Save Icon modernization needed

Remco remco47 at
Mon Nov 16 13:21:55 UTC 2009

On Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 10:05, Michael Bienia <michael at> wrote:
> On 2009-11-15 19:22:16 +0100, Remco wrote:
>> I have a slightly crazy idea. What if documents didn't have to be saved?
>> You could just start writing (or doing whatever you do in the particular
>> application), and the program magically remembers what you were doing in
>> case you closed the program, or it crashed. Of course, you want to give
>> documents names, so that should still be possible through some means.
> Please also think about the use-cases where you *don't* want to save
> your changes.
> At work some documents are only used like a form: they get opened,
> filled out and printed. After that the document is closed again without
> saving the changes (so it's still empty at the next opening). I doubt
> those users would be happy that they need now to click several times
> "undo" to restore the document.

There should be a way to mark special versions of the file, like in
versioning systems. Also, if you don't have write permissions for the
file, it will save to another place.

> And think also at the space-requirements for those "undo"s. Hard-disk
> space might be cheap today, but this data still needs to be loaded from
> disk (or even a network storage).

That should not be a problem if you use caching where needed. It's of
course always a trade-off between performance and atomicity.

> And some operations might need much
> space for "undo"s, like in image-, video- or audio-editing.

I know that GIMP is in the process of implementing GEGL, which stores
changes as procedures, so they can be undone and redone without
quality loss. The nice thing about procedural storage is that it
doesn't take up a lot of space. This goes for image-, audio- and
video-editing. It's the trick used by the demoscene to stay within 64

As an aside, I would like to mention the parallel between this
no-saving idea and the way GNOME settings don't have to be explicitly
applied. I guess from a usability point of view, GNOME prefers the
automatic way.


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