[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Jeff Waugh jdub@perkypants.org
Thu Oct 9 04:02:37 PDT 2003

<quote who="Karsten M. Self">

> > gconf's model, for better or worse, is that preferences are saved as the
> > user changes them, rather than through an explicit "save options"
> > command.  This means that the files might be rewritten at any time,
> > because of user action.  
> Note that this isn't clear to the user. I'm generally used to having
> separate "indicate changes" and "commit changeset" operations. The few
> times I've worked with gconf-editor directly, I've been confused at times
> over when, exactly, the changes are committed.

Oh yes, which user? :-) We've done the user testing on this. Instant-apply
wins hands down. The traditional "OK, Apply, Undo, Cancel" foo doesn't fly.

You'll see very similar behaviour on Mac OS - just like GNOME, it is almost
entirely instant-apply (sometimes, we have to expose frustrating mechanics
underneath). Rather than dealing with an abstract idea of changing settings
and committing them, you are dealing with the software head on, hands on.
Direct manipulation.

> > Basically every Unix application that has files updated by multiple
> > processes requires people to go through a wrapper layer rather than
> > editing things directly.
> Yes.  What's the gconf wrapper for this?  Or is it the flock() within
> the gconf tools and libraries directly?

Everything goes through gconfd.

> > gconf's variable names are less wacky than xrdb patterns.  Things have
> > simple unix-style pathnames, not bizarro wildcards.
> The variable names may be less wacky.  The variable data leaves
> something to be desired.

Only in very rare cases.

> > gconf schemas tell you what variables and values are meaningful, and
> > variables can have documentation attached.  There is a way to set
> > system-wide default or mandatory values.
> This is something I need to look at more closely.  Previously mentioned
> online reference (the one I dissed for not mentioning gconf-editor)?

http://www.gnome.org/projects/gconf/ would be a great place to start if you
really want to know what to flame. You should also read the GNOME System
Administrator's Guide:


> What does seem clear to me is that usage notes on how application
> developers implemnt gconf should be stated.

See the GConf page.

- Jeff

linux.conf.au 2004: Adelaide, Australia         http://lca2004.linux.org.au/
    "And the only time I met George W Bush, he said to me, 'Hey Mike! Go
              find real work.' Of all people!" - Michael Moore

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