Use of library names (Akonadi, Solid, Nepomuk, Phonon etc.) in user interfaces

Michael Pyne mpyne at
Sat Jun 7 21:20:41 BST 2008

On Saturday 07 June 2008, Albert Astals Cid wrote:
> > Users don't care about words or names, they avoid things that confuse
> > them. Avoid, as in "don't use and do not want to learn".
> Depicting users as idiots that don't want to learn and can't understand
> options is not a good idea. That's what Gnome decided to do and resulted in
> incredibily dumbed down programs that noone i know likes.

Depicting users as one single category is wrong anyways.  You guys are arguing 
about what category users fit in; you're missing the whole point.

> > > Nepomuk is the big example. No-one understands what it is. Even when
> > > you are actually tagging in dolphin, you have no clue, you are using
> > > nepomuk. Which is bad. If you want it to be a bigger success, users
> > > should be confronted with it.
> >
> > No one wants to understand what it is. Users want to tag in their file
> > manager. They don't want to tag in Dolphin (they don't want to know
> > that Dolphin is the name of the file manager). They certainly don't
> > want to know what a Nepomuk is.
> Again this is not about users but about KDE, we WANT people to know they
> are using KDE programs, so let's say "KMail" and not "Mailing application"
> and "Okular" and not "Document viewer"

I don't think we need to hit people with the KDE bat.  Technologies like 
Nepomuk, Solid, Phonon, etc. are so that developers can make kick-ass 
applications.  We don't make these things just so we can promote them and 
insert branding everywhere.

With that said however, these technologies are also supposed to be easily used 
by the end user, and that includes easy discoverability.  That means users 
should know when they're using Nepomuk that way they can more accurately ask 
for help when it doesn't work. ;)

I thought we already had this figured out though, as in programs in the menu 
would have a descriptive title for users unfamiliar with what the name means, 
and the name in addition. (i.e. Personal Information Manager and Kontact).

Like aseigo mentioned, it would be better for an entry saying "Configure 
Desktop" than something saying "Configure Plasma".  Not all new users are 
going to be people who frequent Planet KDE or any of the various F/OSS news 
sites.  This doesn't make users stupid, so there's no need to hide the library 
names from them.  But they are also not going to know what Plasma does with no 
help whatsoever.  Making the user Google the functionality of their desktop 
does not seem very helpful to me.

> > >> - Users who are not KDE-tech enthusiasts seeing these would be
> > >> somewhat mystified.  To give an idea of what
> > >> I mean, imagine how odd it would seem if Apple's next Safari release
> > >> had an "Enable Squirrelfish" option in its
> > >> settings to turn JavaScript on/off.
> > >
> > > I don't get this point at all. If you want to know, google for it.
> >
> > Are you kidding? Users don't google. Users avoid anything that they do
> > not understand.
> You seem to really hate users.

Either way not all users have Internet access.

Should we change our "Configure JavaScript" dialogs to say Configure 
FrostByte?  I think we should certainly be very proud of all the work Maksim 
put into it but end users are not going to know what FrostByte is.  We should, 
of course, mention it in release notes, blog about it, we could even mention 
that we use FrostByte for JavaScript in e.g. the about Konqueror dialog.  But 
it should not be the only thing a user sees when trying to configure 

> > We should not ignore the problem that has been already identified,
> > deliberately waiting for users to complain.
> No, KDE has a very wide audience, while each distro has a much smaller one,
> there's no ring to rule them all, sorry.

Distros should certainly make changes where their distribution goals and 
upstream diverge.  But we should not try to make a policy of "We will deliver 
software which is hard to use, it's your job to fix it."  We want 
distributions sending more code upstream, not less.

> > >> - In System Settings there are modules called "Nepomuk" and "Solid".
> > >> Again, I worry that many users are not going
> > >> to have a clue what these are.  For quite a while during the 4.0 cycle
> > >> the sound setup in System Settings was called "Phonon".
> > >
> > > It's all about branding. First we create a hype and then we are going
> > > to deny those words to be used in the interface?
> >
> > KDE enthusiasts have heard the branding. Not end users.
> That's why we have to communicate that branding to end users. Microsoft did
> a good work here and lots of users think "Internet Explorer" is the only
> way to get to the internet.

Internet Explorer is an application, not a library.  And either way, it 
certainly includes the clueful term "Internet" in case there was any doubt 
about what it was exploring.

It has always been the way of things that libraries get less end user 
acknowledgement.  But users don't care about libraries, developers do.  We 
certainly want to see users excited about KDE libraries, but not at the cost 
of forcing unknown terms down their throats.

> > >> I am not sure what you could use for Akonadi as its scope is very
> > >> broad.  "Akonadi Calendaring/Mail/Organisation/Backup/Tea Making" is
> > >> probably
> > >> too long for a menu item ;)
> > >
> > > Yeah, that's why it is called "Akonadi".
> >
> > How about something descriptive? I would post examples but I do not
> > want to appear cynical.
> Why did our ancestors invent the "tie" word when you can say "That item of
> clothing consisting of a strip of cloth tied around the neck"? Just because
> it's easier to say "tie".
> Something descriptive for Akonadi would have like 100 words, not a good
> idea.

So we are going to invent new words and then expect people to know them? ;)

Like you already mentioned, users are not stupid:  If they open Configure 
Personal Information Management (or whatever descriptive term fits best) and 
see that it says Akonadi everywhere they'll probably figure out that Akonadi 
== PIM.
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