Red Hater David Zeuthen in his blog introduces all the new features in Gnome Disks 3.6 and also refers to the upcoming new options for Gnome 3.8. There are some nice additions; some are just optics and some are useful tools, but in my opinion not everything is perfect and complete.
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.
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
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:
 “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.”
 “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.
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!