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Re: RFC: fix summary text for lots of packages

On Sat, 22 Nov 2008 18:56:59 +0100, Christoph Wickert wrote:

> [...] Thunar (which I'm not owning but only
> co-maintaining) has the following summary:
>         Thunar File Manager

Forget for a moment that package name and summary are displayed close to
eachother -- or ought to be displayed like that.

Many, *many* people (except for fan-boys and people who are told to search
for a specific brand) don't care at all about the name of a program when
searching for a program. When they see the word "Thunar" it doesn't ring
any bell. Instead, it makes them nervous as they don't know whether it
matters to know what "Thunar". It could also be a special environment
which they don't know and don't want. Adding the program name makes such a
summary (and in turn the package) less attractive to these people. With
the shorter summary "File manager" they are more willing to try out the
software they don't know yet.

[This is similar to the design of desktop menus. Ordinary users would
rather choose a "Web browser" menu item (and newbies even an "Internet"
menu item) than a "Mozilla Firefox Web Browser". Sure, over time they
will learn about the name of the program they use, but that doesn't
make the original system user-friendly.]

[While writing this I remember that I need to look at the current state
of the Fedora desktop file guidelines, because our menus are still a
mess WRT Name/GenericName usage.]

> So if we remove thunar, nautilus, pcmanfm, ... only "file manager"
> remains and I have no idea how to improve this summary.
>       * "File manager for the Xfce desktop environment"? Not really,
>         because it's not Xfce specific.

Not specific, but its FAQ says "... with a special focus on the Xfce
DE". And the first line of the description says:

  Thunar is a new modern file manager for the Xfce Desktop Environment.

>       * "Lightweight File Manager"? No, pcmanfm is even more lightweight
>       * "GTK based File Manager"? We have at least 5 GTK based file
>         managers

IMO, it would be relevant to describe it as "File manager for graphical
desktop environments". Or to mention Xfce: "File manager with special
focus on Xfce".

> The three file managers are very similar in design and function, so to
> me it's almost logical that the descriptions are too. Can you tell me
> what to improve in this case?

Just "File manager" is fine, too.

>       * abiword 	The AbiWord word processor
> We have a couple of word processors and having the application's name in
> the description helps to distinguish between them.

Redundancy, which makes the package summary less clear unless you know
already what "AbiWord" is. As explained above. Acronyms, brand-names and
trademarks make ordinary users nervous. Have you ever met users who would
ask "What is an AbiWord word processor?" while looking for a "normal" word
processor? Or users who know how to surf the Internet in a web browser
that is started automatically, but the "Mozilla Firefox" icon on the
deskop confuses them and they would not click it if they wanted to start a
web browser manually (until they learn and remember the "Mozilla Firefox"

> What is so bad in
> having descriptions like "The exim mail transfer agent", "The postfix
> mail transfer agent" and "The sendmail mail transfer agent"?

It's a matter of perspective. Do you think the branding is so important as
to use it also in the summary? Does it make a package more attractive?
AbiWord is a trademark, for example. Users, who know that name, also know
how to search for it in the Fedora package collection.

  sendmail : A widely used Mail Transport Agent (MTA)

is the current summary for this MTA. Expand your list of examples of "The
%name ..."  summaries. You can do it with all other packages for a bad
precedent and decrease the S/N ratio:

  k3b : The K3b CD/DVD burning application for KDE
  gthumb : The gThumb image viewer, editor, organizer
  audacious : The Audacious GTK2 based media player similar to XMMS

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