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Re: Opinions welcome: Restructuring the system menus

Jeff Spaleta wrote:
> On Dec 16, 2007 10:50 AM, Stewart Adam <s adam diffingo com> wrote:
>> As well, I've got 29 applications listed under 'System Tools'. I
>> understand that not everyone does because it obviously depends on which
>> packages you have installed, but many entries do similar tasks
>> (Terminal, Konsole, Konsole Super User Mode). A lot of space could be
>> saved by putting them into a submenu.
> submenus... by default for all usage cases?  I don't think this makes
> any sense at all. How common is it to have KDE and GNOME installed?
> Are we talking about fixing an issue that maybe 1% of userbase has to
> be annoyed by?  And if we did have submenus are you talking about
> hiding all similar applications down in a submenu exposing no
> application choices at all in the System tools menu? That also seems
> very wrong for a default.  Doesn't pretty much mean people are going
> to reach for alacarte to place their prefered applications in the
> higher level menu to avoid navigating the submenus for every
> application?  I don't see how pushing duplicates into submenus by
> default avoids the need to customize the menu layouts thanks to  the
> bounty of too many choices.

I suppose the argument that users should just customize their own menus is a
valid one, but we could use some improvements for the UIs available to do that.

I wouldn't want a massive quantity of submenus, such as 'Text Editor' and 'Other
Text Editors', etc, for each and every place there is duplication.  But for
separation of the basic *GTK based* versus *QT based* applications a submenu
would work nicely, see next comment.

> What we need to do is start tracking things like recently used, or
> most used, or preferred in a meaningful way on a per user basis to
> give users the ability to quickly access things they (or the community
> at large) commonly use. Isn't the online desktop initiative playing
> around with that sort of application sorting?

I despise menu setups that change dynamically... hiding less used features takes
more time when they are used and you know where they *should be* but are not.
The Windows dynamic start menu is practically useless for instance when you
access a great number of applications each day, and hidden menu items likewise
takes longer if you know it should have been 20 items down the menu but is
hidden.  I think the more familiar a user becomes with a menu system the less
effective this type of a priori guesswork is.

Why couldn't we have KDE menus defaulted to a submenu when logged into Gnome,
and vice versa?

For instance, have:
Games -> submenu 'KDE Games' -> listing of KDE games one per entry
      -> listing of Gnome games one per entry

This way access to KDE games is fast enough because the submenu is at the top of
the list, and gnome games are shown in the primary menu when you select Games,
just one listing lower (or two if you have something for XFCE as well).

> I'm really not sure there is a good fit default menu configuration
> that is going to please a large enough segment of the community.
> Consistent use of generic and program names, I think we can all agree
> helps avoid confusion, but I'm not sure there will be consensus on
> what a default menu should look like for a cluttered install which
> deviates from a default selection of packages for in Spin.

You're probably right that concensus will be difficult, but the current clutter
doesn't really make any more sense than using prolific submenus does.  At the
minimum there needs to be a way to tell which desktop the listing originated
from, even if its nothing more than a background color or different menu font,
an asterisk at the front of those desktop files that come from another desktop
ui (in gnome all kde menus have *, in kde all gnome menus have *), or anything
else.  A marker of some kind would make sense.

Andrew Farris <lordmorgul gmail com> <ajfarris gmail com>
 gpg 0xC99B1DF3 fingerprint CDEC 6FAD BA27 40DF 707E A2E0 F0F6 E622 C99B 1DF3
No one now has, and no one will ever again get, the big picture. - Daniel Geer
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