Link (impossibly generic systemsettings and system monitor): GNOME & KDE Developers Go To Battle Over A Name

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at
Sun Jul 24 02:30:56 BST 2011

GNOME & KDE Developers Go To Battle Over A Name


I've been saying both "system settings" and "system monitor" are 
impossibly generic names, all along!  Now this... how to put this 
politically correctly... "entirely foreseeable" namespace pollution and 
misrepresentation is coming home to rest!

Seems the short term solution (at least for the settings tools) as hashed 
out on the relevant lists is going to be dual names for both gnome and kde 
versions.  The native DE version (regardless of whether one is running kde 
or gnome) will be simply "system settings", while the other one will be 
labeled with the DE name.

But, the gnome folks don't (at least presently) show their settings app 
in other than gnome and unity anyway.  kde system settings is shown in 
all DEs because it's the way certain options in common to all kde apps 
are configured, and users may wish to configure them regardless of the DE 
they're running at the time.

So, in gnome, the gnome version will be system settings, while the kde 
version will be kde system settings.  In kde, the gnome version doesn't 
show up, and the kde version will be simply system settings.

I don't like that idea for a couple reasons.  One, an app should have a 
consistent identity to avoid confusion.  Two, as Emmanuele Bassi mentions 
on the thread (he also mentioned my first point, but less clearly I 
thought, so I didn't quote him there):

> the real solution is to make it unnecessary (or even conflicting) to
> install the KDE system settings shell under a Gnome environment, and the
> Gnome system settings under a KDE environment;

He explains...

> these are configuring the system settings, and you can hardly have two
> systems running at the same time on the same machine.

Actually, you can; that's the whole point of virtual machines, where the 
system running inside the VM doesn't even necessarily know it's running 
in a VM, but the point is valid and is one I've made repeatedly on the 
topic myself: global settings should be global settings and shouldn't be 
confused with application (or DE specific) settings.

As he then states...

> applications should not be configured through the *system* settings;
> and both system settings shell should configure the same services.

Exactly.  Why should I find settings applying only to kde apps in an app 
called system settings at all?  Those aren't system settings, they're kde 
settings, and recognizing and labeling them exactly that would have 
prevented this situation in the first place.

If I'm configuring system settings, they should apply to gnome and kde 
(and generic X and qt and gtk and tk and fltk and ncurses and CLI and... 
as well, where appropriate) universally.  If I'm configuring only kde 
settings, the name of the configuration tool (or dedicated category 
within a common tool) should reflect exactly that.

The same principle holds for user-specific vs system-global settings as 
well.  If it applies to only the current user, the name should reflect 
that.  If it applies to the system as a whole, including other users, the 
name should reflect /that/.

Simple namespace rules, really.  Devs have been working with them for 
years and the techniques for doing it right are well known and NOT 
particularly difficult.  Simply be scope aware and consistently choose 
names reflecting that.  It's NOT rocket science!

But regardless of my disagreement with the short term solution, it's 
quite fortunate this came up now, as the desktop summit is coming up and 
now that the subject has been raised and the principles laid down, it's 
quite likely that a reasonably decent longer term agreement can be 
hammered out there, or at least reasonable progress made toward that end.

It'll be interesting to watch as further developments occur in kde 4.8 
and beyond. =:^)

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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