayed at home in front of a TV set where they belong and left the computing world to those that understand it, things would go smoother, there would be less computer problems,far less virus problems, much less IT support time wasted, and business would save a lot of money..

    I fail to see why computers should be dumbed down for the dumb. It makes no sense.

    Don't understand your computer?? Stick to your Playstation 2, and use your Gameboy as your PDA..

  • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TwistedSpring (594284) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:25PM (#5926637) Homepage
    One day you will realise that not everyone is a COMPYOOTAR EXPART and you will understand why microsoft does not let new computer users mess around in the system files. May I point out that some distros of linux also hazard you on meddling with core system files.

    There is such a warning in windows 2000 and XP, but remarkably, you can turn it off, and it never shows up again. Microsoft windows (to SOME VAGUE extent) caters for people who know what they're doing as well as newbie users (admittedly I would like options to never delete to recycle bin, and to disable irritating confirmation dialogs, but these are minor niggles), and it's very sensible for them to assume you know nothing on a clean install (since if they assumed you were an expert on the first install, new users would be dumbfounded).

    If there were no newbies, there would be no experts. Everyone is a newbie at some point. I certainly was. So give them some assistance instead of crapping all over them.
  • by lokedhs (672255) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:31PM (#5926658)
    No they shouldn't. Plain and simple. Case-insensitivity has no business in a file system.

    Allow me to expand a little on why this is the case:

    Case-insensitivity is a complicated business as soon as you leave the simple domain of the english language, and this is the reason you usually only head english-speaking people wanting case-insensitive file systems.

    An example: German has a letter ß, which in upper case becomes SS. tchüß -> TCHÜSS. Now, when lowercasing, you can't just map SS to ß, instead it becomes ss. I.e. TCHÜSS -> tschüss.

    Do you start to realise the implications this has on a case-insensitive file system? (the question to answer is: is "tchüß" and "tschüss" considered to be the same file?)

    It gets worse. In french, as spoken in france, the letter ë is converted to uppercase E. I.e. citroën -> CITROEN. But in Canadian french, it becomes Ë. I.e. citroën -> CITROËN.

    When you start to bring in other languages, for example the Japanese full-with and half-width latin characters it starts to get really messy.

    In order to handle all of this in a case-insensitive file system the file system itself needs not only to be aware of the intricate details of character encodings and casing for different languages, every single file system operation would also have to look at the currently selected locale in order to determine wether two names are equivalent or not. If you believe this is simple, read the FAQ's at the Unicode [] site and you will never again suggest that the file system should be case-insignificant.

    However, making a user application work independently of case in file names is a reasonable idea. However, it would have to be specified by the UI framework, for example Gnome. I'm not sure exactly if that idea would work at all since I haven't given it much thought.

    I'm so happy the Unix file system is case-significant.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samhalliday (653858) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:34PM (#5926672) Homepage Journal
    dont be ridiculous... those FS are designed with efficiency in mind, and careful refining of 30+ years of UNIX experience. just becuase the FS hierarchy is different from windows is not a good enough reason to change it. people worry too much about how these 'newbies' are goign to think about GNU/Linux, when in the end, getting used to a new filesystem is not a hard thing, with some form of "intro to GNU/Linux" book in front of you you can learn the basics in a day. add on top of that, end-users (non-root accounts) do not even NEED to see the FS hierarchy, they see /home/$USER and that is easy-peesy to understand.

    /usr and /usr/local are entirely different things, and not the worry of users. they are also very intuitive. /usr is standard system stuff, /usr/local is locally hacked stuff, so i can place 'my' hacked version of any program in /usr/local and override the system one (if i were the sysadmin).

    this whole FS reshaping is a rediculous idea and goes against everything the LSB [] has been tryig to fix, since there are so many deviants of GNU/Linux. i hope this distro dies off damn quickly... (how to lose all your karma in 10 seconds)

  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wotevah (620758) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:34PM (#5926675) Journal
    Drive letters instead of arcane codes specifying various IDE devices, etc. Anyone should be able to use a computer without knowing a damn thing about it, beyond the input and output.

    Hmm, are you talking about those self-rearranging drive letters Windows uses ? Have you tried adding a second disk and see all your old drive letters suddenly change ?

    Some people prefer to know where each device is, regardless of the other devices' locations. Except at installation time, you do not need to know the names, and I believe "mounting" a device into a directory is much more intuitive than assigning it a random "drive letter" that requires special path handling. Mac people have no problem mounting volumes after all, and desktop Linux GUIs are slowly moving in that direction.

    It is the letter drive system that is the archaic one because MS-DOS did not have a unified filesystem on top of its block devices, and we probably still have it today for compatibility reasons.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oyenstikker (536040) <(slashdot) (at) (> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:37PM (#5926687) Homepage Journal
    Would it be possible to have some sort of combination of file system and organization such that:

    /bin/someprogram/ == /usr/someprogram/bin/
    /lib/someprogram/ == /usr/someprogram/lib/
    /log/someprogram/ == /usr/someprogram/log/
    /etc/someprogram/ == /usr/someprogram/etc/
    /share/someprogram/ == /usr/someprogram/share/
    /bin/all/ == /bin/*/* (== /usr/*/bin/*)
    /lib/all/ == /lib/*/* (== /usr/*/lib/*)

    rm -rf /usr/someprogram would completely delete the program, no having to go into /usr/bin/, /usr/share/, /etc/, /var/log/, et cetera individually.

    Your $PATH would only need to be /bin/all/, your $LDPATH would only need to be /lib/all/

    The same form could be followed for 'info', 'man', 'sbin', 'lock', 'include', et cetera. You could have programs in /opt/ and /local/ as well as /usr/, and /bin/, /lib/, . . . would also pull out of those.

    Just me foaming at the brain.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:42PM (#5926711)
    That wasnt the point dumbass. YOu are able to drive your car, but a computer automatically calculates the gas/air ratio, when to shift, when to stop accelerating the back left tire because it's slipping, and you shouldn't have to know how your power stearing works or that you even have power stearing. You shouldn't have to know how to make gasoline or how oil is purified. You shouldn't have to know how your lights work inside or outside the card, how the dimmer switch dims your radio too, or even how the speedomoter knows that your going 40 MPH. You shouldn't have to know and measure the optimal running temparature, and you shouldn't have to open your gas tank to see if you're running low on gas.

    In short, cars are made easy so that everyone can use them for a benefit for themselves and others. They don't have to know how they work in order to use them. Computers should be the same way. Users shouldn't have to know how a TCP/IP stack works in order to use the internet.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:45PM (#5926723) Homepage Journal

    I never found file extensions intuitive. Because they can only be three letters long they tend to condense to cryptic symbols far away from every intuition. .BAT files don't fly around during the night, and .COM files don't talk to the COM ports (except you have a serial mouse and MOUSE.COM as driver ;) )

    Not wanting to jump on you for stating your opinion, but why on earth not? File extensions can be any length you want nowadays (er as of win95..)

    Personally I find it alot easier to recognise thet blah.jpg is an image compared to simply blah.

  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Blkdeath (530393) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @02:52PM (#5926761) Homepage
    sorry, but their file system is ass for anything beyond simple procedures... if you are trying to fix driver installations or uninstallations manually, or find your outlook express settings and address book to back up onto cd, then it sucks

    I am glad you said that, sir. A long HEX string to represent an Outlook "identity"? Why not just name it the name of the identity, or the numerical order in which it was created? For that matter; why not put the danmed thing with the rest of the users' "Application Data" for chrissake?

    Of course - because the NT filesystem layout is designed for a single user with multiple users kludged on top. Putting people's application settings (/data) as a trailer of the Windows install directory? So now we have to hunt down their individual Application Data as well as the "Identities" for their mail client (Oh, and unless you've backed up their Outlook identities from their original, fully functional copy of Outlook, you can't get them back. Mail folders and address book, fine, but not their account information. What an architecturally advanced system!)

    And drive letters? Forget the first three (A, B, C) - they're reserved. Floppies and boot volume. The next one or two are scrapped for removeable media (DVD-R and CD-RW?), then something like Nero creates a virtual CD-ROM image device, let's call it 'F'. Now we're fundamentally limited to 20 additional drives/partitions - including network mounted filesystems - in our "easy to use" filesystem design. Is it any wonder NTFS now has the functionality to mount volumes as paths? Why, isn't that just emulating the sensible UNIX method that's been around for years? What happens in Windows when the, oh, say, \Windows directory gets a tad full? \Program Files perhaps? Well, we'll just remove \Windows\Fonts to a separate volume... Wait! Drive letters don't do that! Let's look to UNIX for answers!

    Now we move on to "Program Files". What an oxymoron that is! Half the installed application gets dumped into \Windows\System anyways, which forces you to go through "DLL Hell" trying to uninstall any application. "I don't know, it's shared, but are other programs relying on it? Will my system cease to function if I say 'Yes' to any of these 54 'Shared' DLLs?"

    "My Documents"? One folder, stamped on the root of the filesystem? What is it, the computer's documents? But wait - Win2k and XP have moved it to the oh-so-simple to find (not to mention making so much sense) location of "\Windows\Application Data\Username\My Documents". Sure; I'll bet any joe blow can find their documents there! (Doesn't the Windows directory come with a disclaimer that you'll irreparably damage your system if you touch the voodoo within? But how will I ever retreive my "My Documents" shortcut, errantly deleted from my desktop! My documents can harm the system? (Well, macro viruses, but hey ... ))

    Now then. "Temporary Internet Files". Great idea; now if only they'd stop defaulting the bugger to 10% the total drive space! NO, I would not like to dedicate 12GigaBytes to temp files, thankyouverymuch. Same goes for you, Mr. Recycle Bin! I have to purchase a spare 40GB drive just to give me the 120GB I initially paid for!

  • by the uNF cola (657200) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:00PM (#5926797)
    Well, you say it slows down tab completion, but I'm not sure I see why.

    I write Java. So I have class names like RoundObject and WebSite. Well, not that verbatim. But anyway, if I type shift-r+, I still get RoundObject. Now if you aren't a touch typist, i'd sligtly agree. Otherwise, shift-r vs r isn't that much slower. Hell, typing in English forces you to type that stupid shift key quite fast.

    Now if you mean in terms of string compares, how much faster do you need a tab completion to be done?

  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:05PM (#5926826)
    I beg to differ. I think people SHOULD know how things work. People seem to know which celebrity is bopping which celebrity, what they ate last, what their farts smell like, what color underwear they wear but they have no clue how to use a standard transmission, have no idea where oil or gas comes from beyond the pump, no idea what that big thing is under the hood and the vast majority have no idea how to even change a tire.

    Dumb people do society no favors. They contribute nothing to the betterment of mankind. They are for the most part, burdens because others have to carry their burdens for them. If people would spend more time improving themselves and less time worrying about other poeple's business the world would be a better place and they would be better off as people and could actually contribute something to society.

    We are here to better ourselves, not to be stupid cattle consumers. Do you want to go through live being a dumb consumer? Personally, I take everything I get apart and learn every thing I can about it. I *LIKE* learning, it's GOOD.

    Just being dumb lemmings is a terrible waste. There is more to life than 24/7 parties, booze, football, TV...
    Work to better yourself and you help to make the world a better place. Ignorance is not beneficial to anyone...
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhoenixK7 (244984) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:07PM (#5926835)
    Really it "smacks" of OS X more than anything else. /Library /System /Applications.

    Personally I dislike the windows filesystem hierarchy, especially the whole "Documents and Settings" thing. I much prefer /Users//Documents or /Users//Music.. or whatever. "Documents and Settings is more than just documents and settings, you can stick anything in there. Image files, documents, music, programs etc..
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:17PM (#5926885) Homepage
    You have no right to judge how people live their lives. Disagree if you want, but don't go feeling all smug and supperior because you're doing something that other people aren't. That's just ego stroking over your hobby.

    Do you understand anything about people? Different people are different in different ways. While you may like to think that people don't want to sit down and understand are stupid, you're ignoring people who don't have time for things, or simply aren't interested in learning something. Part of how humanity has moved forward (besides designing tools that reduce work by not forcing you to spend years in university for every appliance you own), is by specialization. I can't know everything about everything if I want to get anywhere in life. As early as grade 9 I need to start specializing the classes I take towards an eventual career if I want to be in that career by my mid-20s.

    If thinking you're better than other people because you know about computers is how you base your fragile ego, I really want you to go outside into the real world and do some growing up. Your intollerance is disgusting. Grow up. No one is better or worse than anyone else because of what they know, people are only better or worse because of how they act. Your actions leave much to be desired.

    People like you are the reason that most people stop reading Slashdot or Kuro5hin.
  • Re:Great Idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by praksys (246544) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:22PM (#5926912) Homepage
    Your analogy is damn near perfect, although it might not get you the conclusion you want. In "Seeing Like a State" [] James Scott argued that all sorts of government actions are driven by the need of government to re-shape society so that it is more comprehensible from the point of view of government beaurocrats. He gave street plans as an example. In old cities you find very complex street layouts, with lots of twists and turns, and dead ends, and different sized streets. Locals who live in these places have no problem understanding all of this and finding their way around. In fact these old disorderly layouts often make a good deal of sense given the local geogrpahy. Still, to outsiders who visit, and to the government that is trying to manage all of this, it looks like a mess. They much prefer orderly grid layouts that can be comprehended at a glance, and managed easily.

    I think the situations with the layout of Unix filesystems is very similar. "Locals" have no trouble finding their way around, and even find that the layout makes a good deal of sense. Unfortunately Unix is getting a lot more visitors than it used to, and those visitors are starting to feel like tourists in Venice (i.e. lost). If you want those visitors to find Unix "useful" rather than "quaint" you need to re-think the street plan.
  • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AvantLegion (595806) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:38PM (#5926998) Journal
    when in the end, getting used to a new filesystem is not a hard thing, with some form of "intro to GNU/Linux" book in front of you you can learn the basics in a day.

    And you've summed up the problem nicely. Most people sit at a PC and learn Windows *without* a book, as names like "My Documents" (guess what goes there: your documents!) and "Windows" (hey, I bet all the files for Windows are there!) are intuitive enough to be understood without a book.

    Contrast with /usr/local/, /lib, /usr/lib, /usr/bin, ... not even close.

    Do people really imagine future computers using such archaic relics like these file systems? I'm real sure Data busts out the symbolic links when Picard & Co. are on their little escapades....

  • Thank god (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code (49548) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:41PM (#5927013)
    I've been suggesting this for a long time, and I usually only get blank stares. I have yet to find ONE good reason to maintain the "traditional" unix filesystem layout on a desktop machine (well, even server, but let's not go there).

    The Unix tradition of splitting up applications by *type of content* instead of *application* is crazy. Thre are two bad reasons: 1) "Hey, I can throw every little binary in 'bin', go me!" 2) "Hey, I can throw every little library in 'lib', go me!". Parts of an application are hardly ever dealt with seperately. Does anybody install only the binaries of an app, and not, say, it's libraries?? or it's docs? No, these all belong to a cohesive unit that should be installed, uninstalled, moved, and run together.

    As for #1, when your primary interface to the OS is a GUI desktop, having every piddly executable on your system in one directory doesn't really confer any benefit. As for #2, not all applicatinos need to use all other applications to begin with, and for those who do, why should those libraries not then be considered reusable common libraries, and then and only then, linked or put in a common place?

    The system i'd propose would look something like this:

    all applications have a structure like:


    All user applications live in: /apps/[appname]

    You may choose to symlink the nested app dirs into /apps/[bin,lib,doc,conf] if you wish, like Stow does.

    All "system" apps (e.g. stuff that is typically in /sbin) live in a mirror structure at: /sys/[appname]

    Again, any utility binaries or common libs *may* be symlinked into the base /sys dir.

    Application configuration would live with each app, no more throwing every fscking config file into the mud pit of /etc.

    Things like 'man' would index *into* the seperate app dirs, not the other way around.
  • by AvantLegion (595806) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:43PM (#5927021) Journal
    Do you know how confusing for a newbie it is to see directories like /bin /sbin /usr/local/bin /usr/local/sbin /etc /lost+found ??!!!

    Not just for newbies. Here's the question: is there ANYTHING inherently "better" about the old UNIX filesystems compared to possible alternatives?

    What advantage is there to /usr/lib and /lib over "/libraries"??


    The staunch unwillingness here to seriously consider alternatives makes me think the Linux community is not NEARLY as "forward-thinking" as claimed.

    I use Linux too. I dual-boot a Linux (Gentoo) and a Windows (which one depends on speed of PC) on all my machines except my LAN server (that's Linux only). Linux is my main OS. I've learned the file system. But I will not pretend that it's intuitive or something that we should fight to preserve.

  • by Three Letter Acronym (665094) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @03:48PM (#5927050)
    Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch. Wow, I'm really suprised at the venemous reaction from you guys. Now, no matter what you think of this idea, some of the things I've seen posted here are disgusting.

    All this is is a different filesystem in ONE distro. It's not being federally mandated, nor is it going to become a standard that you have to deal with. It's one group's solution to what they perceive is a problem. If you don't want to use GoboLinux, then don't. There's no reason for everybody to pull out their pitchforks and torches.

    I even read some post where the guy said something along the lines of I hope they die a quick and painful death. That's fucking pathetic.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jd142 (129673) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:00PM (#5927098) Homepage
    I am glad you said that, sir. A long HEX string to represent an Outlook "identity"? Why not just name it the name of the identity, or the numerical order in which it was created? For that matter; why not put the danmed thing with the rest of the users' "Application Data" for chrissake?

    Yes, that's a real os problem there. Good thing Mozilla doesn't put all your information into a randomly named directory. Sheesh. (Ok, so it may not be random, but it's different on every machine I've ever used; I haven't bothered to look up their method of determining the name of that folder. You can change it; that's just the default. But that doesn't stop it from being a funny practice that needlessly complicates matters.)

    Now we're fundamentally limited to 20 additional drives/partitions - including network mounted filesystems - in our "easy to use" filesystem design. Is it any wonder NTFS now has the functionality to mount volumes as paths?

    Yeah, it's a good thing that Windows hasn't used unc names since at least win95 and NT 4. Oh, wait a minute, they have. Typing \\server\directory is sooo much more difficult than /mtn/server/directory.

    Now we move on to "Program Files". What an oxymoron that is! Half the installed application gets dumped into \Windows\System anyways, which forces you to go through "DLL Hell" trying to uninstall any application.

    Yeah, I hate it when an os has all these shared libraries living in different directories and programs require a specific library. I never know if it's in /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, /opt/bin or some other place.

    But wait - Win2k and XP have moved it to the oh-so-simple to find (not to mention making so much sense) location of "\Windows\Application Data\Username\My Documents".

    So, have you ever used w2k and xp or have I just been trolled? I guess c:\documents and settings\USERNAME\my documents is too difficult? That's the default location and has been for several years.

    So I guess my question is, did I just get trolled?
  • Re:Explanation. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmetz (523) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:03PM (#5927117) Homepage
    I don't think he needs a lecture. We all know the reasons why they slowly added new directories.

    And they are all asinine.

    Users want stuff to work. They don't care that 20 years ago hard drives were too small to fit all your files or that some weirdo grouping of your programs allows you to share parts of the installation across your non-existant network of linux machines. My login script has over 60 lines dedicated to finding moron binary directories like /usr/local/X11/bin and /usr/local/java/bin. This is not acceptable.

    I'm not sure if this gobolinux stuff is the solution but at least it isn't happy with the status quo. IMHO the biggest problem with linux is that the users don't think there's anything wrong with it.
  • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:05PM (#5927127) Homepage
    "Obviously, someone who is only using the command line, if all they need to know if a file is a directory, link, executable, or other." In case you didn't notice Konqueror (et al) tell you what a file is based on its actual type, instead of an arbitrary extension. It is quite capable of telling you if a file is a movie, OO.o document etc and assigning the right icon, and without the foolishness that changing the extension f^ks everything up - which enhances security by making it harder to try and fool the user into running an executable they think is a jpeg.
  • Re:Thank god (Score:2, Insightful)

    by suntse (672374) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:28PM (#5927216)
    "I have yet to find ONE good reason to maintain the "traditional" unix filesystem layout on a desktop machine (well, even server, but let's not go there)"

    No matter what version of unix, or unix-like OS I log into at work, I already know the filesystem hierarchy, and I don't have to waste any time looking around in a bunch of random directories for the information I need. Once I learn the filesystem layout for any unix, I roughly know it for every unix.

    "Does anybody install only the binaries of an app, and not, say, it's libraries?? or it's docs?"

    Yes. There are these things called "shared libraries". The nice thing about them is that, no matter how many apps are using them, I only have to install one copy them. If I put all the libraries for an application in a directory for the application, I'd have to install say, all the gtk libs, for every gtk application on my system.

    "As for #1, when your primary interface to the OS is a GUI desktop, having every piddly executable on your system in one directory doesn't really confer any benefit."

    First of all, please don't tell me what my primary interface to my operating system is. Secondly, if your primary interface is a GUI desktop, then it doesn't hurt to have all the apps under bin, either. Most users don't run applications by browsing to the specific app on the filesystem in a file manager. The run the applications from a menu, or an icon. This provides a virtual directory structure, that is abstract, that allows a GUI user to organize their applications as they want, without breaking the standard filesystem layout.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ozwald (83516) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:30PM (#5927221)
    I'm not sure if the directory structure really needs to be changed, and forcing backwards compatibility with symbolic links couldn't look all that pretty after awhile.

    But I think the problem of inconistency is already bad. Is a program going to install in /usr/bin, or /usr/local/bin, or /usr/appname/bin? Configuration, logs, same. Don't get me started on /opt.

    What may be better is for package managers and install scripts to look for standardized environment variables to know where files should be installed (with a default ofcourse). Is $APPPATH=/apps acceptable?

    But this will happen no sooner than hydrogen powered cars....

  • by andyr (78903) <> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:38PM (#5927248) Homepage Journal
    Notice also that the superuser's directory is no different than the ones from the other users, so, gobo's directory is at /Users/gobo.

    A severely bad idea.

    A lot of systems I maintain have NFS-mounted home dirs - /home/ is on another machine.

    When the sh*t hits the fan, I need to be able to log in - as root. The last thing I need is root's home dir inaccessible.

    There are decades of wisdom behind Unix, most of which I have no desire to re-learn. Not broke ? Don't fix.

    Cheers, Andy!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:43PM (#5927269)
    >>I even read some post where the guy said something along the lines of I hope they die a quick and painful death. That's fucking pathetic

    This is why Linux will never succeed on the desktop. The guy is making a change that could improve usability. It may work. It may not. But before it is given a chance to succeed, all sorts of losers come out of the woodwork and denounce him for even trying.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sique (173459) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @04:54PM (#5927321) Homepage
    Not wanting to jump on you for stating your opinion, but why on earth not? File extensions can be any length you want nowadays (er as of win95..)

    Even though newly generated files can have arbitrary length for their file type extensions, you still have all those old conventions with you. Up until now most of the file extensions are three letters, and a lot of them have cryptic forms.

    And: Having now up to 254 letters for your file basename gives you 253 letters for the file extension, but it doesn't solve the problem: Why on earth should the format of the file put into the filename?

    You have an example:

    Personally I find it alot easier to recognise thet blah.jpg is an image compared to simply blah.

    But I say: Why not call the file blah.picture? Or put it into the picture/ folder? There are several ways to mark a file being a picture, and using a shortened version of an abbreviation not everyone is familiar with (how many people dealing with graphic files have ever heard of a Joint Picture Experts Group?) is not intuitive to me. Your mileage may vary...

    What we have to deal with is the fact, that there are dozens of metainformation for the files we either know, we mark in the file names, in the paths we put the files in, in the internal file structure and so on.

    One often proposed solution for the dilemma is to get rid of all those conventions we adhere to and to go forward (or back) to data base file systems. All the meta information you want to store with a file gets converted into attributes, and the file system is just a huge database, selecting the files according to the rule set you give him. For a more elaborated version check The Naming System Venture [] by Hans Reiser of ReiserFS fame.

    Having only one way to sort our files due to the hierarchical file system and then putting everything else into conventions and file name extensions is not intuitive.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sique (173459) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @05:04PM (#5927400) Homepage
    you are an idiot. In NT/2K/XP you can rearrange the drive letters all you want. There are mount points. RTFM before you bash something that you are so very ignorant of.

    No, I am no idiot. You are just proving my point. What special meaning do drive letters have if you can just arrange them the way you like? Why even deal with drive letters, when they don't have a special semantic? Why not call a CD-ROM just "CD-ROM" instead of G:? Why not having path names /cdrom/path/to/file for files being on the CD-ROM? Why do you think G:\path\to\file would be any more intuitive?
  • by k8to (9046) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @05:07PM (#5927414) Homepage
    Okay smarty pants. Here's my directory:

    jrodman@Skonnos:~/tmp> ls

    Okay now watch this:

    jrodman@Skonnos:~/tmp> mv bongo.jpg bongo.txt
    jrodman@Skonnos:~/tmp> ls

    Now what is it? On windows, it's a text file now. Do you see the problem?

    On linux, it's trivial:

    jrodman@Skonnos:~/tmp> file bongo.txt
    bongo.txt: PNG image data, 256 x 239, 8-bit colormap, non-interlaced

    Oops, it wasn't ever a jpg! The website lied. Wouldn't it suck if your web browser didn't support mime types and had to rely on extensions? Why do you like your OS to make the same error?
  • by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @05:27PM (#5927522) Homepage Journal
    Docume~1, anyone? That'll even work with DOS (the ONLY way to get to files that make use of LFN in DOS). Of course, [TAB] completion is so much easier.
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @05:32PM (#5927546) Homepage
    Second, while case sensitive names may look confusing to you, they aren't to a computer.

    The computer works for me, so human priorities should come first.

    I think you're being misguided by the idea that file systems are for people, rather than computers.

    It is for people. The computer just needs to know to read from sector x through sector y of a particular disk, and it's perfectly happy. Anything beyond that is an abstraction made for human convenience, much like domain names or paths are there for humans; computers don't care.

    Ideally, people should never see the file system unless they're doing administration.

    And if you have a desktop computer, which is somewhat common these days, you are doing your own administration. Thus the computer should be set up to make things as easy as possible for the user.

    Looking further ahead, into the Future(TM), where the grass is Greener(TM) and everyone has a Flying Car(TM), we'll probably end up storing all of our data in databases, rather than in files. Data storage won't even care about things like file names, which will be maintained by a layer between the data store and the user.

    Filesystems already are databases. Somewhat crappy ones, but they are databases.
  • by Rysc (136391) <> on Saturday May 10, 2003 @05:59PM (#5927671) Homepage Journal
    I think that most of the resistance to gobolinux has to do with the fact that it's different, not on any merits or faults of these differences. There are a whole bunch of UNIX geeks out there, especially in the university environment, who would lose their jobs if UNIX were easier to use and more intuitive. Just because you're semi-autistic and can manage to hack out UNIX commands and use the CLI doesn't mean that you're smart, or elite or anything else other than that you have a memory for arcane trivia.

    I think most of the people cheering gobolinux on are doing it out of ignorance. A few probably are well aware of what it all means, and I am eager to hear their reasoned opinions.

    It's got little to do with it just being different. Okay, some (ie "It's different but not better so why change it at all?"), but not much.

    Gobolinux proposes changing /home to /Users. This is not less confusing, only confusing in a different way. Why would a user be looking for his files under a directory called Users (even supposing he was browsing from / to begin with?)? To the kind of nonsavvy person this is supposed to cater to, Users is not going sound like a place for users personal files, it just sounds like it from the perspective of engineers who are used to thinking in such terms. An average joe is much more likely to descend into a directory called home to see if it's his home or not.

    And notice the difference here... why /Users and not /users? The capital letter wont really matter to your desktop users, but it sure as hell matters to a command line junkie. Tab completion is case sensetive (even on OS X where the filesystem is not) and over time it's a LOT more effort to hit SHIFT+U than it is to hit u.

    I could continue like this, but I'm sure you get the idea. There are good reasons for the way things are, it's not simply a matter of intertia (although, admittedly, a lot of it is) and it is most certainly not simply a desire of the elite to keep themselves in power.

    I once advocated radical changes such as gobolinux proposes, but then I investigated why things were. And once you know why, it becomes very hard to argue to change. You become aware of what kinds of problems must be taken into account. I am sure most Linux distro's have had someone do what I did, and they seem to mostly reach my conclusion: It's hard to change, there are too many technical reasons why it might be a disaster, too many personal feelings are involved, and the system as it is Works Now. If it aint broke (or at least if it aint real broke) don't fix it.
  • by sheriff_p (138609) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @06:08PM (#5927719)
    "Those who don't understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it, poorly." -- Henry Spencer
  • by nathanh (1214) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:00PM (#5927926) Homepage
    There are decades of wisdom behind Unix, most of which I have no desire to re-learn.

    Well, to be honest, it's decades of tradition not wisdom. There's not a lot of wisdom in names like /usr and /etc. Wtf are they supposed to mean? Yes, *I* know what they mean, but I've been using UNIX for more than a decade. I'm not going to fool myself into thinking they're good names.

    Not broke ? Don't fix.

    Though that I can agree with. However the joy of Linux is that people can take it in a new and interesting ways. If this guy wants to do this then more power to him. I'd be interested to see if the idea becomes popular.

    Though surely this would have been easier with a VFS view in GNOME or something.

  • by Christopher Biggs (98469) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @07:10PM (#5927967) Homepage
    This idea has been done.

    It was called "SCO OpenServer 5", and I first used it in 1994. It was hideous. Any time you installed a traditional unix program you shat all over the symlink hierarchy and generally hosed something.

    It made mangement of vendor supplied packages slightly simpler, but the whole point of open systems is that you are not locked into dependence on your OS vendor!

  • Re:Thank god (Score:2, Insightful)

    by suntse (672374) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @08:32PM (#5928276)

    Maybe you should bone up on your reading comprehension skills before you attack people.

    all applications have a structure like: [appname]/[bin,lib,doc,conf] Read the above a few times, please. And if you are now going to suggest that the lib directories under each app will just be a symlink to /usr/lib, or something similiar... I fail to see how having a tangled mess of symlinks layered over a standard unix file layout is any sort of improvement.
  • Re:root = gobo? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Saturday May 10, 2003 @10:34PM (#5928754) Homepage Journal
    Great idea, except that everyone who reads the manual (ahem) will set the root user to 'gobo' and the password to 'gobo'. :-)
  • Re:Figures (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) < minus city> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:46AM (#5929403)
    It isn't more normal unless you are one of those poor wretches so abused by living in Microsoft's Hell that you have started to love your captors and accept them as normal. If that is you, go get some help.

    The UNIX Way has proven itself over decades. Problems have been discussed and dealt with. Go read the Linux File System Standard documents if you are interested in learning WHY things are where they are on a modern distro. There is method behind the madness, designed to accomodate the needs of a disparate collection of users with differing needs. It has to allow everything from a standalone user on a dialup machine to diskless workstations in a multi-platform environment sharing/not sharing config, executable binaries, home directories, man pages and other documentation, allow easy splitting accross several drives, etc.

    It really gets old, when Windows victims first escape over to UNIX/Linux they want to bring the old misbegotten ways over. And they get offended when us greybeards laugh at them.

    Who would anyone WANT to put each application in a seperate directory, with a seperate PATH entry? Sure that was the easy way to handle things under DOS, but we have working package management so drop the executable in /usr/bin, the shared libraries in /usr/lib/ or /usr/lib/[packagename] if there are a lot of them. Put the platform independent parts, like the docs in /usr/share and of course the user specific config goes in ~/.[packagename] and any data defaults to ~/ or ~/[packagename].

    The package manager will clean up when the package is upgraded or removed and having the user's data in their home directory makes backups easy.
  • registry == bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) < minus city> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @01:56AM (#5929429)
    No, a registry is ALWAYS bad. It is bad for several reasons, the primary one is sufficient though. It is bad because the stated reason Microsoft implemented it runs counter to the UNIX Way. Go read the Nutshell book about the registry and they explain the design goal. Make it harder for end users to 'twiddle' with settings. Yup, that was the official justification and they certainly succeeded.

    Some Windows victim will trot this stupid idea out on /. every few months, but I have yet to see one put forth a real benefit to a binary, inpenetrable, non text editable, undocumented (and virtually undocumantable, compared to the level of detail in most plain text config files) and generally unfriendly registry.

    Can some of the standard donfig files be improved? Certainly. Can the locations and naming conventions be more regularized? Can the internal format be more standardized? Sure. But eliminate the ability to control a machine via SSH over a slow serial link and you don't have UNIX anymore.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Epistax (544591) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xatsipe}> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:14AM (#5929635) Journal
    The reason I like extensions is that any program providing a directory listing can tell what a file is, and often predict what will be used to open it, without silly OS calls about each file, or worse yet, reading each file trying to figure out what it is. It is also very easy to make mistakes between file types if there is no apparent listing. Perhaps one has a text, doc, ps, and pdf version of, say a resume. Unless these are each explicitly stated in the filename (ie extension), the user has no idea which is being attached to an email being sent.

    Additionally if I download a media of any kind which I've never seen before, I would have no way of finding a program that can open it without something peering through the file, which of course implies that I need to have the whole file already. Bye bye streaming files.

    I am not, however, saying that an extensionless file should be unusable. If the system doesn't know the extension, then the type should be interpreted from the content.
  • Re:registry == bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RevAaron (125240) <<revaaron> <at> <>> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @03:27AM (#5929684) Homepage

    Judging by your loaded language and some other aspects of your post, I'm guessing you're not the kind of guy who would hear my argument, no matter how rational it may be.

    For one, I'm not a Windows victim. I don't use Windows on any desktop or notebook. Grow up.

    Some Windows victim will trot this stupid idea out on /. every few months, but I have yet to see one put forth a real benefit to a binary, inpenetrable, non text editable, undocumented (and virtually undocumantable, compared to the level of detail in most plain text config files) and generally unfriendly registry.

    There is absolutely no reason a Registry has to be binary, inpenetrable, non-text editable, undocumented or unfriendly. A registry can very well be all of these things, providing the benefits of a registry as well as the convenience that comes along with being able to edit your prefs with your favorite text editor.

    One way I see a registry could be implemented on Unix is with a proc or proc-like file system setup. With a setup like this, you would achieve the ability to have binary and text preferences. You could edit them using any text editor. You could even get pref permissions management. You would also get, at no added charge, a consistent interface to preferences and settings. What good is done for Unix with dozens of different config file formats that all achieve the same end result being used? What good is done for Unix when it's a nightmare of .rc and .conf files?

    For instance, in this proc-like registry system, things could be accessed like-

    # prints the number of processes which
    # apache starts up on boot/apachectl start
    cat /proc/prefs/system/apache/StartUpProcesses

    # Sets a preference in xtunes to look for
    # the media library in such a folder-
    cat "/home/rev/Music:/mnt/otherbox/Music" > /proc/prefs/~rev/xtunes/CheckFolders

    # what prefs are there to edit for the GIMP?
    ls /proc/prefs/~rev/GIMP

    # restore my Mozilla prefs to default
    cp -f -r /proc/prefs/~default/Mozilla/* /proc/prefs/~rev/Mozilla/


    There could also be a small API for enumerating groups of prefs, etc. It would be largely unnecesary considering the ease one can interact with the proc-prefs file system in a direct way programatically, but by that, also very thin, lightweight and easy to write. An API and proc-prefs-registry feature would be simple database-like features, allowing versioning and rollbacks for system, user, or global changes made to prefs. Not needed, but it'd be a very nice touch. Sure, some folks may be using RCS with their /etc files, but very few. With a proc-prefs registry, the RCS versioning could be done automatically and transparently.

    But then again, I suppose a system that works for users and admins isn't Unix enough for the hardcore slashkiddies out there. Every new, disparate .rc file format to pollute my home directory or /etc is blessing from god itself, right? Anything to make Unix consistent is bad, right?

    As I said, it depends on the implementation. What I have described above is a registry. It isn't binary, although a binary file could be used in a pref. It is editable with any regular editor. It does not provide a single point of failure for system prefs. It does provide users and developers with a consistent interface for interfacing with preferences.
  • Re:registry == bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) < minus city> on Sunday May 11, 2003 @05:08AM (#5929929)
    > For one, I'm not a Windows victim.

    Ok, fair enough. Itis just that I see this same argument every month or so and it is usually someone who thinks the Windows registry is just great. Now on to your points.

    I think the first thing of note is that you discussed the issue in the UNIX way, with comment lines with #. When I cat out /proc/prefs/system/apache/StartUpProcesses where will I get the descriptive comments that would appear in /etc/httpd/conf/http.conf?

    What filepath goes after vi to get all of the prefs for apache with comments? If you are going to maintain a transparent system to convert to/from registry to commented config file the argument has now settled to which format do you consider the canonical format to store in and which do you transform to on demand. I'd argue for storing in text format to make versioning and backup easy with existing well understood tools.

    I don't see much else in your proposed /proc filesystem that would actually be an improvement over a better thought out set of config files. They don't have to be as screwed up as I'd love to see the formats and locations regularized to the point where an easy to use registry like API could be provided to manipulate them in a well defined manner because it would make a lot of tasks easier.

    But of course in the end it is all a moot point for the forseeable future. No regularized system is likely to get off the ground because so much of the software we use comes from so many sources and too many authors are too quick to ignore standards. Remember that X had a pretty well developed system to manage preferences and neither GNOME or KDE used it. Think they would use ANY outsider's system? Motif stuff imported from generic UNIX will use the standard X resources in lieu of any new system. Bleh!
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thundercatzlair (539698) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @05:21AM (#5929953)
    Now *that* is funny .

    Thanks to all of you guys... this has been hilarious to read.

    I think the funniest thing is that all of you are at least partially correct.

    Here's a little idea... take a walk, clear your heads, and try to think about how the other 'side' could have a valid point, even though it doesn't exactly agree with yours.

    It just seems to me that most of these debates get so heated and out of control because the people involved in them are too close-minded to realize that there is a chance that their own opinion may not be 100% correct, or complete. It's like fricking Congress... Democrats on one side, Republicans on the other, and NOTHING gets done. Here's the thought process, IMHO:

    "I am right and you are wrong"...
    "I may not be right, but you are still wrong"...
    "You may be partially correct, but I'll be God damned if I'm going to admit it to you"

    But ya know... why should I be telling you this? If you all take my advice I won't be able to laugh at your posts... hmn... yeah, I know... that was a bit condescending. Maybe I'm hoping I get some juicy replies to this... that I can laugh at. :)

    I guess time will tell, maybe no one will reply because they have taken my advice, and world peace will ensue!!!! well anyhow... off to bed.
  • Re:Is it just me, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ahknight (128958) on Sunday May 11, 2003 @07:52AM (#5930216)
    Hate to break this to you now, but with the proper definitions passed to configure it would work just fine ... just like it does on this here Mac. =)

    ./configure --lib-prefix /Library/dylib/ --prefix /Applications/CLI/

  • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cygnusx (193092) on Monday May 12, 2003 @07:28AM (#5935408) Homepage
    That doesn't make a ton of sense either, though. /bin contains plenty of applications that a regular user will need. In particular, the shells, not to mention a TON of other apps (g[un]zip, tar, etc). Whereas /sbin contains apps only necessary for system administration. The name /boot is totally opaque to this, and would be even more confusing, at least IMHO.
    I didn't mean club /sbin and /bin into /boot/bin. I meant, /sbin => /boot/sbin and /bin => /boot/bin. /boot would contain the kernel.

    This way you could still move the 'essential-to-boot' files off to another partition by mounting 1 parition -- /boot -- elsewhere (instead of mounting 3), make it read-only, whatever.
    Well, part of me thinks that people have trouble with the Unix filesystem simply because they expect it to be organized one way (like Windows) when it's not. So, rather than trying to understand the system, they decry it as poorly designed, and refactor it so it's "easier".
    You are right in saying people decry Unix's filesystem (or Unix's GUI, for that matter ;)) because they don't understand it. However, Unix's failure to provide alternatives that make sense to different classes of users is unforgivable. Its love-it-or-leave-it image and resistance to anything that makes Joe User's life easier has cost it dearly in the personal computer market, and will continue to cost it.

    My point is simple: the traditional Unix FHS is *not ok* for joe user. The OSX FHS is. Which one a joe-user-targeting-distro should use is a no-brainer. The small mercy here is that symlinks can continue to ensure that compatibility is maintained.

Uncompensated overtime? Just Say No.