Re: [Geary] "Always watch for new mail" preference: better alternatives?

Hey Stephen,

On Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 12:12 PM, Stephen Michel <"stephen.michel"> wrote:
FWIW, Polari, the gnome irc client, uses "Run in Background" as the name of the option and puts it in the system drop-down menu (although I don't suggest we do the latter; Polari only has this one setting, so it makes sense there).

Oh, that's interesting to know, since there's a good argument for being consistent with other apps, if nothing else.

I'm pretty sure when this is enabled, Polari does start on boot, although there is no tooltip to this effect, so I don't think we should be concerned about confusion here, *particularly* if we add a tooltip with additional explanation.

If it does, it uses a different method than Geary, since enabling that didn't create a desktop file in ~/.config/autostart. I'm not sure what that might be however.

 For me the purpose of "always watch for new mail" was downloading
 messages while I was doing something else, so when I opened Geary I
 didn't have to wait for the sync and I could start reading right

This is the same reason why I keep the setting enabled, and I don't really see a case for when I would want geary to run in the background but not autostart.

Okay, it's also good to know what people are expecting from this feature, thanks.

The use case is of course something like "Ann would like to keep receiving new messages after closing all Geary windows". I'm still not too convinced that should imply that Geary also has to manage autostart itself since that's a different use case, there's existing desktop tools to do the same job, and it's going to remain broken for Flatpak for a while unless we open up a large security hole in the sandbox.

The biggest argument against it however is that it genuinely seems to be confusing for people - we get a number of bug reports stemming from the fact that the reporter just didn't realise geary was running in the background. So the pref text used in 0.12 and earlier isn't doing a good enough job, and as I mentioned before I think that's because the one pref is doing way too much work, hence the pref text has to cover a lot of ground in five or six words, and that just might not be possible without simplifying what the pref does.

 to prevent that confusion it's probably
best to not mention notifications in the run-in-the-background pref at
 all, despite it being a useful side-effect.

I have a suggestion here: When notifications are enabled but running in the background is not, display a warning below the background preference (or an exclamation point next to it with a warning mouseover), "You will need to leave geary open in order to recieve notifications."

Making the problem prominent the UI and letting the user handle it is certainly one approach, but as mentioned previously the pref will probably go away at some point (also in favour of using already-existing desktop tools to manage it), and we don't reliably know if notifications are actually being shown regardless of whether the pref is enabled or not, making it difficult to know when such a warning should actually be shown, and possibly also making the warning bad advice unless it also mentions enabling notifications in the control centre, which might not be applicable to all desktops.

For what it's worth, I've already updated the preference text in master, but not removed support for autostart. I think I'm going to sit on it for a while and see if that helps, at least until after the next major release.


⊨ Michael Gratton, Percept Wrangler.
⚙ <>

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