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Gnomers add privacy & sharing features to Control Center!

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Gnomers stands for Gnome People or Gnome Developers  etc. I made up that term to save some space on titles and I hope you to be ok with it :)

Back to the news,  what we were missing from Gnome was a way to clear all our cached data and saved passwords without needing to check each app separately. That featured came in Ubuntu 12.04 and was awesome.


Of course Ubuntu and Gnome still don’t get well each other plus Ubuntu is planning to drop Gnome Control Center and fork its own. Well, go ahead Canonical we don’t care cause Gnome will get its own privacy tools ;)

Privacy is all about sharing and therefore Gnomers will also build an easy to set up sharing mechanism like OS X has.

William McCann says:

The goal of this panel is to provide the user with a way to visualize and control what information is being shared or stored. It allows the user to define what is private and what is public. In some cases the distinction may depend on the location of the user. Information at “home” may be shared more liberally than in a public space like a coffee shop.

While these features haven’t yet been designed and won’t be included in three-point-six release, there aren’t just another proposal. Big names in Gnome’s playground are involved on this like Nocera, McCann, Allan and others.

Just some early mockups to get an idea how things might will look like..


  • Quickly visualize all forms for shared content and connections, including:

internet connection sharing (hotspot)
remote access (ssh)
desktop sharing (vnc, etc)
music/media sharing (rhythmbox, rygel)
file sharing (nautilus, gnome-user-share)
drive sharing?
printer sharing?
peer-to-peer file sharing (bittorrent etc)
bluetooth paired devices

  • Control how you appear on the network

bluetooth in discovery mode
computer identity (computer name)
mdns profile (avahi)

  • Provide a way to see what information about you the system has stored
  • Be able to clear out stored personal information
  • Remote control pairing (whether a builtin infrared port is enabled, and any remote can work with it)
This panel is about not being caught “with your pants down”. You need to have one place where you can see what you’re sharing to the local network, and around you through other technologies (in the case of Bluetooth). For example:
  • Hide the family and cat pictures from the coffee shop dwellers
  • Don’t advertise your downloaded TV series to the whole office
  • See that you have a world-writable file share when going to a black hat conference

More news in the next few days!

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  • Filippo Zonta

    I was waiting for this since many years

  • Roland Taylor


    Garbage is bad talking Ubuntu, then picking up a feature that they introduced on their own, and misleading people about how Ubuntu is “dropping” Gnome Control Center, when they have already clarified that what they are doing is using a branch of Gnome Control Center for easier maintenance.

    Time to stop acting childish Gnome. Grow up and act like adults.

    • Alexis Diavatis

      “There, it’s official. Gnome-control-center has been forked by the systems team, and 12.10 onwards will come with ubuntu-control-center.”  Source: 
      There isn’t branch because they won’t do upstream. 

      • vs8

        Still no reason to talk trash.

        Judging from that OSX screen Gnome owes everything to that OS.

        • Alexis Diavatis

          I did’t trash Canonical. I just said we don’t need Ubuntu anymore because Ubuntu’s unique features are (or will be) included in Gnome also. However I could easily blame Canonical, because they take credits for other people work (which is ok) without contributing nothing back (which isn’t ok).

          Judging also from Mac Lion, they also steal from Gnome, but this is normal. If you like something just use it.  What is not normal are the stupid patterns of Apple, that Gnome doesn’t copy :) 

          • Roland Taylor

             You have no clue what you are talking about, really.

      • Georgi Karavasilev

        Seriously, I’m typing this just to cool things down a bit:
        We in FOSS world always find some way to fragment stuff, which needless to say is NOT a good thing. In this case Ubuntu Control Center has this Privacy tool and Gnome’s one is to implement one. The logical question is “why don’t we have ONE System Settings app?” Ubuntu’s one already has Privacy done, so just use it and get done with it.
        You could say, but Ubuntu forked Gnome’s one and created their own, but do end users care about that? NO, drat NO! Sometimes compromises should be made. Their is no need to reinvent the wheel and do yet another implementation of Privacy, just use Ubuntu Control Center (with minimal patches if needed). And if you still don’t agree to that – just copy and paste Ubuntu’s Privacy to Gnome’s Privacy. 
        All that – “he did that first, hence we are not using his tool” paradigm should be killed with fire and if that price for killing it is someone making a compromise, than that is a reasonable faustian bargain :)

        • Alexis Diavatis

          I think it’s nice to have different solutions for the same single problem.  Isn’t about reinventing the wheel, is about different people having different opinions and different ideas about how things should work. After all, all wheels aren’t the same.

          • Georgi Karavasilev

            I am a rationalist and my way of thinking has always been to have ONE solution, but a solution that works well. Devs and designers always have different solutions for a different problems, however end user don’t give a damn about the ideas of developers and designers, they just want stuff to works. In this case there is already a working “Privacy” module, so the rational thing to do is just to use it. Surely that will mean that you’ll have to compromise ideas and designs, but well in life you always have to make compromises. 
            FOSS needs to evolve and become more rational if it is to have any chance of becoming more popular and creating two or more solution for a single issue (when the first solution works), whilst being idealistic and everything is not the rational thing to do :)

          • Alexis Diavatis

            I agree with you on the point that Gnome or Linux DE isn’t so popular to have so many alternatives. On the other had, does the Ubuntu Privacy solution work well? 
            If we pay a closer attention on Ubuntu’s and Gnome projects, we’ll notice a huge difference.  Ubuntu targets on single-side solutions while Gnome tries to integrate all the system in one solution.

            I mean that Ubuntu will never make a Privacy (or anything) that works good with Gnome Docs or GOA or Shell or whatever else because simply doesn’t own these projects. 

            Gnome tries to tie all these together. Of course Gnome’s developing goes slow because they have 300+ projects while Canonical has… hmmm marketing? :) Anyway what I want to see is an Ubuntu with upstream Gnome, coz Ubuntu as a distro is great!

          • Roland Taylor

             First you slash Ubuntu’s tires and scrape the paint, then you turn and say you want a version of Ubuntu with upstream Gnome because the distro is great?

            Are you even reading and thinking about what you are saying?
            Grow up.

          • Alexis Diavatis

            I blame Canonical, I like Ubuntu. I blame Oracle, I like mySQL. So simple. 

        • Matthew Paul Thomas

          Take another look at the Gnome mockups. What do you notice? They have hardly anything to do with privacy.

          Now take another look at the Mac settings panel. What do you notice? The features presented in it have hardly anything to do with each other. All they have in common is that they are some sort of “sharing”, which is pretty tenuous. “DVD and CD Sharing” would make much more sense in the Mac’s “CDs & DVDs” settings panel. “Printer Sharing” in their “Print & Fax” panel. “Remote Login” in their “Accounts” panel. And so on.

          So to me, the Mac “Sharing” panel is poor design. But whether you agree with that or not, that list of “Goals” for the Gnome settings is pretty funny. It’s like they’re copying the Mac design and then adding “Privacy” onto the name, not because it has anything to do with privacy, just to make it look less like a copy.

          The Ubuntu Privacy settings, meanwhile, are partly for Unity, partly for the error tracker, and partly for the metrics system. Fedora doesn’t include any of those features. So why would you expect Gnome to use the same settings?

  • Hunterm

    Last time I checked, most people have been asking for more appearance-related and general customization when it comes to settings.

    But hey, we’re just the users. Not like we matter.

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