Shuttleworth: Unity shell will be default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 (ars technica)
Posted Oct 26, 2010 1:11 UTC (Tue) by rgmoore
(✭ supporter ✭
In reply to: Shuttleworth: Unity shell will be default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 (ars technica)
Parent article: Shuttleworth: Unity shell will be default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 (ars technica)
The thing that's broken about folders/directories is that they impose a hierarchical model of file relationships that doesn't necessarily represent our mental model of their relationship. Each file has many properties, and I may care more about one property at one time and another property at a different time. If I sort them into a directory structure, that inherently imposes one specific organization on them that may make it difficult to find what I want if it turns out that I care about a different thing. That may not be a big deal if I'm looking for one specific file, but it can make life very tough if I'm looking for a whole class of files that may be scattered across a whole directory structure.
As an example, I'm a photographer. I tend to sort my photographs into folders first by the year when I took them, then by a general subject (e.g. pictures I took when hiking), then by more specific criteria depending on the subject. That's OK when I'm looking for specific pictures- I can narrow things down a lot by remembering an approximate date and subject- but it's severely limiting if I want to do something more.
I may want to do something more complicated, like search for all photos taken in a specific location, or taken with a particular lens, or with a shutter speed slower than 1s, or even all pictures taken within 1/2 hour of sunrise. Those are all criteria that I might want to consider using, and they're all things that I potentially could search on based on the metadata within my images*. But I obviously can't sort my pictures into folders according to all of those criteria. The only practical approach is to have really good support for metadata searches. There are currently programs designed specifically to support that kind of searching for photographs, but it would be better if it were supported at the OS level.
*My camera can automatically geotag my images, which would let me sort them by location or even let me calculate local sunrise time and see if they were taken close to sunrise.
to post comments)