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Re: Brief descriptions in menu entries

On Sunday, Oct 26, 2003, at 19:20 America/Denver, Ben Burton wrote:
Windows users don't freak out because Internet Explorer doesn't say "Web
Browser" in its menu entry, nor that "Outlook" doesn't mention "virus
propogator^W^WEmail" in its.

Windows users typically have somewhat less software installed because of
its non-free nature.

A standard install of Debian will not result in more than one or two browsers.

This is taken out of context.  The prefix will not be the same for
every entry in a given menu.  It would be something more like:

Applications -> Internet -> Web Browser (Galeon)
                            Web Browser (Konqueror)
                            Web Browser (Mozilla)
                            Web Browser (Mozilla Firebird)
                            Mail Client (Evolution)
                            Mail Client (KMail)
                            Mail Client (Mutt)
                            FTP Client (KBear)

Yes, and that makes it even worse. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right-- create another level of menu:

Applications -> Internet -> Web Browsers -> Mozilla

If that's a bad idea (because there's too few entries to be useful) then so is your proposal, for the same reason.

And at any rate, window managers designed for hard-core users are free
to ignore the genericname entry, just like they all ignore longtitle ATM.
However, environments such as KDE that already include generic names in
their menu entries can make use of the generic name field to their

They *already* do that, from what you say. I don't see an advantage yet.

Remember, this is not about changing the title field with an immediate
impact on all systems.  This is about adding a new genericname that can
be used by more user-friendly window managers that find it appropriate.

But there is already a way to get that basic info: by using your desktop environment's menu. New users will most likely gravitate towards KDE or GNOME, and use that environment's menu. If they're using windowmaker or gwm, they probably know how to use man(1) to figure out what a program does, or even *gasp* run it to find out.

Let's do our new users a favour and not make their lives harder.

FWIW, the one new user I have significant experience with told me on
several occasions that she wished she knew what all the debian menu
items were.  She was using KDE, and pretty much avoided anything that
came through the debian menu system because there were too many apps
with non-intuitive names that she didn't know what they were for.

That's great-- she had the KDE menu to show her the basics, and the Debian menu for when she feels like playing around a bit. Emphasizing to her that she can't actually break anything by running a program, and showing her how to kill them from the window manager if she gets truly freaked out, is probably all that is necessary. Something like this will affect the usability of Debian-- negatively, IME.

Also, remember: the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".


P.S. Please don't reply to me directly, as per Debian list policy.

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