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Date:      Sat, 16 Apr 2016 18:37:59 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        "Steve O'Hara-Smith" <>
Subject:   Re: Ports upgrade script
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <> <>

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On Sat, 16 Apr 2016 17:08:10 +0100, Steve O'Hara-Smith wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Apr 2016 17:08:37 +0200
> Polytropon <> wrote:
> > Terminology sidenote: The thing is called a directory, not "folder";
> > "folder" is the name of the graphical representation of a directory. :-)
> 	Introduced in order that people would not be frightened away from a
> new user friendly operating system by scary technical terms and instead
> have something familiar.

Wrong. Earlier representations of the directory (which today is an
integral part of a hierarchical file system) was the filing cabinet.
This metaphor did not survive.

Funnily, the thing we call "folder" is not recognized in Germany as
an "Ordner", even though it is typically called that way - the icon
rather symbolzes a thing called "Schnellhefter" or "Mappe", but a
kind that is not used in Germany. Still, nobody calls them "Hefter"
or "Mappe".

Look into any field of technology or science: They all have their
established terminology, and when you want to do something in that
field, you should learn to recognize, understand and use that
terminology in order to communicate with others.

Because people love car analogies, here's one: "I just got into my
metal box, pushed the faster-pusher and rolled to the colorlight
at the X. Then I moved the rotator and used the stirring stick.
But the liquidpointer was down and I needed a pullcar to get home.
The makeheilman said I needed a new puffturnblock and tooth box."
You surely understand the intention of this text, but it's really
hard to read. Now imagine new car drivers would start talking that
way because they "cannot be bothered learning" how things are

In IT, this is not different. Using the correct and established
terminology actually makes the userfriendliness possible. This is
no difference if we take words into account or icons. What symbol
is used for TV? CRT with bunny-ear antenna. And to save a file?
A 3.5" floppy disk. Those objects are not part of the environment
those functionalities are being used in, but "from generation to
generation" the knowledge of their meaning is taught. And that is
why we don't replace words consisting of letters by icons depicting
the things we want to communicate about. And because we use a
language to communicate, I think it's worth we use the correct
words for things. From the point of view of language science, it's
important to see the relations of "is a", "looks like a", or "is
a symbol for a" as we use the terminology.

Of course terminology heavily depends on context. When you talk to
mainframers, they say things like "job deck" or "data card", they
also say "file" and "dataset". And in the context of this discussion,
"directory" probably is the preferred word to be used.

> This worked fine until you tried to explain to the
> hide bound office worker that it was called a folder because you keep files
> in it and they looked over to the wall of files containing folders
> containing documents and were puzzled.

Files containing other files and directories are usually called
archives. Or databases. And why should you put a folder into a
folder? This doesn't fit! :-)

> Then they found that things moved
> the wrong way when you scrolled them and your day just got worse.

Don't scroll folders. Scroll the filing cabinet if it has wheels. :-)

As I said: It was just a _little_ sidenote about terminology. You
don't call your files "dog-eared sheet of paper", you don't call
your media files "spool with perforated celluloid", and you don't
call your mailserver "bob". You may now continue to see me as a
language nutsee. :-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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