Why was chosen as the authoritative tag and made the synonym instead of the other way around?

Directories are always directories in filesystems. A folder is an almost-cardboard thing with a crease in it, used for holding papers and other stuff.

I understand trying to make things easier for users to understand, and Microsoft has done a devil of a time playing with the language, just to be different, but the use of the term "folder" just seems silly.

So, I was wondering what, if any rationale there was for the decision to make the authoritative tag.

  • Related.
    – Bob
    Jun 11, 2013 at 12:16
  • @Bob So, if (in Windows language), a folder is essentially a mutant form of a directory, possibly/probably just a kernel construct (again, because Microsoft wants to be different), shouldn't "directory" be the authoritative and "folder" be the "odd man out"? How often does someone talk, exclusively about one of these things that is a virtual construct by Microsoft, where some other tag wouldn't be more appropriate?
    – killermist
    Jun 11, 2013 at 12:24
  • Not really sure why directory was merged into folder but @Sathya merged them. Maybe he remembers. Jun 11, 2013 at 13:12
  • @OliverSalzburg I don't mind that they were merged. It makes sense. But EVERY time I see a user talking about a "folder", they're really talking about a directory, and a red flag goes off in my head saying "Why is this person playing with a piece of creased cardboard?" So, I have to wonder how the entirely wrong term came out as the "leader". (yes, I am often a very literal person)
    – killermist
    Jun 11, 2013 at 13:17
  • Since in Windows all directories are folders, I don't see what the problem is with having directory as the synonym of folder. The term folder encompasses everything.
    – Karan
    Jun 12, 2013 at 14:55
  • @Karan I strongly disagree. In anything unix-like, there is no such thing as a "folder" except when misguided developers intentionally choose the wrong word to be noob (which is to say windows user)-friendly. It is one thing that so frustrates me about many programs, like file managers in Linux, where something is called a folder, and I want to yell at the program, "It's a friggin' directory! Quit using that broken Windows language!" And I think that preferring folder to directory here continues to perpetuate broken language.
    – killermist
    Jun 12, 2013 at 16:13
  • Meh, I'm not concerned either way. I still use directory most of the time, as I guess would anyone who used DOS before Windows. Personally I don't think this is anything great to lose sleep over or even something that requires changing, but perhaps the community feels as passionately about this as you do...
    – Karan
    Jun 12, 2013 at 17:54
  • I think this is interesting but unanswerable. I would agree that Directory is the 'better' but the 2 terms does cause ambiguity & since a folder is an abstract references of the same thing, I'd personally merge them. A search for "unix folders" in Google returns results where Unix people are using this term interchangeably as well so I don't think this was due to Windows! Of course any OS / software which displays a directory with a folder icon will cause this ambiguity.
    – Dave
    Jun 13, 2013 at 7:57
  • @DaveRook I think it is one of those clear cases of MS mutating the language, and because their userbase is so big, and has some bleedover into unix-like users, some people (just by not paying attention) accidentally started using the wrong word. Having once been a MS user and grown up and figured out the error of my ways, having been guilty of having used the wrong word for so long, I now see clearly how wrong that word is outside of Windows. Which is why I now have red flags go off in my head when I see the wrong word used.
    – killermist
    Jun 13, 2013 at 11:47
  • Makes me want to find the code for linux programs that use the wrong word and commit patches to them that change the wrong word to the right word. Take back the language. The language shouldn't be Microsoft's to control.
    – killermist
    Jun 13, 2013 at 11:49
  • @killermist - Try re-reading your comments, it comes across as very biased. Sorry, I'm not going to discuss this with you, you don't have an opinion, you have a view and therefore any rational is some what pointless.
    – Dave
    Jun 14, 2013 at 18:04


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