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

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at canonical.com
Mon Jan 30 09:29:31 GMT 2006


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On 30 Jan, 2006, at 8:53 PM, Corey Burger wrote:
> ...
>> 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).

I could have told you that. Sorry. :-) It's quite possible that OS X's 
countdown is crack, just like Windows' fade-to-grey is crack.

> 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 activated.

That's a reasonable solution, but only if the screensaver delay is 
short.

Another possible solution would be to guarantee that the logout alert 
always appears within one second, no matter how busy the computer, so 
that people are extremely unlikely to leave their computer before the 
alert appears.

> ...
>> 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.
> ...

These can be treated the same way as Windows does, with a "This program 
is not responding" alert <http://www.jvwinc.com/end-now.gif>, or the 
same way OS X does, with an "<appname> cancelled shutdown" alert.

> In fact, I doubt if all the stuff we ship by default is safe in this 
> manner, let alone universe and beyond.

We currently ship a default Web browser that *already* produces a 
completely useless alert if you log out or shut down while it's open.

- -- 
Matthew Paul Thomas
http://mpt.net.nz/
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