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Re: Help to improve new package (djmount)



MJ Ray wrote:
> Justin B Rye <jbr@edlug.org.uk> wrote:
>> MJ Ray wrote:
>>> Justin B Rye <jbr@edlug.org.uk> wrote:
>>>> [...] Oh, and we've been standardising on two-word "file system".
>>> 
>>> In general, I agree with Justin B Rye's points, but for this I ask:
>>> Why???  Generally, compound nouns tend to become single words and
>>> "Filesystem Hierarchy Standard" shows the one-word version is in
>>> common usage.
>> 
>> I'm surprised to see that Wikipedia still makes it two words, but
>> I'd prefer to follow their lead.
> 
> Isn't that just a hangover of the first-used name?  In general,
> Wikipedia is not a primary source and should not be cited itself.

I'm not trying to find an authority to tell me what's correct.  I'm
pointing at primary evidence of current usage.  Wikipedia is a text
written by people who clearly know what a filesystem is and
consistently choose to write it as "file system" (and to make the 
one-word version redirect to the two-word version).  Likewise the
more technical pages such as "Comparison of file systems".

I wonder if Apple base their documentation style guide on research
about what terms normal users are familiar with?  That would be nice
to believe.  It's their support for the spelling "email" that
finally persuaded me to give up being annoyed by it; and
unsurprisingly they have two words here: 
"http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/technology/file-system.html";
 
>> As with "web server", the problem is that technical specialists are
>> always the first to think of these terms as words in their own
>> right, while the general public still sees that as obscure and
>> intimidating.
> 
> I'm not convinced by that: got data?

As it happens, I also asked two nearby users; one of them said he
would expect "file system" and the other said "file-system", an
option I hadn't considered.

Or are you asking for evidence that unfamiliar jargon is seen as
obscure and intimidating?

> Anyway, the general public is going to be intimidated selecting
> filesystem settings manually - this isn't something to be enterprised
> or taken lightly.  So, this description is mainly for specialists and
> the benefits of using the modern word (avoiding the small risk of
> confusion with a system for filing things) would seem to outweigh the
> drawbacks (the claimed intimidation).

In the man page, you've definitely got a point.  In the short
description of the package, on the other hand, there's barely any
need to mention FSs, let alone any consideration of mount options.

"Userspace" and "username" are examples of terms that always need to
be written solid to avoid interference from two-word phrases that
mean something different, but for "file system" that's not a big
risk; a system for filing things is a "filing system".
 
(I should mention that I habitually write it as one word myself.
Give me a couple of pints and I've even been known to argue that in
an ideal world we would distinguish the two terms - reserving
"filesystem" for the sense of "on-disk storage format" and "file
system" for the sense of "tree structure under /".  But that's
hardly likely to catch on.)

>> Not that there's anything wrong with "discovers X automatically".
>
> So, all else being equal, adverbs after verbs!

When two constructions are both grammatical, and may convey subtly
different senses, a taboo against one of the alternatives serves
only to restrict your expressive potential.  Consider the following
two sentences:
 - She answered the king's question foolishly.
 - She foolishly answered the king's question.
They have different natural interpretations: either she answered and
it was in a foolish manner, or she answered and this was a foolish
thing to do.  Both kinds of sentence need to be recognised as good
English, because we want to be able to say both things!
-- 
JBR
"Yrch!" said Legolas, falling into his own tongue. - JRRT, LotR


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