Re: On GNOME 3.0 features

Hi Giovanni,

On Thu, 2010-09-09 at 11:45 +0200, Giovanni Campagna wrote:
> [Resending because the first message seems lost]
> Today the set of expected features for GNOME 2.34 / 3.0 System Settings
> (former Control Center) has been revealed on the wiki.

It has? ;) Seriously, which page are you referring to? This [1] one?
This [2] one?

The first was done by Jon McCann, the second my me. Speaking for the
second, I can tell you that many of the items have not been discussed,
and that I mostly came up with it myself.

I realise that this stuff looks more 'official' than it really is. There
should clearly be some kind of disclaimer explaining the status of those
pages (I'll add that). You can't blame us for not working in the open,
at least... :)

If you want to see more concrete plans for the new Control Center, check
out the GNOME design Gitorious repo [3]. A few panels have been
specified there.

> As expected, some functionality was moved, some was added, and some was
> killed. Unfortunately, as a daily GNOME user, I find some removal
> questionable.
> In particular:
> - why all the theming stuff is optional?
> All operating systems and desktop environments, including the most
> minimal wms, have some theming support.
> Also, not all people have the same tastes: some like Clearlooks, some
> like Humanity, some use Murrine, some use QtCurve. I for example like
> the current GNOME 2.0 default, and would like to use it even for GNOME
> 3.0 if the future theme doesn't suit me. 
> Thirdly, different distros have different defaults, and the theme is one
> of the most prominent detail in the UI, but users should not pick their
> distro based on the theme!

I wasn't involved in this decision, but I do agree with it. The logic, I
think, is that themeing is only used by a minority of users, and that
installing an extra panel isn't a particular hardship for those users.
The win is a control center that is a little lighter and which is more
tailored to the majority of users. It's up to distros what they want to
ship by default, of course.

Just to clarify - nobody is proposing that users should not be able to
change their theme, and I think everyone realises that themeing is
important functionality for some users. Actually, themeing will be
enhanced for GNOME 3.0, and there are some exciting ideas about how it
could be done.

> - why no provision for setting Metacity themes, Gtk themes and icon
> themes independently?
> Those (and Shell themes, btw) are mostly independent settings, people
> should be free to make their preferred combination, without tweaking
> with .theme files or dconf-editor.

The real designers probably have a better answer than me here, but my
argument here would be that separating WM, GTK and icon themes generates
more work for casual themers, while combining them into single
uber-themes makes themeing more accessible for more users.

> - the repeat key setting is necessary
> Move it to the accessibility panel if you prefer, but it is needed, for
> the same reason we have StickyKeys and BounceKeys: some people are
> unable to press the same key in succession, some on the other hand keep
> their keys pressed to long (and enter duplicated chars every time).

Thanks - good to know. Are there any other reasons for this option? Why
isn't it currently under the a11y tab?

> - you cannot ditch the Preferred Applications panel

Didn't know we were...

> - why handling the System Monitor as a System Setting panel?
> It is an independent tool (like baobab, palimpsest, gnome-nettool,
> dconf-editor...), deserves to live in Applications -> System Tools.


> Now some personal curiosities:
> - will the Web Accounts panel include current "Messaging and VoIP
> Accounts" capplet (provided by Empathy + Mission Control)?

I would guess yes.

> Should it be
> renamed "Online services" to be include social accounts (libsocialweb,
> libgwibber, GNU Social)

No (again guessing). We originally had a name similar to 'online
services' but abandoned it because it seemed a bit too
ambigious/difficult to understand.

> - will Samba shares and NFS mounts handled by Privacy and Sharing? What
> about RDP / VNC (currently marked '?')?
> - are there plans (long term) for a Security panel, including PolicyKit
> configuration, firewall (iptables) and the like?
> - will Network replace nm-connection-editor, thus configuring
> NetworkManager only? Or some sort of pluggable backend will be
> introduced for distro which don't ship NM?
> - similarly, will Users Accounts be tied to the accountservice or will
> it use the System Tools Backend? Or maybe it will use a system tool
> backend itself using the accountsservice instead of going directly
> to /etc/passwd?
> - how do you plan the Services capplet will work with systemd, upstart
> and sysvinit, each having a different model and implementation of what
> is service, how it is started and how it is configured?
> - in the end, are the GNOME System Tools about to die?

No idea for those - sorry!

> Thanks in advance for your answers,

And thanks for the searching questions.


aday on

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