The return of the clocks of death (this time in the new gnome logout dialogs)

Corey Burger corey.burger at
Mon Jan 30 07:53:34 GMT 2006

On 1/29/06, Matthew Paul Thomas <mpt at> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On 30 Jan, 2006, at 2:58 PM, Corey Burger wrote:
> > ...
> > I was most distressed when I installed the daily from yesterday and
> > saw the new rather cool logout dialogs from gnome (not the one manu is
> > working on). On these dialogs are countdown clocks. Yes, GIANT CLOCKS
> > OF DEATH!!!! Oh no, run around screaming, you are going to be logged
> > out in 59 seconds and counting!!!! (excuse me, the preceding was way
> > too much fun to write)
> In this case a small countdown is better than either (a) the alert
> staying up indefinitely and leaving your machine insecure until you
> return to work the next morning, or (b) the alert disappearing
> unexpectedly and logout/shutdown continuing without any warning at all.
> As long as it's a *small* and properly-explained countdown.

Windows XP does not have a countdown, I just checked. (and for this I
have suffered). If you are worried about data theft, etc, then the
screensaver should be set to default lock and the logout dialog(s)
should not stop the countdown clock to the screensaver to being

> > In all seriousness, as Brandon Hale pointed out, these are actually
> > worse than other clocks that have existed because these ones have real
> > potential for accidental data loss.
> > ...
> If there is any app in which logout/shutdown could cause dataloss, that
> app is faulty. Mac OS apps have dealt properly with shutdown for the
> past 18 years or thereabouts, and Windows apps for the past 16 years.
> Report bugs.

This is a lovely principle, but not a workable one, in my opinion.
There are lots of apps out there that will *never* be fixed for this
problem, likely because they are abandoned, closed-source or
otherwise. In fact, I doubt if all the stuff we ship by default is
safe in this manner, let alone universe and beyond. So lets be
realistic and consider the modern situation, where apps will break.


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