Re: session manager help
- From: Mark McLoughlin <mark skynet ie>
- To: Havoc Pennington <hp redhat com>
- Cc: Desktop Devel <desktop-devel-list gnome org>
- Subject: Re: session manager help
- Date: 03 Apr 2003 15:52:09 +1200
I agree with your analysis of the problem, and at one point I was going
to try and seriously start working at some of those issues. Reality is,
though, I don't have the time either - gnome-session works "barely well
enough" that I couldn't really justify making it a priority.
Anyway, don't let my purported "maintenance" of gnome-session stop
anyone. If someone else with the interest appeared I'd be absolutely
FWIW, it is actually a very interesting project ...
On Thu, 2003-04-03 at 15:05, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> Some people are valiantly nursing gnome-session along, but we need
> some broader-scope session management love.
> Some of the problems:
> - an absolutely essential feature we don't have is checking that the
> user has a panel, desktop manager, and window manager, and making
> sure they click all kinds of safety dialogs before we let them be
> disabled permanently. A persistent issue seen on user mailing lists
> is "I lost my panel!" or worse, "I lost my window manager!"
> - gnome-session is simply flaky, and not robust against broken apps.
> An example is
> Another example is that it times out and kills apps if they take
> too long to start up (currently that timeout is long, but then the
> long timeout slows down login). I don't think we've had a Red Hat
> release in recent memory without mysterious gnome-session bugs.
> - the startup programs / session management control panel sucks
> mightily. "startup programs" is legitimate functionality but this
> UI for it is awful. A nicer UI for it might even let you change
> your window manager, desktop manager, etc.
> - the protocol between the control panel and the session manager is
> plain old crackrock.
> - gnome-session doesn't provide adequate feedback about what's going
> on in various cases, e.g. if taking forever to log out it
> doesn't indicate which app it's waiting for.
> - gnome-session needs to be updated for standards compliance, e.g. I
> don't think the SaveYourself message is interpreted in the way that
> Matthias Ettrich and I agreed to interpret it.
> - we need to be extending the SM properties to support things like a
> human-readable application name and nice icon set as application
> properties. This should be done correctly. ;-)
> - one of the properties to add is "I am the window manager" or "I am
> the panel" so that we can generically check that you have a WM,
> instead of doing "if (strcmp (metacity))" type of stuff.
> - the login and logout effects could be more cool, and even
> themeable. ;-) (OK, it's bloat, but it's the only fun feature in
> here... ;-)
> - gnome-session is basically a nightmare to debug. e.g. xmms
> was broken and causing hangs on logout; using msm's logging
> feature, I figured this out in 5 minutes, with gnome-session I
> would have been inserting printfs for hours.
> - GnomeClient is kind of showing its age; we'd like to get an SM API
> in GTK, and maybe simplify the API some and add some nice features
> in the process.
> At one point I started the project "msm" in CVS to try to address some
> of this; gnome-session has come to suck somewhat less since I started
> msm, though the gnome-session code is still, well, not great. msm has
> a TODO file that is a pretty accurate (and fairly short) list of what
> work remains to be done in order to try deploying it. msm also comes
> with a client-side API called "GsmClient"
> I could probably finish up msm bulletpoints given a couple weeks. But
> what we really need is someone to babysit the session management
> problem for the long term, and I am trying to avoid owning more
> We don't need a lot of features here, or anything flashy; but it does
> need to work somewhat better than it does today. We'd need someone
> who's willing to carefully read the XSMP spec and SM-related bits of
> the ICCCM and document any clarifications/extensions they make to
> Don't think it matters if we base the work on gnome-session or msm or
> if someone wants to start over, as long as it gets the job done.
> Anyhow: if you feel like you're careful and conscientous enough to
> work on a module that crashes the whole desktop when it crashes, and
> that needs to be standards compliant, race-condition-safe,
> asynchronous, handle all errors, do the right thing UI-wise, and
> generally done capital-C Correctly, this is a problem that's begging
> for you to step up and come to the aid of GNOME users everywhere. ;-)
> If you aren't really the hard core Correctness type, there's a good
> chance of making gnome-session worse - the session manager is easy to
> get mostly working and hard to make robust enough to keep users from
> breaking it or seeing bugs "in the wild" with lots of random crappy
> apps doing broken things.
> On the plus side, once the SM is working well I don't think it's *too*
> much ongoing effort. Featuritis would not be a virtue here.
> Any takers? I'd suggest starting by reading the specs and looking
> through the gnome-session/msm code and either trying to fix some of
> the gnome-session issues or work on some of the msm TODO.
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