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Re: Navigation, was Re: Idea : common dir and tree
On Thu, 27 Jul 2000, Stein Gjoen wrote:
> Dan Scott wrote:
> > On Wed, 26 Jul 2000, Greg Ferguson wrote:
> > > - Is it just me, or is anyone else annoyed by upper/mixed-case? :-)
> > > I'd personally like to see lower-case used for all the sub-dir names,
> > > but that's simply a personal preference.
> > It's not just you. I would much rather see all lower-case directory names,
> > including the HOWTO directory. It's much more in keeping with ESR's theory that
> > the common UNIX directory names evolved and were eroded into easy nubs.
> The terseness of Unix is handy to those who know it well but
> perhaps less friendy to the majority of our audience.
I couldn't let this pass without correcting my reference: it was actually Neal
Stephenson's theory, in "In the Beginning"
(http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html -- a great read, by the way). To
"The file systems of Unix machines all have the same general structure.
On your flimsy operating systems, you can create directories (folders) and
give them names like Frodo or My Stuff and put them pretty much anywhere you
like. But under Unix the highest level--the root--of the filesystem is always
designated with the single character "/" and it always contains the same set of
/usr /etc /var /bin /proc /boot /home /root /sbin /dev /lib /tmp
and each of these directories typically has its own distinct structure of
subdirectories. Note the obsessive use of abbreviations and avoidance of
capital letters; this is a system invented by people to whom repetitive stress
disorder is what black lung is to miners. Long names get worn down to
three-letter nubbins, like stones smoothed by a river."
He then mentions that Unix directory and file names at first seem "deliberately
obscure", but argues that it represents a "painstakingly compiled oral history
of the hacker subculture."
So, yes, perhaps capitalizing the first letter of each directory would make it
a bit easier for new users to find the directory they're looking for,
particularly if they had to wade through screens full of names: but for the
LDP documents we're only talking about 7 file or directory names (00-index,
index.html, html, pdf, ps, sgml, and text). And then we're structuring
our docs in a way that doesn't reflect the structure of the majority (okay, I
don't have hard numbers to back me up) of the operating system that these new
users are trying to become familiar with. I think we would be better off
sticking to Unix traditions and include a pointer to Stephenson's document for
those who want an explanation--maybe in the index.html file?
Friend of the abnormal.
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