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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Directory versus folder

It is directory. A folder is a directory. Always has been.

While taking in my daily dose of Usenet, I came upon this quote.

"Unfortunately, Linux does have its share of obtuse terms that take ordinary terms and applies them in its own peculiar way to its system."

Now, think about that for a second or two and cast your mind back a few years. Before MS rehashed everything standard names for files and directories was the norm. Along came Microsoft and a whole swathe of familier names for files, directories, text files etc suddenly became files, folders, documents all stored under something called My Documents. Some operating systems however still use the old familiar names. In fact, only Microsoft stands out as being the one who decided renaming was a necessity. Of course it isn't but then we are talking about Microsoft who are renown for making standard terms their own to the detriment of everyone else.

Pre MS = Directory
MS WIndows = Folder
Linux = directorydirectorty

Pre MS = text file or word processor file etc
MS Windows = Documents (catch all)
Linux = Text file, word processor file etc

My pre Linux and BSD days was dominated by the lovely AmigaOS which gave the various files and directories their proper names as Linux and BSD do to this day. Then along came Microsoft with their assimilate method of business during which they started changing all the standard file names, directories and common use words and phrases the computer world has used since computers first came to be. The Linux platform still uses all of these common names, words and phrases but MS systems and Microsoft themselves do not, did not and probably never will.

This has lead to a dearth of users coming into the world of the Linux platform and being mystified by name changes. They see this as fault in the Linux platform when in fact the fault lays with years of brainwashing done by Microsoft with their own changes. Nobody is ever born with the knowledge to use a computer operating system. Each one must be learnt of taught. Only then will full enlghtenment behold the user. But when people come from the Microsoft world into the Linux based one they immediately assume all names should be the same as they are under the Microsoft operating system. This of course leads to the now becoming all to familiar cries of "I can't find this and that". Blame Microsoft, not the Linux platform which still calls a spade a spade, unlike Microsoft who calls a spade a shovel.

Here is what someone said to me on this subject not so long ago.

"I used to know what a file is, until Windows came around and gave directories little "file" icons and changed the name to "folder", which sounds too much like "file" for my taste. Files are now called "documents", even though many files aren't documents at all. So Windows is the obtuse one. I'm glad to be back where things are given their proper names, rather than make-believe names that confuse things by making them seem like things that they really aren't."

And that just about sums it up.

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