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Of applications and documents

From: David Adam Bordoley
Subject: Of applications and documents
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 22:43:42 -0400

Stefan Urbanek requested that I forward this email from the linux step general list to you guys. Greetings, Let me introduce myself. My name is dave and I have been somewhat active in gnome over the last year or so, mostly with an interest in usability. I've lurked on this list for a while with some interest, and thought i might add some comments following some of the recent discussion about what applications should be included in linuxstep. My first instinct is to reply that linux step should include no applications at all. Of course I mean this figuratively. Instead i think linux step has a real opportunity to escape the traditional application metaphor and instead provide a documented oriented view of the user's system. In general what this means is that the ui will not expose the user to implementation detail of of applications at all. For instance instead of having an email client, the user would have a mailbox on there desktop whose icon relays information to the user about the status of their mail (ie. whether there are unread emails, new emails etc.) The user need not be aware that they are using an email program, they are simply manipulating their mail folder.
This concept can further be expanded to other types of documents. Instead of
managing folders using a file manager, the user directly manipulates the folder (there is no proxy between the user and the folder. This is very similar to how the original macintosh finder worked until they broke it in osx). Of course I should add that ideally linuxstep would abandon or at least supplement the traditional unix filesystem with a database oriented search one (reiserfs may provide a solution here, although I'm not too familiar with the details).
I claim no originality for these ideas (they've been around in some form for
at least the past 15 years, probably longer). I really hope linux step is able to deliver, it seems like a very promising project.

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