Avoiding Problems by Avoiding Decisions

Ingo Klöcker kloecker at kde.org
Tue May 18 00:33:31 BST 2004

On Monday 17 May 2004 05:04, Don Sanders wrote:
> After reading Jason Keirstead's post and following his links I
> suggest that in addition to this the flags should be removed as well.
> FWIW that is what GNOME and Red Hat have decided to do. I think the
> flags are the cause of more insult/offense than the names and that it
> makes sense to completely remove them.

IMO it's ridiculous to remove all flags just because there is a handful 
of controversial ones. Did you even consider the impact on usability?

Just for a minute think about the billions of illiterates out there who 
will most likely recognize the flag of their country but who won't be 
able to find their country (or their locale) if it's only listed with 
its name. Not that it matter much. Because for an illiterate a desktop 
in his native language is as good a desktop in the xx language. Right? 

And what about KPPP which also lists country names because the providers 
are for obvious reasons categorized by country names.

Or the timezone configuration of the clock applet. Oh my god, the 
timezone is identified by flags and city names. Removing the flags 
would be a cool idea because then the user would have to read all city 
names (provided he can read) instead of simply looking for a flag that 
looks vaguely familiar to him. But why categorize timezones at all by 
countries/flags/cities? Why don't we simply replace this by a 
KHalfIntegralNumInput and let the user select the offset of UTC?

Or the keyboard layout selection. Currently a nice flag with an 
overlayed country code is shown. What do you want to do about layouts 
like de_DE, de_CH and de_AT if the flags are removed? They would be all 
displayed as "de".

And what about the kids? Did you think about the kids? They will no 
longer see all those nice colorful flags and ask what country they 
represent. But that's good, right? Because then you won't risk your kid 
asking inconvenient questions about country Foo that you have a problem 

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