Ubuntu

Desktop icons are allowed to overlap

Reported by Miles Lane on 2006-04-23
412
This bug affects 67 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Nautilus
Confirmed
Medium
Nominated for Main by Dart
One Hundred Papercuts
Low
Unassigned
nautilus-elementary
Confirmed
Undecided
Unassigned
nautilus (Ubuntu)
Low
Unassigned
Declined for Dapper by Sebastien Bacher
Declined for Feisty by Pedro Villavicencio
Declined for Gutsy by Pedro Villavicencio
Declined for Hardy by Pedro Villavicencio
Declined for Intrepid by Pedro Villavicencio

Bug Description

I have some icons with long file names. Sometimes I unintentionally end up with completely illegible icon labels and overlapping icons. I have created a snapshot of my intentionally horrific example.

This problem is easy to reproduce when working with file previews (irregularly shaped images) and icons with long file names. Just create some and drag them close together, paying attention to not trigger the a file move event.

I have noticed what I consider to be a related problem. When I remove a file from my desktop or a new icon is added as a result of some program adding an entry, the desktop isn't refreshed with autoarranged icons. I have looked and looked and can find no way to make this my desktop's behavior. I think this is terrible UI from a usability standpoint. I will attach the image showing the problem.

Ubuntu development distro (6.06 + all current updates)
I have the universe and multiverse repositories added to dapper, dapper-updates, dapper-security -- main and restricted.
Currently, nautilus is version 2.14.1-0ubuntu4.

Simon Law (sfllaw) on 2006-04-28
Changed in nautilus:
status: Unconfirmed → Confirmed
Flavio (flavio-guerra) wrote :

I observed a similar problem when I sticked two removable media (a usb hdd and a usb-stick) into the usb ports.
Ubuntu overlapped them in a very ugly way.

This happened when I plugged in 2 removable media. The icons just overlapped.
I also have dapper with universe repository enabled and all updates installed.

Thanks for your bug. What do you think that nautilus should do? Prevent you to move your icons where you want because the text overlap? The automatic placement bug is known (and dapper and edgy have some fix for it), but is there any reason to prevent users to manually make their files overlap if they want too?

Changed in nautilus:
assignee: nobody → desktop-bugs
status: Confirmed → Needs Info
Miles Lane (miles-lane) wrote :
Download full text (3.4 KiB)

I proposed a approach to simplifying and solving the desktop icon layout issue about two or three years ago in the gnome.org bugzilla database, but my proposal was ignored. My belief is that Nautilus should perform icon title truncation like that which is done by Windows. So, for example "One Two Three Four -- Here's a long icon title" might appear as "One Two Three --...". Then, on a MouseOver event, the title would be rerendered in its complete form as highlighted text in a textbox. Moving the mouse pointer off of the textbox dismisses the textbox. There might need to be some maximum width for the textbox, where rediculouslylongstringsthatgoonandonforeverwithoutanyseparationcharaters get wrapped. I'm not sure how that should be handled, but I wonder how windows does it. I am all for desktop differentiation from Windows, but only when there is real usability benefit. Otherwise, meeting user expectations with desktop consistency far outweighs the benefits of tweaking UI.

The benefits I see to this implementation are:

Layout of desktop icons becomes vastly simpler, because the icon layout becomes a grid with the exception of those pesky (to me) enlarged or shrunken icons that Nautilus supports. Still, not having to contend with variable height icon labels would greatly increase the consitency of icon layout, which would (I think) lead to fewer UI layout bugs -- a byproduct of K.I.S.S.. Personally, I would do away with enlarged and shrunken icons, but everytime I mention this I get shouted down with reasons that simply make no sense to me.

On to your comment about allowing users to put icons where they want to. I disagree that this should be an option. Sure, allow users to place an icon in a region, but having icons or icon labels overlap is harnful to the usability of the desktop. I am not saying that there should be a mandatory "snap to grid" layout. I am just saying that when the grid is disabled, newly added icons should never overlap another icon unless all the desktop is filled with icons (something that I have seen my wife do with her Apple OS/X desktop for some insane reason).

In addition to the problem of icons positioned by users is the issue of icons that are put of the desktop as a result of persistent network connections, hotplug events for firewire, PCMCIA and USB devices. When devices, drives and drive partitions are detected during the setup of the desktop, oftentimes the associated icons are overlapped when the user icons are added. This is just plain wrong. To resolve this particular problem, I suggest Nautilus render user icons first, so that other mechanisms (hotplug, etc) add the icons around the user-defined icons (documents, program links, etc).

One last observation, Windows has one more feature that I find quite appealing. When the desktop is set to automatically place icons in a grid, I can click on an icon and drag it around the sequence of icons. The icons (as I am sure you know) are arranged from top-left to bottom-left in columns that stack from left to right. So, dragging an icon from the middle of the leftmost column to the middle of a second column causes all the icons between the icon's ...

Read more...

Changed in nautilus:
status: Needs Info → Confirmed
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :
Changed in nautilus:
status: Unconfirmed → Unknown
Brett Alton (brett-alton) wrote :

I can't believe I read that: "is there any reason to prevent users to manually make their files overlap if they want too?"

YES! You should prevent people from doing so; It's extremely ugly and unprofessional. Xubuntu and Windows XP both have invisible grids that icons snap to. Say if the grid has squares that were 64x64 pixels each and it were mandatory and automatic for Ubuntu to resize desktop icons (but with the ability to disable) to 56x56 (INCLUDING the text), then there would be 8 pixels of padding all the way around. This way no text would overlap and neither would the icons. If one square was taken, but the user tried to drap an icon overtop, the icon would not be allowed to move there, or as in Windows XP, it would shift that icon, and then rest below it, one more square down. If the icons reached the bottom of the grid, they would then shift one column to the right, and begin at the top again.

(Please note that I'm not sure of the exact sizes of the icons or grids, and am aware that they would be relational to the display resolution)

I'll create a composition in Photoshop or Flash if anyone is confused.

Brett Alton (brett-alton) wrote :

I made a comment on this in the Ubuntu Forums on October 26, 2006, here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=284919. I've attached the screenshot that accompanied my thread.

I also made another comment on March 5th, 2007, when I found the problem not only in 6.06 and 6.10 but also 7.04 (herd 5) here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=377055 [Please note, that this is a rant against the layout of Launchpad. I am impressed with the new interface that was recently released.]

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Why should the software forces you to use a determined grid rather than any location you want? You can move the icons in a way they don't overlap, that's easy, just dnd them until they look ok to you. What is a bug is when nautilus makes icons automatically placed overlap or doesn't wrap the text when icons are on a grid

Hello Brett,

DId you read my earlier comment on this bug report?
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nautilus/+bug/40872/comments/6
I think I addressed all the issues you raised. I'd add one feature possibility
to my earlier comments. That is, it would be great (since so many people seem
attached to resizable icons and image previews) to have all the
unstretched, regularly
sized icons arranged in a regular grid to the left of all resized
icons and previews.
This way, all the icons that can be displayed together in a regular
grid will be.
Also, I personally feel very strongly that the Gnome desktop should have an
"auto-rearrange" option, where anything that changes the desktop icons
(hotplugging,
device removal, drag/drop of icons, and adding/removing desktop icons, cause
all the icons to be rearranged and refreshed. As it is, I have to
select rearrange from
the desktop context menu every time. This is a bother and a usability problem.

Since I made similar comments years ago, I have pretty much given up trying
to get developers to make any of these changes. It just doesn't seem to be a
priority for them.

     Miles

Miles Lane (miles-lane) wrote :

On 4/17/07, Sebastien Bacher <email address hidden> wrote:
> Why should the software forces you to use a determined grid rather than
> any location you want? You can move the icons in a way they don't
> overlap, that's easy, just dnd them until they look ok to you. What is a
> bug is when nautilus makes icons automatically placed overlap or doesn't
> wrap the text when icons are on a grid

I am not saying that automatic placement should be mandatory. If you
want to place icons by hand, be my guest. However, I have other
things I'd rather be doing. I think that icon handling on the desktop
is something that Microsoft has done really well. Obviously, the icon
previews and icon resizing is something that a lot of Nautilus users
are delighted with. I like the image previews, too. I just don't
want to drag icons around to position them on the desktop. I have
better things to do with my time.

Yes Miles, sorry, I did read your comment, but only after I posted mine. Ijust got excited that I the new interface is less convoluted than the last, so I finally figured out how to post a comment! You articulated your agrument better as well.

I feel that overlapping text is amateur and ugly (see attachment). And I agree, one thing that Windows has down pat is their desktop. If there is one thing I think should be mimiked, it's the desktop. All the icons are the same size (to create consistancy), and have no overlapping text anywhere. It is neatly organized (and can be organized without auto-arrange) because of it's "snap-to-grid" function (which also limits how far the text can go on either side [see attachment again]).

If, as you say Miles, everyone is up in flames about stretchable icons, then that's great, I don't mind that feature, but when icons liks XMMS or Movie Player have icons that are bitmaps and only 8 pixels big, while a new Adobe Reader icon is 128x128 and is in vector (or appears to be) standing side-by-side, this is just embarassing. It happened when I was install a fresh copy of Kubuntu Dapper on my cousin's computer. I was trying to impress her with all the great features of Linux/Ubuntu, and how customizeable it is, and then that happened. My face went pink.

It should be mandatory (through auto-resized) that all icons be 64x64 (or a similar squared number) and so that there is consitancy. If all icons were SVG or a similar format, then the user could resize the image to their liking.

Mark Shuttleworth has spoken of making true, intrinsic beauty for Ubuntu and I believe this is a stumbling block at the moment.

If you say it's been around for years Miles, then I'm sad because I thought it was only a 6.06 error, which create my rant when I saw it AGAIN in 7.04 Herd 5. I guess if it's been around since before 4.10 (Warty), then I'll just have to fix it myself! Can anyone lead me in the right direction? [Half sarcasim/Half I seriously want to learn low-level programming and fix this (what should be a) minor problem]

Brett Alton (brett-alton) wrote :

I can confirm this for:
"GNOME nautilus 2.18.1" (current 7.04 package) and,
"Gnome nautilus 2.14.3" (current 6.06 package)

That first screenshot I took was 6.06 (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nautilus/+bug/40872/comments/9). The second screenshot I took was 7.04 (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nautilus/+bug/40872/comments/13)

Brett wrote:
> It happened when I was
> install a fresh copy of Kubuntu Dapper on my cousin's computer.

Hmm. This bug report is specific to Gnome. Kubuntu is using KDE, so
if the problem also shows up there, you need to open a new bug report.

All the best.

Ahh shoot, I meant to say it happened in Gnome, and I was embarassed/she wanted something more aesthetically pleasing, so I converted her to Kubuntu.

Changed in nautilus:
status: Unknown → Confirmed
sambehera (sambehera) wrote :

i agree with Miles Lane about the automatic text wrapping for large files in nautilus.... if this was a bug only in the nautilus file browser, it would be bearable because one can always switch views... on the desktop however .... if i have a large file "ksajdalkjdkslajdkhfjsfjdhfjkshfklhakljslajfsafas" .... it does not get wrapped to "ksajdalkjdks..." or "ksajda..." depending on my default zoom level (icon size).... but instead displays something like this...

=========
|| ICON ||
=========
ksajdalkjdk
slajdkhfjsfj
dhfjkshfklha
kljslajfsafas

and as you ca notice... this takes up valuable desktop space.... which can be used to fit more icons/launchers on the desktop.... of course... it is possible to rename these large files to have smaller names... but the entire file name for larger files should not be displayed on the desktop ... they should appear on a tooltip when hovered on... like in kde..

we are constrained with a limited screen space in a non-dynamic/non-flexible desktop environment ... (it is not a 3d desktop yet... where grid layout would cease to be important due to unlimited screenspace obtained by panning and zooming the desktop... ) so we should work within the constraints to maximize usability... (this is one aspect where gnome can use usability improvements found in windows as well as kde)

Nicolò Chieffo (yelo3) wrote :

What a pity, this bug is still present in hardy!

1 comments hidden view all 104 comments
msp3k (peek-nimbios) wrote :

This happens to me a lot when adding removable media and/or w/ scripts|programs creating files in ~/Desktop. Here's a snip of a screen shot:

Changed in nautilus:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Leander89 (leander-nijland) wrote :

I was just browsing the internet to find a fix to wrap long text strings under icons.
I completely agree with sambehera, the long strings under icons takes a lot of space on the desktop and it also looks very ugly,
how hard can it be to fix this, seriously. Things like this make people revert back to windows, if they've got even through the
installation process that is. Can you imagine ,, a total beginner spends al his time to make linux work on his system, starts up and
is confronted with the overlapping of icons and long texts.

Some people may not see this as a problem, but it looks totally ugly, and a desktop that looks like this is totally not ready to
compete with windows xp's desktop.

I think developers should consider fixing this.

Miles Lane (miles-lane) wrote :

Just out of curiosity (since I don't expect this will get fixed ever), does setting this to "Triaged" mean that it will be ignored by developers for the next release, or does it have some other significance?

Thanks very much,
        Miles

Chris Coulson (chrisccoulson) wrote :

No, it basically means that it is a genuine bug and has all the information necessary for it to be looked at by a developer. It is not being ignored by developers. Also note that the priority is set low ('A cosmetic/usability issue that does not limit the functionality of an application'). The developers have more pressing bugs to work on and will work on it when they can (if it hasn't already been fixed upstream or if someone hasn't kindly contributed a patch by then).

Dave Vree (hdave) wrote :

There is also a Brainstorm idea related to this...as of July, 2008 it has over 300 votes. Come on, lets get this fixed!

xen-uno (xen-uno) wrote :

I'm not sure if it's related, but I can't get desktop icons in 8.04 x64 (with default of 2 workspaces) to stick in a certain position between logins. My 4 NTFS drive icons (auto-mounted) are lined up horizontally in bottom right hand corner on logout. Next login, 2 of them have moved to upper fight corner, and 1 is sometimes is partially cutoff on the right (halfway into the 2nd workspace).

Archimedes Trajano (trajano) wrote :

This would probably need to involve the metafiles. I am guessing if somehow there is a way of listening for changes on the users' file://.../Desktop.xml file see what the changes are and if it is newly added then set a new position for the item. Followed by sending a notification to Nautilus.

Could be a good way of learning the Nautilus API.

look i dont really care how but i just want the gnome dudes to remake the way desktop icons are placed on the desktop, and soon (like no later than gnome 2.26). really obvious bugs like these give linux a bad name.

im using 8.04

manzur (sl-solaris) wrote :

i agree with Jessie Lawrence it is true, it gives ubuntu a bad name, i am using hardy heron 8.04.1 and this problem persist, please fix it, I observed the same problem when I sticked two removable media (a usb hdd and a usb-stick) into the usb ports and when I mount my windows xp partition, Ubuntu overlapped desktop icons in a very ugly way.

look, i dont know what those gnome developers are smoking down there, but i want some. just look at my attached screenshot. nobody WANTS their icons to overlap like that, okay? thats just disgusting! your computer should be automatically organized neatly so that you can focus and find and do things more easily. please, my room is a horror to look at already. my computer is the thing that lets me get away from the disorganized hell that is my bedroom. please, for the love of humanity, save us!

...and, when i insert a dvd, some flash drives, and an sd card, they should all NOT be in the exact same place on the screen! x_x

disappointed...still not fixed in intrepid!!! what the hell?!

Pelládi Gábor (pelladigabor) wrote :

It is clear that the concept of a desktop grid is an idea that many users want and are familiar with. Every major desktop environment defaults to that. And it shouldn't be hard to implement, as nautilus file manager already organizes items in a grid.
There is no use case when a user wants to have his icons overlap.

small, but really obvious bugs like these ruin the reputation of the
rest of ubuntu. the first things people will notice when using ubuntu
should work perfectly, and it should be the top priority to have them
work perfectly.

On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM, Pelládi Gábor <email address hidden> wrote:
> It is clear that the concept of a desktop grid is an idea that many users want and are familiar with. Every major desktop environment defaults to that. And it shouldn't be hard to implement, as nautilus file manager already organizes items in a grid.
> There is no use case when a user wants to have his icons overlap.
>
> --
> Desktop icons are allowed to overlap horribly
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/40872
> You received this bug notification because you are a direct subscriber
> of the bug.
>
> Status in Nautilus: Confirmed
> Status in "nautilus" source package in Ubuntu: Triaged
>
> Bug description:
> I have some icons with long file names. Sometimes I unintentionally end up with completely illegible icon labels and overlapping icons. I have created a snapshot of my intentionally horrific example.
>
> This problem is easy to reproduce when working with file previews (irregularly shaped images) and icons with long file names. Just create some and drag them close together, paying attention to not trigger the a file move event.
>
> I have noticed what I consider to be a related problem. When I remove a file from my desktop or a new icon is added as a result of some program adding an entry, the desktop isn't refreshed with autoarranged icons. I have looked and looked and can find no way to make this my desktop's behavior. I think this is terrible UI from a usability standpoint. I will attach the image showing the problem.
>

This issue was the first "bug" I noticed with Ubuntu when I started using it over a year ago. Desktop icon placement and grid manipulation is not a low priority issue. Newer users (and many veterans) get a lot of value out of having desktop icons to represent work-in-progress...otherwise, why even support desktop icons.

What do we have to do to increase the importance from "Low" to "High"?

This is one of these issues that really makes me question the entire FOSS process...is anybody even listening?

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

the bug settings are correct, the issue is only a cosmetic one and nautilus has a grid, you can select the option to align on the grid in the menu and see how it's working. the bug is read but the ubuntu desktop team ressources are limited and ubuntu is not writting this software so you should better comment on bugzilla.gnome.org where the people writting the code will read your comments and suggestion. the topic has already been discussed and there is some non trivial cases due to the thumbnails for example

manzur (sl-solaris) wrote :

but if ms windows does it, what is the problem in here?

Brett Alton (brett-alton) wrote :

If that's true Sebastian, about nautilus having a grid, then what I think would be a suitable workaround for this bug is an option that not just aligns to a grid when clicked, but forces icons to persistently be aligned to a grid, thus forcing new volumes to not overlap or new folders to be hidden under existing icons.

See Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Windows 95 to 7 for this.

manzur (sl-solaris) wrote :

yes but only when "Keep Aligned" is checked

Mat Tomaszewski (mat.t.) on 2009-06-04
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Confirmed
Ghulam Mustafa (cyrenity) wrote :

i couldn't believe this bug is almost 3 years old, they have low resources, i agree, they have some major things to fix i agree, but dude come on, this bug was posted and acknowledged more than three years back, very frustrating.

Mat Tomaszewski (mat.t.) on 2009-06-11
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
24 comments hidden view all 104 comments
Brett Alton (brett-alton) wrote :

If I get accepted for Google Summer of Code and Ubuntu oversees, I'd like to get a mentor to tackle this job.

Go go year-one CS students!

Shahar Or (mightyiam) wrote :

In https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nautilus/+bug/364001
I've reported that desktop icons are placed by _default_ on top of one another. I claim that this is one bug, and the fact that users are allowed to overlap their icons is a separate one.

That bug has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. I disagree. I think that if merely that bug I filed is fixed, hence new icons would be created (if possible) in a clear space, most of the overlap problem would be solved.

watervole02 (watervole02) wrote :

This desktop bug has been around for too long; I would not consider it low priority. Here's a pic of Windows XP's desktop options; you can have overlapped icons or icons aligned to a grid.

watervole02 (watervole02) wrote :

Just to elaborate on the pic above, when "Align to Grid" is checked, you can't overlap icons by dragging one over another. This makes it different from "Keep Aligned" in Nautilus.

kako13 (kako13pr) wrote :

Wait a moment, this never is going to be solved?

Shahar Or (mightyiam) wrote :

I think that this bug isn't such a big issue, but that bug #364001, should be addressed, as in comment #66.

Bill Smith (snowmanam2) wrote :

This bug annoyed me too, so I created a patch and discussed it on the Nautilus mailing list. I have posted the patch at the Nautilus Bugzilla: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=601469

Martin Erik Werner (arand) wrote :

I've built nautilus with Bill's patch in my ppa, totally unsafe to test, but feel free to.

Paul van Genderen (paulvg) wrote :

Nautilus seems to remember where it last placed the icon for some volumes. When a file (or another volume) already sits at that spot, there's an overlap. This, however, does not seem to happen for all volumes.

summary: - Desktop icons are allowed to overlap horribly
+ Desktop icons are allowed to overlap

you know, theres probably a command that is run everytime you click on the "clean up by name" option in the menu. why not put that in a scheduler program to run every 2 seconds? hal and devkit daemon already run every 2 seconds so its not an extreme concept. for example open htop in a terminal and fill your desktop with a jumble of icons and folders and links scattered randomly and hit "clean up by name" and look at the amount of the cpu spike. for me its at least 10%. this isnt the solution for most people, but may well work.

would this easy to do?
yeah, if you find a command to use. ill look into it a bit in the next few days probably...

is the result worth the cpu usage?
nah,i dont think so but it may be a quick fix and you wont notice the impact too much on a newer comp.

Bill Smith (snowmanam2) wrote :

Actually, the realignment approach was what I did with the modified first iteration of my patch. As you suggest, the code involved for this is incredibly simple. Also, after investigating the behavior of Windows XP, a similar method is used there. I do, however, disagree with the "realign every 2 seconds" concept. IMHO, the best way to implement this realignment approach is to put schedule_align_icons() (the function you're talking about) into nautilus_icon_container_add() and nautilus_icon_container_move_icon(). This way, whenever an icon is moved or added, the grid will be updated, and we wouldn't be aligning without reason.

Just to let you know, I discussed this on the Nautilus mailing list and on Bugzilla, and my patch was not accepted because the "move icons around" behavior was not desired. If case you are interested in code for this approach, I attached the patch I made earlier. Note this has an issue with renaming a new icon, but that could be fixed. Also, I should add that Nautilus bugs would best be discussed upstream (i.e. Nautilus Bugzilla). A number of reports appear there, including where I posted my patches ( https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=601469 ).

Vish (vish) on 2010-04-03
tags: added: patch
Ruben Menke (rmm08) wrote :

hi

my 2 cents:

how about the following: text is limited as outlined by Miles Lane and Sandehera earlier (in 2008)
 however for icons regardless of size or shape two rules apply. Stuff created new on the desktop ie automatically created icons for removabe hardware, downloaded files etc donot overlap initially but are place well clear of other icons in a grid type allignment.

for icons moved my nouse the are droped exactly there where the mouse is when the icon is released.Or alternativly icons that are made to overlap form a stack that is displayed similar to a drawer applet in the panels or stacks in OS X

Nigel Babu (nigelbabu) wrote :

Since this patch has been forwarded upstream and we're awaiting upstream comments, adding patch-forwarded-upstream tag.

tags: added: patch-forwarded-upstream
removed: patch
Miles Lane (miles-lane) wrote :

For Maverick, I would prefer to see a much more comprehensive set of fixes and feature changes to the icon layout system. I still want to be able to have a regular grid (not simply sets of vertical columns that are centered within the column, but not horizontally aligned). I hate the variability of the icon sizes. I want to be able to disable resized icons. I want elided icon labels. I want any event that generates a new icon to trigger a refresh of the icon layout on the desktop, and any event that causes an icon to be removed should also trigger a refresh so that I am not left with a hole in the middle of my desktop icons. Lastly, I want controls for the icon display to be accessible from a Desktop context menu, not buried in System -> Preferences -> Appearance, or in hidden in some setting that I have to hack with gconf-editor.

Hi all,

I just stumbled on this bug report after switching to Lucid from Fedora where I had my own patch for this issue ( http://clarens.caltech.edu/wiki/2009/06/01/19.27 ).

Does some kind soul have a Lucid PPA with Bill's latest patch that I can test?

Thanks!

Nikolaus Filus (nfilus) wrote :

Hi,
I subscribed the guy from the nautilus-elementary ppa just now - maybe he/they are willing to incorporate this patch for easier testing. But ... any idea, why the patch is not incorporated into upstream?

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

> I subscribed the guy from the nautilus-elementary ppa just now - maybe he/they are willing to incorporate this patch for easier testing.

the right way is to open a nautilus-elementary bug task, I've done that now

> But ... any idea, why the patch is not incorporated into upstream?

not sure, somebody should email it to the upstream mailing list for review with an explanation of the change, the issue with changing the grid is that most of the changes suggested over years fix a scenario to break another usecase

Robert Roth (evfool) wrote :

Could you please specify the expected behaviour of the patch? I have applied it to the latest nautilus-elementary codebase, and icons are still allowed to overlap. I have tried moving icons over each other with keep aligned checked and unchecked, and they overlapped, as before. When checking keep aligned, the icons were moved to non-overlapping positions. Is this the right behaviour?

Changed in nautilus-elementary:
status: New → Confirmed
Nikolaus Filus (nfilus) wrote :

I found the patch was already discussed in Bug #20284 comment 10. This issue may be a duplicate of the referenced bug #12454, which was fixed and re-appeared?! Funnily the regression pops up every some months, as the upstream bug is from 2001!

Usama Akkad (damascene) wrote :

well this is truly annoying as it's on Linux desktop, not server. other system user will be annoyed to see the miss on their desktop

Leonardo Gaudino (gaudino110) wrote :

Too bad this bug is still around, after 4 (four) years... Ubuntu 10.04, both bugs still here. I think the 2 separate bugs (new "auto-generated" icons overlapping and the missing auto-align to grid) are related each other. And I don't think any "too-complicated-problem" answer could be accepted. Sorry.
My idea is that a 48px cell based grid can expand into greater cells, without breaking the grid itself. up to 48px, then up to 144px, then up to 288px. The space for a 2 lines filename help to keep consistent the grid. Of course longer filenames should break as in the icon view in file manager.
I attach a mockup i did in about 1 hour of "thinking". I'm not usability expert nor developer, just a user. Please, take a look at this, not just flush down the toilet as often seems to be. I'm GNOME user, I like it and your work, but it's a shame that something Microsoft achieved 10 years ago, we can't still have.
If it's too hard to code the behavior of my mockup, let disable resizing of icons and have single size constraining grid (associated with self-align option), with a grid size in pixels that we can set at least via gconf. Then, every new icon should be generated after the last icon present, always. I'm sure this can't satisfy everyone, but surely it is better then the unusable thing it is now.
Keep up the good work.

Leonardo Gaudino (gaudino110) wrote :

Oh, oh!!! Just another thing. With my grid thing, if you try to dnd big icon where there are not enough free cells, dnd could silently "abort". If a user want to complicate his life with unreasonable big icons, it's his own responsability, I think. Bye.

Bill Smith (snowmanam2) wrote :

I did some more work on this recently, particularly relating to icon bounding boxes. I tried to find any bugs by adding code that generated frames through Cairo, and it seems the bounding boxes are actually correct, as shown in my screenshot. It seems the actual issues arise in collision detection (at least in my patches). Instead of marking parts of a grid, which only partially works, I tried checking for collisions between bounding boxes directly. This seems to work well, but I still notice a couple of instances of overlap that I can hopefully fix.

*I really don´t know why so many complication about something so simple.
I´ve tested the same issues in other operating systems and nothing happened
in this sense. I did not take a look at the sources codes, but I suppose
that when the desktop or window is divided by grid cells, only one object or
icon could be in a cell. In what situation is interesting to support more
than one object in a grid cell since there are sufficient cells? Every time
some operation try to put an object in a occupied the cell, the system try
to find the nearest empty one. What are the complications about it?
*
2010/8/12 Bill Smith <email address hidden>

> I did some more work on this recently, particularly relating to icon
> bounding boxes. I tried to find any bugs by adding code that generated
> frames through Cairo, and it seems the bounding boxes are actually
> correct, as shown in my screenshot. It seems the actual issues arise in
> collision detection (at least in my patches). Instead of marking parts
> of a grid, which only partially works, I tried checking for collisions
> between bounding boxes directly. This seems to work well, but I still
> notice a couple of instances of overlap that I can hopefully fix.
>
>
> ** Attachment added: "IconBoundingBoxes.png"
>
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/nautilus/+bug/40872/+attachment/1487143/+files/IconBoundingBoxes.png
>
> --
> Desktop icons are allowed to overlap
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/40872
> You received this bug notification because you are a direct subscriber
> of a duplicate bug (400197).
>
> Status in One Hundred Paper Cuts: Invalid
> Status in Nautilus: Confirmed
> Status in nautilus-elementary: Confirmed
> Status in “nautilus” package in Ubuntu: Triaged
>
> Bug description:
> I have some icons with long file names. Sometimes I unintentionally end up
> with completely illegible icon labels and overlapping icons. I have created
> a snapshot of my intentionally horrific example.
>
> This problem is easy to reproduce when working with file previews
> (irregularly shaped images) and icons with long file names. Just create
> some and drag them close together, paying attention to not trigger the a
> file move event.
>
> I have noticed what I consider to be a related problem. When I remove a
> file from my desktop or a new icon is added as a result of some program
> adding an entry, the desktop isn't refreshed with autoarranged icons. I
> have looked and looked and can find no way to make this my desktop's
> behavior. I think this is terrible UI from a usability standpoint. I will
> attach the image showing the problem.
>
> To unsubscribe from this bug, go to:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/hundredpapercuts/+bug/40872/+subscribe
>

PabloAB (pabloab777) wrote :

See this post: http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=6512055&postcount=6
"I think ive found a solution in gconf-editor: apps > nautilus > icon-view, then check default_use_tighter_layout. this solves the horizontal overlap. the vertical overlap problem still remains since the align grid gets smaller, but using Clean up name helps."
I think this should be the default setup.

Changed in nautilus:
importance: Unknown → Low
Nathaniel Wilson (dubrict) wrote :

I almost erased my 750gb external hard drive because of this bug. There were some pictures on my desktop that I wanted to delete, so I drew a box around them and dragged them to the trash can. Turns out the mounted partition's icon was hiding under them.

Had I been a lesser computer guy, I most likely would not have realized what was going on when the trash can said that what I wanted to erase was too big for the trash can, and could only be deleted. I would have clicked "ok" then wondered why it was taking so long. I also probably would not have had my data backed up.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
assignee: Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs) → nobody
florin (florin-arjocu) wrote :

This is a very old bug and it still is in Ubuntu 11.4, updated to last packages. Does anyone know if there will be some solution? I think copying Windows way is a good interaction design.

Jim (JR) Harris (jimrh) wrote :
Download full text (3.7 KiB)

Folks, here is my dos centavos, dva kopekie, two cents, or whatever. . . .

Note: Distro used is Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

1. Allowing physical icons to overlap is just plain messy and un-professional.

Most of the places I have worked for had a bug-rating from 1-4, 1 being "hotter-than-hell" and 4 being "yea, alright already!" However, they also had another bug level - 5 - which was reserved for bugs that - though maybe not hyper-critical - needed to be addressed ASAP because they made the company, or product, look silly, stupid, or maintained by the gorillas at the City Zoo. Things like misspelling the company's name, placing the Corporate Logo as a mirror-image, or on it's side. Or a ridiculously obvious GUI/usability issue that looks like the developer hadn't had his morning coffee yet.

2. My suggestions:
  (a) Create a default size, especially width, (X by Y), that icons must stay within. If an icon represents something that can have a preview, it should be scaled to fit the default icon space. If it's considered worth it, an icon with a preview can explode the preview to a larger, more easily seen size, upon mouse-over. Of course, the preview would be like a tool-tip/text box that can cover a portion of the desktop while the mouse is within it.

  (b) Allow a non-selected icon to show, at most, two lines of it's title with an ellipsis if it was truncated.

  (c) Force the icon label to fit in a space only slightly larger than the icon size itself (i.e. if the icon matrix is X by Y, than the icon label would have to fit within a X+2 width space, wrapping as necessary, and truncated to two lines if not selected.

  (d) Make the icon spacing a ***user-configurable setting*** (<<=== Hint! Hint!) as it is in Windows.

  (e) Create, adopt, and maintain some kind of "User Interface and Usability" standard that - once adopted - would become "mandatory" by consensus - in pretty much the same way that various distributions have rules for how bugs are created and reported, code modules interact, etc. etc. etc. These "rules" are necessary so that everyone is on the same page of the play-book.

Can you imagine what it would be like if every software company out there could just arbitrarily decide how a CD/DVD should be formatted - or if an application developer just decided to write whatever the heck he wanted, willy-nilly all over the hard-drive platters - without regard to what someone else may have done before?

This wouldn't be "bazaar", it would be - literally - bizarre! Along with totally un-workable. Even in a bazaar, booths are laid out in an orderly way, each booth getting only so much space, so that all the vendors are easily accessible to the customers, without stepping on each-other's toes.

  (f) Find out whomever coded the desktop so that different icons could totally overlap and hide each other - hang 'em by their feet, and beat them senseless with a short bat.

Hmmm. . . . You know? THAT might just be the "User usability feedback" method we've been looking for! Finally, developers would take us seriously. . . . (just kidding, but sometimes I am SOOOOO tempted.)

Re: "Copying Windows" (slightly off topic)
It appears ...

Read more...

florin (florin-arjocu) wrote :

@Jim
I propose to flood Gnome teams with this bug, as they don't read the Ubuntu input.

The bug I've filed seems to be a duplicate of this one: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=562594

What is completely surprizing is that only a few people wrote there, like people don't care about how easy they work with the computer.

Please people, create accounts on Gnome bugzilla and write all the above comments there too! The Gnome team must know we care about usability and our computer-lives!

tekstr1der (tekstr1der) wrote :

While I realize this is an upstream issue, I can't believe there's not an Ubuntu patch even if upstream devs are unwilling to fix this.

Still seeing this same old bug behavior on Oneiric 11.10 with gnome 3. The fact that this carried over from gnome 2.x.x shows a serious lack of attention to usablilty/polish.

Bug,

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

- Miles

Miles Lane
Volunteer Open Source Software Tester at Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Kernel
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Area

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tekstr1der (tekstr1der) wrote :

Still experiencing this bug of desktop icons stacking/overlapping on the latest daily build of Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

TheMarquis (thehappymarquis) wrote :

We've had this shit for 8 years now, this reeks of corruption.

I wouldn't be surprised if somebody is paying off high placed developpers to divert manpower to other things and maintain small but important flaws.

This bug is one of the biggest newbie turn-offs I know about.

Microsoft would lose milions every year if ubuntu went mainstream. It's natural to assume they'd legally but discretely pay off some people as part of risk managment(typical in economy) and important unsolved bugs like this one are proof of this.

florin (florin-arjocu) wrote :

@TheMarquis
Please also post a bug report on Gnome bugzilla, maybe if we are more and more, they might realize this is not a minor bug.

https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=562594

Its frustrating to see bugs like these.

On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 3:14 AM, florin <email address hidden> wrote:

> @TheMarquis
> Please also post a bug report on Gnome bugzilla, maybe if we are more and
> more, they might realize this is not a minor bug.
>
> https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=562594
>
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to a
> duplicate bug report (901204).
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/40872
>
> Title:
> Desktop icons are allowed to overlap
>
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/hundredpapercuts/+bug/40872/+subscriptions
>

--
Nothing is constant

Regards

A.K.Karthikeyan

Still seeing this bug in the latest Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2 (64-bit).

A.K.Karthikeyan (mindaslab) wrote :

Still on 12.04 Donno

Changed in nautilus:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Otus (jan-varho) wrote :

I see this in quantal live session: the "Install Ubuntu" and "Examples" icons overlap by default, making the text illegible.

Ubuntu QA Website (ubuntuqa) wrote :

This bug has been reported on the Ubuntu ISO testing tracker.

A list of all reports related to this bug can be found here:
http://iso.qa.ubuntu.com/qatracker/reports/bugs/40872

tags: added: iso-testing
tekstr1der (tekstr1der) wrote :

upstream duped several bugs to the popular gnome-bugs #313563 (most active thread over the years), then duped that to even-more-ancient gnome-bugs #154722 now.

Changed in nautilus:
importance: Low → Unknown
status: Invalid → Unknown
Changed in nautilus:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → Confirmed
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