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Gnome Whiteboards: Better Dropbox Integration

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This isn’t Ready!

Following designs are tentative art, far from a completed solution. There is a good chance to change, postponed for future releases or even completely dropped. In any case you shouldn’t consider these as final!

Dropbox Integration

Right now the Dropbox support under Gnome feels poor. We only have a Special Folder that shows a badge depending if files are sync-ed or are syncing. Message Tray doesn’t help either and it only notifies us about new files, or just open our Dropbox Local Folder.

Allan Day proposes:

  • Make the Nautilus bookmark non-removable, and give it the main Dropbox context menu.
  • Ensure that the Dropbox folder is opened in Nautilus when the Dropbox launcher is activated.
  • Indicate status using symbolic icons in the sidebar – it will be enough to indicate when synchronising (icon – emblem-synchronizing-symbolic) and when there is an error (icon – dialog-error-symbolic) – status does not need to be given for the OK state.
  • Don’t use a status icon, but carry on using notifications in the current manner.
And has also made some Mockups

Dropbox is always visible in bookmarks and a badge about the current state is visible. At this state is syncing.

There is also a Context Menu that shows some extra info. This will be also include in Message Tray.

Tip: On this Screenshot files and folders order is mixed. This is the default of Gnome 3.6. You can change that by:

Files Application Menu -> Preferences -> Views -> Sort Folders Before Files

Sync: I am huge fan of silent streaming rather hard synchronization in files. The files should be stored online, when the user “things” are local. Absolutely no reason (except special occasions)  to keep the same files in 4-5 locations and sync them every time.

When this will arrive?

At this time this is just an early proposal. It has to be discussed, approved and someone has to step on it and implement it. So there isn’t any date available.

Gnome Files

In quick: In Gnome, users shouldn’t be aware where their files are physical located, no matter if they are Local stored, or in Network or on Cloud (in any service, Dropbox, GDrive etc), Gnome should treat and discover them seamlessly. In my case, I cannot remember if I have saved a file in Dropbox or in Google Drive. I should type file metadata in Gnome Shell Search and let Gnome do the rest. This is the approach that Gnome 3 follows.

Gnome Online

In quick:  Gnome tries to approach a hybrid Cloud Local Desktop metaphor. It can sync with every Cloud Service -and treat it as one and the same- by offering the Desktops Programming abilities and speed. This is the future of Desktop and the advantage over a web-services,  because an online service just can’t do that. You will never be able to search and open a Hotmail e-mail from Google’s frond end.

Chrome OS follows pretty much the same approach. The advantage of Gnome over Chrome is that you can use more than one browser. Applications in the  short future (HTML5) will be browser specific or will require Browser Plugins -kinda what happens with extensions.

Gnome grows unpopular

In quick: This is what many professional “Journalists”,  say. I will skip my opinion for a guy that is self-announced as professional Tech News Journalist and I am just wondering.

  • Did Ubuntu become better by dropping Gnome3?
  • Would Android be famous if Google hasn’t bought Android Inc?
  • If Google had offered Gnome3 instead of Chrome OS, Gnome 3 would grow popular?
  • Is Canonical’s Company Model healthy by being funded from a single person that happens to love Open Source and being millionaire?
  • Has anyone count if people (and specially new users) like or not Gnome 3 more than Gnome 2?

Hey professional Journalists! Everything is so simple as marketing. Or Gnome 2 series had 90% of the market share and it now has 2% (with Gnome 3) and I don’t know it?


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  • Bosc

    extensions and themes break every version change, do you thing people wouldn’t notice it?
    Canonical, as Google ( and Red Hat) are companies, companies that like to make money (is there any other type?), and you don’t make money with somethig broken.
    Chrome ext.s and Android apks do not break across version change. Gnome ext.s do. Gtk applications do.

    Imo gnome will grow popular, it’s just not going to happen soon.

    • alex285

      Chrome and Firefox extensions and themes also brake in about every two releases, (just try Firefox and Chrome from unstable and you will get all the extensions un-available), which is basically a smaller cycle (3-5 months) than Gnome(6months). But authors update faster. This is normal, Firefox and Chrome have billions of users. I don’t know about Android as I haven’t.

      GS Extensions is a special kind of software, stable API is not needed or it cannot be done. If you find a Gtk App broken in a Gnome update this is certainly a bug.

      > and you don’t make money with somethig broken.
      Basically I don’t think that quality is the only factor that makes a product popular. There are thousands of examples. By the way, lenses and themes also brake in each Unity version.

      > Imo gnome will grow popular, it’s just not going to happen soon.

      Totally agree, but you never know :)

      • Bosc

        >But authors update faster

        and they also complain faster…

        >just try Firefox and Chrome from unstable and you will get all the extensions un-available

        but google HAS something stable (android and chromeos). It wouldn’t be the worst idea to have something similar ready soon

        • alex285

          Hmm okay, comparing Google to Gnome is a bit …you know :)
          But on the other hand, Gnome is more flexible to make changes, Gnome has a “smarter” userbase (at least today) and Gnome users can adopt in changes, Google can’t make a radical change in Android (with the million of casual users).

  • JonCCrawford

    1. We won’t know how Canonical’s recent decisions about Gnome impact Ubuntu until the next version is released.

    2. The issue with the extensions is that their status as part of Gnome is apparently vague and unresolved. They are not part of the base Gnome package. Nothing happens when you use Gnome that tells a user about the extensions. I’ve noticed recent versions of Tweak Tool include a link to the Extensions site. That’s good. But, as long as their status remains unknown — are Extensions officially supported or are they home-brew efforts by fans — no one will risk deploying them in any situation where they need to count on them working after the next update. This is something for Fedora and Red Hat to think about before RHEL 7. (BTW, the Extensions site is an obvious source of feedback on Gnome. I wonder if the data are being exploited.)

    3. Perhaps incorrectly, I understand that extension breakage is often due to simple versioning issues. I.e., an extension identifies itself as written for 3.4, and refuses to work on 3.6., while, in reality, it could if the versioning string was edited.

    4. I don’t know how to accurately establish the size of a user base for any Linux distribution. Counting downloads and clicks at Distrowatch do not count how many people are actually using a given distribution, day in and day out. (I downloaded and played with Slackware 14 last week for one day. Does that make me a Slackware user?) That’s why I don’t get excited when Canonical does a PR release about how many people are using Ubuntu. Those figures typically include Ubuntu pre-installs. We do not know how many people buy Ubuntu preinstalls only because the hardware is typically a bit cheaper and then put Windows, legit or pirated, on it.

  • Stiph

    I’m being fed up with all those rants, and these are *exactly* the same as when Gnome 2.0 was out, no more settings, “ho no, this is the end of the world”. Most of them are non constructive at all, and their owner should simply go use mate.

    There are from time to time *very harsh* words from a few (mostly) Gnome 2 users : I do not understand how is this even possible to say things like that to all the people involved, because they were using Gnome 2. If they do not like it at all, there is choice, including mate which is basically a frozen gnome version.

    I know people are passionate, especially in the FOSS world, but still, give them a break :)

    I’ve met a lot of people who were angry about the changes in 3.0 but was still respectful of the work done, and release after release, they are stunned on the massive improvements, and it is just the *beginning*! It was the same with Gnome 2.0, and release after release it got better.

    Now fine, there are lots of real issues, I can understand that, but the most controversial ones are already fixed or worked on ( I’m also concerned with the mobile/tablet focus, but at the past Guadec, this has been clearly understood as a problem. Making software evolve takes time, maybe a lot of angry people would have prefered no change at all for 3 years (no bugfix, nothing, you need people for that) and a polished product? I’m not sure of that too…

    Also, gnome is not just gnome-shell, it’s all the applications in within!

    This, is my rant ;)

    • JonCCrawford

      Most of the rants I read complaining about *any* new design, of *anything*, are rooted in experience using whatever ever it is that is being replaced. Invariably, the old system is called intuitive and the new system is called non-intuitive. And, that’s all nonsense. No computer interface is ever intuitive. People use something, they get used to it, and start calling it “intuitive”.

      The initial releases of any major open source project almost always suck because no one has the resources to support closed in-house testing and rewrites until they get it right. They release early, get lambasted, and move on. Ideally, 3.6 would have been Gnome 3’s public debut. But, things don’t work like that.

      The expressed wishes of many Gnome 3 dissenters boil down to desiring no changes to Gnome after 2.32. That amounts to abandoning Gnome except for bug fixes. Gnome 2 fans can continue to run it on CentOS, for example, and get the benefit of Red Hat support for several more years. The MATE desktop project is *exactly* what is supposed to happen in FOSS: People go off on their own and do something in the hope others might find it useful.

      I have my own gripes with Gnome 3, expressed here and elsewhere. (I don’t like the use of the Windows key in Gnome, or anywhere else. I make little use of the keyboard, so the choice between the Windows key or the so-called Hot Corner is an unappealing choice for me. And I don’t like the lack of an alternative to the App Overview as a way to find and launch applications. I just want to see the name of the app, not s screen full of icons.) That doesn’t mean the world is ending.

    • user

      Jonathan Corbet: “You know, I’ve certainly been guilty of bashing on GNOME. But, at this
      point, I think it really has gone well past the point of being useful,
      assuming it ever was. Can we maybe agree that, if you don’t like where
      GNOME is going, you should run one of the many alternatives available
      and let them do their thing without gratuitous attacks?