Avoiding Problems by Avoiding Decisions

Don Sanders sanders at kde.org
Tue May 18 03:44:11 BST 2004

On Tuesday 18 May 2004 09:33, Ingo Klöcker wrote:
> 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?

The usability issue that I'm concerned about is making KDE usable for 

> 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? Wrong.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

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

Perhaps I'm a little behind head CVS or looking in the wrong place but 
in my kppp normal folder icons appear next to country names in the 
accounting section.

> 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.

Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place or are a bit out of date I 
don't see any flags here just country name / city name e.g. 

> 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?

Many people may know their country name and city name but not their 
UTC offset.

> 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".

Append or prepend the country name to distinguish between them.

> 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 with.

I remember as a kid I used to enjoy looking through atlases at the 
country flags. And looking at charts of flags and trying to remember 
the country for a flag. It was fun.

For the kids in China I don't think it's a fun issue. It's the front 
line of a cold war that has been going on before their parents were 
born and is defining the shape of the society they live in. I care 
about those kids too.

If it's possible to keep the flags without offending the government of 
one of the world's most populous countries that would be great. Maybe 
it's just a simple case of not showing the flags when the locale is 
set to simplified Chinese or something. But I don't know and 
personally feel it's better to be safe than sorry.

I generally don't get involved in these types of discussions but as my 
wife is part Chinese and many of my best friends were born in Taiwan 
it's an issue I'm personally interested in.


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