[Patch] #29984 Change file permission using octal numbers

Scott Wheeler wheeler at kde.org
Fri May 16 11:19:56 BST 2003

On Friday 16 May 2003 10:10, Dominik Seichter wrote:
> No, I think it is really obvious, because the number changes as you click
> on the checkboxes and the check boxes change as you type a number.
> At the beginning most users won't care, but after sometime they will
> probably see that changing the permission is faster if they just have to
> type the number in the line edit.

I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the user base.

*) Most users will never change the permissions on a file using KDE -- ever
*) Most of those that do don't know octal permission notation
*) Most of them don't care to learn octal notation
*) Many of those the do know octal permissions (i.e. me) don't particularly 
want to use it in the GUI
*) The current dialog is already confusing

The basic driving assumptions for this going have have been:

(a) It will be clear if you have a direct mapping between the checkboxes and 
octal permissions.

No, it won't.  It might be for some with a fuzzy idea of how the permissions 
work, but for most users it will just be unintelligible noise.  Really -- 
unless you're trying to study it, most people won't make much sense of "When 
I check this checkbox it goes from 0700 to 0500 and this one makes it 4500.  
If I check these four it's 0644..."  And I think a fair number will wonder 
why the hell those seemingly random numbers change every time they click 

(b) KDE should help users learn octal permissions.

This has been a basic assumption here that I don't see any validity to.  Why 
should a desktop user want to learn them?  We're developing a desktop, not a 
Unix training course.  (With this I mean that whether or not we do this 
should be based on what we can teach users, but what makes sense for the 

Again, my opinion on this is that it will be a benefit to very few and 
confusing to a great number of people.



I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb 
as the next guy. 
--Richard Feynman

More information about the kde-core-devel mailing list