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A preview of Gnome Disks 3.6

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Gnome 3.6 UI freezes in about two and half weeks from now (August, 20) and I don’t think that we are going to see more changes here. Most of the features below have implemented and merged in Gnome upstream many days ago, so this isn’t something as a “New Things on Disks” but an overall review.

Because I cannot have access to all the features from my VBox, I borrowed the screens from David’s blog.

Disks Stand-by

You can quickly stand by a disk from the left top menu

When a disk is on Stand-by mode a Zzz icon is appeared next to it

And of course we can put again our disk in work

 Power Managment

There are two configuration dialog to save some energy from our disks.

Ok, all these (Stand-by / Power Management) are nice to have, but in a common scenario in a Laptop with SSD aren’t really useful. And even if you attach an external SATA I doubt if people will spend 3 secs to stand-by it. But on older Desktops with SATA and some external disks it makes sense.

 Secure Erase (?)

I am adding a question mark here, because I am not sure how the bellow options works, and David doesn’t make it clear.

Pay attention on the 3rd option “ATA Enhanced Secure Erase”.  Will this work with SSDs? Will this work with USBs? David just added a link to wiki which describe how the hdparm works:

[1] “This procedure describes how to use the hdparm command to issue a Secure Erase ATA instruction to a target storage device. When a Secure Erase is issued against a SSD drive all its cells will be marked as empty, restoring it to factory default write performance.”

[2]WARNING: Do not attempt to do this through a USB interface!

Unfortunately I cannot answer on this, as I don’t know how Secure Erase works (I have done it only one time, with some tool in Windows) in Gnome Disks and I am not really interested to learn. Maybe someone else will make a post about erasing disks with Gnome Tools. But my advice is to use Gnome Disks with extremely caution.

A week ago I erased (!!!) my primary partition with Gnome Disks by accident. Was the first time I used Gnome Disks and I doubt if I will use it again. There was just a prompt that warned me that all data will be lost (something I wanted, but for another partition!), but NOT a prompt that I was going to format my primary Fedora active partition(!!). Not to mention the issues with SSDs and Logical Volumes. Anyway ;)

Long Running Jobs

This is a nice addition, if there is some job that requires a lot of time to be completed, it is visible through Disk and you can shut it down!


You can set the number and size of the samples for your benchmarks.

And below are the results that is a mix of Lines, Scatter and Noise charts, pretty cool!

Another nice feature here is that you can run benchmarks not only to whole disk drives but in any volume or block device.

Disks Image Mounter

Disk Image Mounter is the new default -for ISO images- App for Fedora 18 and can attach disk images on Disks with double click.

Unlocking the Volumes

They removed LUKS passphrases in the keyring from Shell on Gnome 3.4 but they added again 3.6 [bug 674161] and Disks makes use of it.

Disks is now also using libpwquality and GtkLevelBar.

What comes Next

For next version of Disks (3.8) there are already some features decided:


Some of the above features are impressive and some are kinda obsoleted for a majority of users and the new computing usage. What I consider as important omissions/failures are:

Disks Auto Repair:  A simple way for user to repair a drive, for example running some auto repair options of e2fck program.

Broken Consistency: There is Disk Usage and Disks. Two different applications in action but two close utilities  in user semantic metaphor. Open Shell’s Overview and write disks. Disks or Disk Usage, what should I pick? Even me I am confused on this.

User Friendly: I deleted my whole partition by accident that I couldn’t recover after. Am I retarded? Ubuntu’s partitioning in installation is more user friendly than Disks and it makes quite clear what is going to happen in every action of you. Installation is made for people that are more “advanced” in Linux use, while Disks is for everyone. It needs more work there, definitely.

My final judge would be like, hmm Disks is getting impressive better, but is still far from a complete, “perfect” disks management tool.

For even more information about  Disks don’t miss to check David’s blog as he goes in more technical things that we are not really interested to cover here now!

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  • Sasan

    The amount of the attention in visual elements detail is incredible. Nicely done David!

  • Guest

    Wow, first time I saw the first pictur in the post I thougth: ‘Oh yes, a new not very feature rich version of Disks”, but there a lot of functions behind the “option button”. Great. I like the way of structuring applications (shows easy, for the many options and information which must there). I hope this isn’t get to confusing with the new options in 3.8.

    But, I am a little bit confused about the dialog as example in the power managment screenshots. I thougth in 3.6 they uses the new centric dialogs?

    Also I don’t know if the Zzz isn’t to easy to miss (looks nice, but little). I think it would better to gray out the box from the disk…

    And the sleep option looks as you can chose also thinks between two minutes. I don’t know if two input boxes would be better (maybe its cause the tablets…)

    To your ‘no one uses HDDs enymore, only SSDs’: I’m using HDDs in my workstation and plan to use they min. three years more (I use the hibernate and have no idea why I should spend or better waste money for new disks only cause the are not up to date (which is a in the linux world often to find way of thinking, I mean)).

  • Brandon Watkins

    “Ok, all these (Stand-by / Power Management) are nice to have, but in a common scenario in a Laptop with SSD aren’t really useful.”

    I disagree, most laptops still use HDD’s, so this is pretty useful for many.

  • Daniel Harvison

    Regarding the author’s comment about people “still using sata drives?”. I’d ask him to point out the ssd drives that can hold even one terabyte of data and cost less than $1000 Australian dollars. No offense to him, but I think that sentiment is a little short-sighted. Also, the “secure erase” option seems a lot like zero fill, and the usefulness is fairly clear, wherein all data contained on the drive cannot be recovered by any means. Also good for people who want to be sure there’s no junk remaining on their drive when starting afresh.

    • alex285

      You’re right about the price, but Gnome 3.6 is releasing on September and the next version is releasing on next March. I doubt if in March 2013, there will be still HDD on the market. Also not many people need terabytes in their Laptops/Netbooks, most people care about speed, power consumption, weight, and the fact that SSD in theory don’t brake. SSDs 128-256GB aren’t expensive and space is enough if you don’t rip movies or doing some video processing. Companies quickly drop Laptops for the shake of Ultrabooks that all come with SSD.

      SSDs don’t need to be filled up with zeros, you just reset them to the factory defaults. That actually makes the drive faster. But I don’t know much about it.

      • kigurai

        I can not see into the future, but if HDDs are not sold in March 2013 I will eat my hat. Currently the price per GB for SSDs are 10x higher than for HDDs (checked in Sweden today, I guess regional pricing may differ). For laptops and some desktop computers SSDs will evitably be the future. But why bother with the cost of SSDs in a NAS where you are mostly interested in getting as much space as possible as cheaply as possible?

        • alex285

          In Greece an average Laptop (about 650-750 euros) comes with 2 cases, one SSD and one HDD at the moment. I guess in Sweden things will be much more “SSD” and cheaper. That makes me saying that in 8 months from now, SSD will be the primary choice. HDD obviously will be still there, as an “extra” bigger storage medium.

      • Brandon Watkins

        are you kidding? Of course there will still be laptops with hdd’s… and for the forseeable future too.

        • alex285

          Yeap your right, but I said that average Laptops are already shipping SSD and a second HDD in an extra case. That makes me believe that in 8 month from now, SDDs will be default in every laptop, and HDD just an extra option for bigger storage medium. Specially after the catastrophe in Malaysia(?) few months ago SSD’s sales got a super boost. After all, almost all my friends have SSDs ..including me :)

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