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Re: Menu Policy - please read if you maintain a package with a .desktop file in it!

On Thu, May 13, 2004 at 10:58:29PM -0400, Richard Hally wrote:
> Once you get past that 20th century-command line mentality, you'll be 
> ok. ;)

And Red Hat even recognizes this, to some degree (that's why the
Terminal was stuffed into the System Tools submenu in the Red Hat 8.0
era, IIRC).

> There are billions of people that use computers that never see 
> the command line: If it's not on a menu it doesn't exist.

This *almost* matches my thoughts. More precisely, I think it's more
like "if it's not reachable via the GUI, without having to know the
program's name in advance, it doesn't exist." For instance, Mac OS X
programs tend to show up in an "Applications" folder on the hard drive
rather than in a menu. Perhaps there could be a folder, somewhat like
this (and reachable from the "Places" menu in Nautilus) could be used to
avoid overloading the menus. (I say "somewhat" because in some sense the
Applications folder in OS X also takes the place of RPM, insofar as it
can be used to install or remove the typical OS X program.)

Or perhaps there could be a "Show More Programs"/"Show Fewer Programs"
toggle in the menu, which would explode the menu with everything that's
installed or trim it back down to the Red Hat defaults. This would be
sort of like the little menu expansion tab thingies in Windows ME/XP,
except it would not attempt to adapt itself to the user, and perhaps
would be less annoying as a result.

FWIW, under Mac OS 9 (arguably the best real-world OS from a usability
standpoint) the normal setup was to put very few programs into the
menus, and to leave the rest accessible via the file manager. The x most
frequently used programs were also placed in a "Recent Applications"
submenu (the typical value of x was something like 10 or 15). However,
it was pretty easy to make a submenu with an entry for each file on
your hard drive, if you wished. (BTW, the Apple Menu also existed as a
folder in the file manager, and that's how the menu was edited.)

I'm starting to ramble a bit, but hopefully somebody will find this
feedback useful. One last point: IMO we need some sort of functional and
easy menu editing before we can deal with this problem in a sane manner.
Without that, we're going to be whacking at problems with a hammer when
we really need to use a screwdriver, so to speak.

-Barry K. Nathan <barryn pobox com>

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