Re: Why 'the logout problem' is a GNOME problem, not a WM problem

James Ramsey wrote:

> I've harped on this before, but it seems to need repeating. If GNOME's
> design allows GNOME to become accidentally bereft of a window manager
> because a user does something natural, such as click on "Logout" on the
> root menu and expect to be logged out, then GNOME's design is at fault.
> It has been said that the reason GNOME allows this to happen is that
> the window manager should exit via the session manager, not by simply
> terminating. This sounds reasonable, except for one thing. Simply
> terminating rather than using the session manager is typical behavior
> for window managers. Why should GNOME be designed to expect the window
> manager to behave in a non-typical fashion? That the window manager
> exits by simply terminating should have been accepted as an engineering
> constraint to be worked with.

Hmm.  It sounds like you're saying that there should be two paths to log
out, via the GNOME panel and when the window manager terminates.  The
problem with this is that when the window manager terminates, if there are
open GNOME apps that need to interact with the user, e.g. "Save this before
logging out?", this would have to happen without the window manager.  Major
pain in the neck.

The only workaround I can think of is that when gnome-session detects
window manager termination, it throws up a dialog saying something like,
"Your window manager has quit.  This is very dangerous.  You should log out
from the GNOME panel instead.  Restart, or proceed to log out with no
window manager?"  This is inelegant at best.

> The current behavior of GNOME is not appropriate, especially for
> something that calls itself "1.0". Some suggestions:
> 1) If the GNOME developers really think that the window manager is the
> problem, then perhaps they should provide code that points to a
> solution, such as maybe patches for some common window managers. I
> don't expect the GNOME developers to become window manager
> distributors, but if they can jumpstart the developers of the window
> managers to 'do it right', maybe they can solve the problem for good
> and benefit everybody. (I am presuming that GNOME expects the window
> manager to work with xsm, X's session manager, not gnome-session. If
> GNOME does expect the window manager to work directly with
> gnome-session, then it is being awfully presumptive indeed.)

There is a (still small) handful of GNOME-compliant window managers, with
varying capabilities and resource requirements.  Furthermore, there is
thorough documentation on how to make any wm compliant- see (which is linked directly
from "Development Info" in the links on top of the GNOME home page).  This
may mean having to give up your old window manager, and possibly replacing
that window manager with another one that accomplishes the same objective.

> 2) Find a way to deal with window managers as they are. This may mean
> having to give up some functionality, and possibly replacing that
> functionality with something else that accomplishes the same objective.
> Tough.

To say, "This may mean giving up some functionality- like session
management" is really not helpful.  Intelligent logout (as in, "Oh crap, I
logged out without saving the last 10 hours worth of work!") is one of the
more important features of systems like MacOS and Windoze- and GNOME too-
and sacrificing it would be a Very Bad Thing.

> I can put up with bugs in GNOME because I know the developers don't
> like them any more than I do. I find it pretty disappointing, however,
> to find that the response to a nasty flaw in GNOME is passing the buck
> rather than trying to find a solution.

Um, how about suggesting a solution other than, "Redo all existing window
managers" or "Forget about the most important features of session
management".  No need to provide code, but at least desired behavior would
be nice.

> ----I am a fool for Christ. Mostly I am a fool.----

Zeen.  Me too. :-)

-Adam      "...the firmament sheweth His handywork" (Ps 19:1)    ///
............................................................__  ///|
Adam "Cold Fusion" Powell IV Firmament Science & Engineering\\\///_| Standing on the Solid State Rock\XX/  |MIGA

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