dash: can't discern between two files or folder with identical names

Bug #798445 reported by Krister on 2011-06-16
This bug affects 24 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: dash

1. create two folders/files with the same name (in two different locations).
2. press the BFB ("Big Freakin Button" aka Home Button) and search for that folder/file name

see that there is no way to tell which folder/file is which.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.04
Package: dash
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.38-8.42-generic
Uname: Linux 2.6.38-8-generic i686
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
Architecture: i386
Date: Thu Jun 16 17:50:38 2011
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" - Release i386 (20100429)
 PATH=(custom, user)
SourcePackage: dash
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to natty on 2011-04-21 (55 days ago)

Krister (thekswenson) wrote :
Brian Murray (brian-murray) wrote :

This is actually a unity bug not a bug in the Debian Almquist Shell (dash).

affects: dash (Ubuntu) → unity (Ubuntu)
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Perhaps this is a subject for UDS regarding redundance then of dash, gnome-activity-journal (which displays the path of a file beside systray function) and activity-log-manager (which is available with Precise).
When the dash gets a function to display the path of a file it races some thoughts,
- allow to configure which files are displayed (white-black list)
- alternatively respect the configuration of activity log manager(s).

In case it also displays further properties, e.g. file size, date of change, creation, allowing more and more functions a user should be in the position to simply (excludes playing with system files and cli) configure preferences in order to be in control of privacy and system settings.

Marked as incomplete, pending design feedback

Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete
Changed in unity-lens-files:
status: New → Incomplete
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
John Lea (johnlea) wrote :

We are working on a solution to this problem, but it won't land in Precise. Thanks for the bug report!

Noel Grandin (noelgrandin) wrote :

I have 2 suggestions

(1) create tooltips for the files and folders which display the full name

(2) when there are duplicates in the search results, switch from just displaying file names to displaying a compressed representation of the path, preferably just the parts of the path that do not overlap.

Nat Wilson (njwilson23) wrote :

Suggestion (1) wouldn't be very helpful when there are more than two or three duplicates. For example, there may be a "figures" folder associated with dozens of projects, and it would be time consuming to use the mouse to hover over each result for a tooltip. Something automatic or keyboard-accessible might be better.

Felix Haller (felixhaller) wrote :

I can confirm this problem. especially for pictures taken by a camera. They are all named "PICxxxxx.jpg" or something like that. But one can't see in which folder it is located.

Maybe a tooltip (when hovering the search result) would be a solution even if this is not the best one.

Yes, it seems like it would be a good idea to include the folder name in
the Dash Preview.

Is this bug still being looked at? I see no activity since October 2012. For me it makes the dash search pretty much unusable for files - when it finds a file or folder I have no idea whether it's the one I want or a copy or backup. Even when it only finds one item, unless I am _certain_ that I don't have another file with the same name (which is asking a lot with the 1000's of files I have) I can't trust that it's found the correct one. I was hoping it would be fixed for Raring but I see no activity here.

PaulN (paul-m-noonan) wrote :

Confirming that this bug still exists and needs to be fixed.

I have to use Nautilus to be sure that I am working on development scripts rather than live scripts. From the dash search feature, there is no way of knowing the location of a file you are about to open.

Stephen M. Webb (bregma) on 2013-07-26
Changed in unity:
importance: Undecided → High
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → High
Changed in unity-lens-files:
importance: Undecided → High
John Kim (kotux) wrote :

In Precise, since right-clicking doesn't show me file properties, I see two folders without a clue of which is which. I will have to manually open it to find out. I can't tell which folder will have to appear first.

description: updated
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
tags: added: precise
Andy Bovett (abovett) wrote :

Still no action on this? I just tried the Saucy beta 2 and it's not been fixed. I was really hoping it would get addressed soon - it renders the "files" lense pretty much useless to me. Given more time and knowledge I'd try to address it myself, but as it is all I can offer is to help with testing and bug reports.

John Cottier (j-cottier) wrote :

It seems a fundamental problem to me. Even without the duplicated name problem, its pretty important to be able to see a file path to know where is it located. The only way at the moment is to open it and then do save as to see its path. A mouse over popping up the path would seem the obvious solution. Hope this get fixed for 14.04.

Krister (thekswenson) wrote :

I'd prefer a mouse-free solution since I rarely use the mouse!

Andy Bovett (abovett) wrote :

I have just upgraded to Trusty and this problem still doesn't seem to have been fixed, or even assigned to someone. I'm amazed it's not getting more attention - does anyone actually use the "file" lense, or do most people really not have files with the same names in different folders? For me it renders what could be a useful and powerful feature of the interface completely useless (this is not hype - I cannot use it unless I am sure it's finding the master copy of a file and not a backup).

Denis Prost (denis-prost) wrote :

This is also to me the main dash problem. I have backup directories and want to easily know which is the original file/directory and which is the backup one. Having no indication about it is very user-unfriendly.

Andrea Azzarone (azzar1) on 2014-06-11
tags: added: needs-design
Andrea Azzarone (azzar1) on 2014-12-03
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Denis Prost (denis-prost) wrote :

I just wanted to know what that status change means.
Should users provide some proposal about how to implement it ?
If this is the case, I should simply propose to display a tooltip showing the file path when mouse pointer hovers over it.

Stephen M. Webb (bregma) wrote :

The status change indicates this bug requires input from the Ayatana design team before and more progress can be made in the Unity desktop shell software.

Denis Prost (denis-prost) wrote :

Thanks for the answer, I understand.

please, complet this bug. its very important to see full path

Will Cooke (willcooke) on 2015-08-26
tags: added: rls-w-incoming
summary: - can't discern between two files or folder with identical names
+ dash: can't discern between two files or folder with identical names
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