Gnome Screensaver issues?

Dana Olson dana at
Sun Mar 12 17:54:41 GMT 2006

On Sun, 2006-03-12 at 12:01 +0000, George Barnett wrote:
> Wouter Stomp wrote:
> > On 2/21/06, Diamond Software <diamondsw at> wrote:
> >> I've been following the issues regarding Gnome Screensaver on the
> >> Ubuntu community forums, and just wanted to raise it here prior to
> >> the UI freeze (as suggested). In a nutshell, many screensavers
> >> require options to be configured and the Gnome Screensaver has no way
> >> of setting these. Performance and responsiveness have also been noted
> >> as problems.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> > 
> > With the feature freeze coming very soon now, could deviating from
> > upstream and adding a configure button be seriously considered? In the
> > mentioned forum thread there is practically an unanonymous consensus
> > that the screensavers should be configurable.
> Please excuse the late addition, I've been away.
> One of the reasons I prefer Ubuntu and open source software to 
> Windows|OS-X|Solaris is choice.  I have more choices when running my 
> linux box than a windows or osx box.  I can play around and choose what 
> to run and make sure I like my desktop environment.  I must like my 
> desktop environment - I spend a good 8 hours in it every day - sometimes 
> more.
> Here's the catch though - developers need to remember that you're not 
> only writing code for yourself.  You're writing for a user base.  The 
> argument of 'I write for the love of it' doesn't cut it.  If you only 
> write for the love of writing, then why do you commit your code upstream?
> You write because you love writing, commiting and contributing to a 
> community.  As a community of users, we love this as well.  We get a 
> great OS and you get to do something you love - everybody wins because 
> we work together, providing feedback and building a better product.
> There in is the catch.  The whole process works well so long as 
> developers aren't preachers.  Making informed design decisions is good, 
> but making decisions of how I must use your code is bad.  Hotmail made a 
> lot of money because of other software vendors kept telling people they 
> could only have their email available in a mail client.  In this case, 
> it's  not a huge catastrophe - I can just install xscreesaver, but what 
> if I didn't know how to?  What if I didn't know xscreensaver even exists?
> Luckily, I'm still left with a choice here, but are inexperienced users 
> not allowed to have this choice?  Unfortunately this usually results in 
> 'Nice toy, I'm going back to $other_os'[1].
> Screensavers have been configurable since the creation of time.  There 
> are 2 reasons for this:
> 1) It works.
> 2) Nobody has come up with anything better.
> In effect, what's happened here is that somebody has said that 1) is 
> untrue, but has failed to action 2).  When the bug was rejected 
> upstream, I think it was something like "there's a better way to do this 
> with screensaver theme's" or some such, but no feature has actually been 
> presented to me as a user.
> Maybe there is a better way to do things.  Setting up screensaver themes 
> seems like a great idea to me.  Let me try the new way so I can choose 
> which I prefer.  If your new feature is good, you wont have to force it 
> on me - I'll choose to run it.  I'd love to be able to set up a 
> screensaver multiple times and run each variant at will, but there's the 
> crunch.  I want a screensaver to run how I want it to run.  At the 
> moment I'm stuck with some random developers default forced on me and a 
> vague statement that there is a better way to do it, only I can't use it 
> yet.
> Leaves me saying "Nice toy, I'm going back to xscreensaver."
> Cheers,
> George
> 1. I've often found myself looking at a piece of hardware or software 
> that only runs on a certain OS (eg RHEL or Suse) and saying 'Nice yxz, 
> pity it only runs on software we dont use' and going off to find a 
> different product.

George, you're absolutely right, but the cut is even deeper than that.
The screensaver comes on during games, movies, and even reportedly
during full-on websurfing in Epiphany.

I reported it as a bug upstream as I was told to do, and I bet you can
guess what happened with that. That's right, closed as NOTABUG. Maybe
that *is* true, since it was designed this way. But tossing out all
backward-compatability with what is currently in place (and has been for
years) and trying to force something new is not the right way to do it,

This means that mplayer has to be hacked up until upstream supports it,
Frozen Bubble has to be hacked up until upstream supports it, and so on,
through every game and every movie player (except the
almost-useless-for-end-users Totem) that exists.

I think unless every app in Ubuntu (including the relevant apps in
Uni/Multiverse) is hacked to support it, then the revert should happen
until fixes are all made upstream for every app - which may never happen
- or the proper functionality is added to gnome-screensaver - also not
likely to happen.

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