segusoLand Frequently Asked Questions
Why was the development of segusoLand terminated?
There were technical and conceptual problems.
segusoLand's main features were 1) narrowing 2) abstraction from
the concept of "location". While the former was proven to be a good
feature, the latter has manifested some intrinsic problems:
Therefore, in segusoLand's successor, the idea
of abstracting from the file system was abandoned.
- A file manager that abstracts from the concept of "location",
using only single-word associations, is not scalable to distributed systems: if
the user clicks the concept "Michael Jackson", which files should
segusoLand show? All the songs by Michael Jackson in the computer, or
in the whole internet?
- The removal of the concept of location forced us to introduce the
Index of Concepts, which in turn caused the problem of deciding when a
word is related to a concept. For example, is the word "panel" related
to the concept of "customizing the mouse pointer icon"? One may think
there is no relation, but someone else might come from Windows and
look for the control panel. There are many unexpected
relations we cannot foresee.
- Reindexing the file system caused problems of speed and
What the heck does sniggerproflig... snegourkaland... "segusoLand" mean?
"seguso" is my nickname (I know there are people who are more
fortunate). Seguso was a tennis player whose name I found to be
I got many complaints about this. I am evaluating the
possibility to change the name to Universal Wizard, Seguso Smart
Selector, Personal Slave, Portable Assistant, Mr. Jesus Christ.
Suggestions are welcome. The renaming (if any) will be done before
What kind of user does segusoLand target?
The primary target is someone who is not a computer illiterate, can
already use another OS, but wants to quickly switch to Linux, without
spending time learning anything.
This is why segusoLand must not be learnt. You already
know how to use it. Believe it or not :-)
However, we feel segusoLand is good for the computer illiterate and
the expert too.
What is innovative about segusoLand and what isn't?
The innovation of segusoLand is the actual means used for hiding
irrelevant informations: "reciprocal list narrowing". This means that
there are many lists (verbs, programs, files, devices...), and
selecting an item from any list X triggers narrowing of X
itself and all the other lists. For example, selecting a
program "gimp" hides all programs that don't make sense with gimp, all
files that can't be opened by gimp, all actions that cannot be
executed by gimp, and so on.
Another innovation is that the narrowing is cumulative, i.e. if you
select two or more items (possibly from different lists), you only see
the items that make sense with all the selected items. For
example, if you select both k3b and a pdf file, you don't see "Burn
audio cd" because it doesn't make sense with the pdf, and you don't
see the printer because it doesn't make sense with k3b.
There are also other (less important) innovations: segusoLand is
the first program of this kind that can be task-oriented
(verb-oriented), file-oriented, device-oriented, and
program-oriented. Traditionally, start menus are program-oriented or
task-oriented; file managers are file-oriented and device-oriented,
and wizards are task-oriented.
segusoLand is also the first program with the ambition to provide a
uniform interface: you do everything with the same paradigm
(e.g. you shutdown your computer the same way you play an mp3).
What's the big deal? I see no difference with a context-sensitive
popup menu. Why don't you simply use a pop-up menu, instead of the
verb panel? Maybe activated by right-clicking?
segusoLand already has a widget for displaying context-sensitive
actions: the "verb panel". This widget is a "narrowing menu", i.e. a
generalization of a traditional context-sensitive menu. It is like a
context-sensitive menu in that it shows only the actions that make
sense with the current selection. But it is more powerful:
- Its items cannot only be executed, but also selected and
deselected. This is useful because selection triggers
narrowing of files/programs/devices. So, selecting from a
narrowing menu affects the contents of other
menus. Traditional context-sensitive menus don't do this.
- The items in segusoLand's verb panel must not necessarily be
clicked LAST. On the other hand, a pop-up menu requires you to FIRST
select a file, THEN choose the action. This is not always
- A traditional pop-up menu appears when you right click on ONE file
(the file you right-clicked). But its contents actually depend on all
the selected items in the window. This is misleading: you always have
the impression that the menu is relative to the clicked file, and not
to all the selected files.
- Since segusoLand's verb panel is always visible and always open,
the user can see the content of the menu as it changes, as he adds
items to the selection. On the contrary, for a traditional pop-up
menu, you can only see its contents when you open it (hence the name
pop-up :-)). This costs a click, is less "immersive", and does not
make evident that its content depends on the cumulative selection. The
user ends up believing that the content of the pop-up menu depends
only on the item he right-clicked, not on the whole selected
Why don't you remove devices? They are useless.
Nothing could be farther from the truth: selecting the device
triggers narrowing, i.e. all files/verbs/programs that don't make
sense with it disappear. So, selecting a device FIRST makes you spare
time LATER, when you must select the file. That's the beauty of
I read the Human Interface Guidelines. About not hiding complexity, but
showing it as much as possible, you are completely crazy. Then why
don't you add a panel for choosing the printing resolution? After
all, that is configurable too.
You have misread the Human Interface Guidelines. The guidelines state
that you should not hide the options that your program offers. This
does not mean that the program should offer any possible option. It
would be extremely silly to add a panel in segusoLand to change the
printing resolution, because selecting a resolution would not result
in any more narrowing than already happens when selecting the printer.
On the other hand, a program such as kprinter had better not hide
the option to change the printing resolution.
The screen is just too cluttered initially. It will scare the
newbie, defeating the purpose
This has been solved with the introduction of the concept panel. See
the screenshots page.
How do I start a new action? Everything has disappeared.
Deselect one or more items by clicking them again. The options will
reappear. Also have a look at the "deselect all" button.