Should mousing over (but not clicking) audio files on the desktop cause them to play invisibly?

Efrain efrain at
Fri Apr 3 11:22:06 BST 2009

I appreciate the mouse over effect. I know it is a nautilus property
and I can disable it if I need. I think the issue is more like users
do not know that it is there and think there is soemthing wrong. I
usually use this to impress my friends by telling them I do not need
to open a music file to see what it is. I believe it is very usefull
since it helps identify songs when sorting them or even naming it
before ou add them to a multimedia player.

It wouldn't hurt to disable it by defaultm so long as activating it is
not very difficult

On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 6:02 PM, A. Walton <awalton at> wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 4:59 PM, Scott Ritchie <scott at> wrote:
>> So, by default Gnome has a feature that I've seen confuse at least a few
>> users - if you leave the mouse over top an audio file it will
>> automatically start playing the file, even if it's already open or you
>> have other music playing at the same time.
>> Upstream, however, seems reluctant to change it:
>> I'm convinced this goes way against user expectations.  From the bug
>> comments:
>>> 1) What value do audio previews serve?  Most users will "test" a file by
>>> opening it.
>>> 2) If we do decide to continue with the preview, we need to make it very clear
>>> that an audio preview is playing and how to stop it (eg with a tooltip)
>>> 3) There is potential for harm here (playing music without being asked to
>>> during class/meeting, etc).  This is especially true with audio files on the
>>> desktop.
>>> 4) We should never play an audio file with preview if it's already playing
>>> somewhere else.  A common case of this is when I right click a file, tell it to
>>> open (or even queue) in my media player but leave my mouse nearby.  The file
>>> will start playing, and also start previewing, leading to a very confusing
>>> double-sound.
>>> I've seen this affect several people now, and I'm quite convinced that the icon
>>> change is absolutely not enough.  It's a small, hard to notice icon, it doesn't
>>> appear as soon as the audio starts, and most importantly it's not clear whether
>>> it means "I will start playing sound in a second" or "click here to play
>>> sound".  Many users would expect the latter, since they're about to open an
>>> audio file and clicking is what normally makes it play sound.
>>> At the very least, we should notify the user with some text somewhere, such as
>>> by using libnotify.
>> So, would it be appropriate to disable this in Jaunty?
> I don't think so.
> The impression that I get is that the problem comes from the fact that
> it's happening on the desktop, and not subfolders. It's appropriate in
> subfolders; you're looking at files, you're purposely landing the
> mouse on those files, the icon changes and the audio preview starts.
> The desktop however, the mouse just lands where it lands. If there
> happens to be some audio underneath it, the audio preview might start
> before you manage to move the mouse again. This has happened to me a
> few times and every time it spooks me. Futhermore, the desktop often
> has a different background or texture, so it might take longer to
> notice the audio-preview icon there.
> If you don't like the audio preview feature at all, just disable it
> and it won't bother you again (until the next reinstall...) That's the
> point that Andre expressed in the bug. But the audio preview feature
> shouldn't be disruptive in the general case and IMO having it on the
> desktop is rather disruptive.
> Cosimo Cecchi wrote a patch that refactored the audio preview feature
> a bit. Once that lands, it should be fairly easy to disable on the
> desktop.
> -A. Walton
>> Thanks,
>> Scott Ritchie
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