Re: Prompting for passwords on the desktop?

Le jeudi 18 septembre 2008 à 18:46 +0000, Stef a écrit :
> Some people want it to act like gksudo. That is, make a password prompt
> desktop modal, no other windows are accessible, everything grayed out.
> Use case/complaint: "I was giving a presentation in front of thousands
> of people. I did X that caused a password prompt came up but
> gnome-keyring didn't grab the focus properly, and I typed my password in
> clear view. Now I'm screwed."

These people are right. A password prompt should grab keyboard and
mouse, otherwise you are susceptible to leak the password. Typing wrong
stuff in a password prompt is a mere annoyance; typing a password
somewhere else is a security issue.

> Other people hate stuff that grabs the focus. This is the exact opposite
> of the above request.
> Use case/complaint goes something like:  "I was shelling into a remote
> computer from a terminal and a password prompt came up. Nothing should
> EVER grab the focus on my desktop. My groove has been broken."

One way to avoid annoying the user is to establish a line like “a
password prompt should only pop up immediately after a user action”.
This way it appears only while you are expecting to type a password.

Good behavior: you click on "send mail" in evolution, and it immediately
prompts the GPG passphrase.

Bad behavior: still in evolution, when an IMAP server stops responding,
a pop up comes out of nowhere and asks for your password, whatever you
were doing at that moment.

Moderately bad behavior: you connect to a slow remote server in
nautilus, and 10 seconds later it asks for a password. 

Of course, it looks very hard to find correct ways to implement password
prompts without having them popping up at unexpected times, but that’s
at least what we should try to achieve.

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