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Old 02-22-2009, 03:00 PM
Bruce Cowan
 
Default New notifications concerns

As far as I can tell, the new notification system uses dialogues when
user input is required. However, a lot of programs currently (perhaps
over)use this type of notification. The reason they do this is because
notification-daemon used to be the only notification daemon available,
meaning capabilities didn't have to be checked for things that it did
anyway.

The way that it is planned to fix this problem is to patch various
things in Ubuntu. I believe this is not the right thing to do because of
the extra maintenance incurred. There is no assurance that upstream will
bless the new system, so Ubuntu's changes would have to be maintained
for ever. There are 73 packages that depend on libnotify, so the number
of programs that require patching could be anything up to that number.

Long-standing distro patches are never a good thing for any project, as
both sides lose. Firstly, upstream lose useful changes (such as some
cases where actions arguably should be removed), and downstream has to
maintain the patches they have made for ever.

I'm not sure if any upstream project has been consulted about these
changes, so I'd like to know if they have.

I don't know if a black box which needs compositing to look reasonably
good is much of an improvement over a bubble. With the bubble system,
there was an indication as to which notification icon was actually
causing the bubble to appear. Also, not everyone has hardware that can
support a compositing window manager (I realise it doesn't require one,
but it doesn't look anywhere near as good without compositing). There is
also the problem with dark themes. The black bubble can't be seen with a
dark background.

There are issues with showing dialogues in general:

* Windows appearing randomly (even in the background) can be
confusing ("where did that appear from?"). Perhaps that may make
people think that their computer has a virus or other malware.
* Opening a dialogue for each individual notification is asking
for trouble (see IRC for details).
* People don't want to be told what to do by their computer, they
want to tell the computer what to do.
* As mentioned in a reply to my last post here, said that they
were concerned that showing too many dialogues may annoy users
so much as to switch them off (if that would be possible), which
could be a security risk (depending on what sort of things
dialogues show).
* There is a risk of annoying experienced users by changing
something they considered not broken in the first place.

Jacob Peddicord at [1] says that there will have to be Ubuntu-specific
patches for the new notifications. This would mean more work to maintain
these patches.

At about 01:00 this morning on ubuntu+1 [2], there was a discussion
about the new system.

To sum up, I hope there can be a decent debate about the new system.

[1]https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/notify-osd/+bug/331843/comments/6
[2]http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2009/02/22/%23ubuntu+1.html
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:54 AM
Dylan McCall
 
Default New notifications concerns

Hi Bruce,





Regarding the upstream changes, these should be thought of as bug fixes. A notification server specifies to clients whether it can support Actions, summaries and other such things. The client is supposed to use that information and behave responsibly. This is not just for notify-osd. Think news tickers - a notification style popular on smartphones.





An incredible number of clients behave totally irresponsibly and assume all notification servers are like GNOME's default. This is finally being fixed.





The old functionality for said software does not changed, and this is never a hack for said programs; it just makes them smarter and more flexible.





I agree about the pain of dialogs. Personally, I think it makes sense to have a dialog. The dialog box just isn't an adequately realized concept. We know this because developers explicitly avoid using them, instead opting libnotify bubbles which offer the exact same information and buttons but presented at a different part of the screen.


This is the part where the Metacity and GTK people come in with new ways to present such things within the existing APIs (and without libnotify, which has Nothing To Do with dialog boxes).


I think it would be nice if dialogs appeared blended with their parent windows, replacing or (where possible) pushing away the window contents. (Think Firefox's notification bar, but for windows).





Regarding notifications not pointing to their icons... I have a bug and a branch for that. I have added the functionality; it just lacks serious animations





See bug report and patch here:


https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/333517


https://code.edge.launchpad.net/~dylanmccall/notify-osd/position-hints








Thanks,


Dylan McCall


<http://launchpad.net/~dylanmccall>



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Old 02-24-2009, 07:11 PM
Emilio Pozuelo Monfort
 
Default New notifications concerns

Bruce Cowan wrote:
> As far as I can tell, the new notification system uses dialogues when
> user input is required. However, a lot of programs currently (perhaps
> over)use this type of notification. The reason they do this is because
> notification-daemon used to be the only notification daemon available,
> meaning capabilities didn't have to be checked for things that it did
> anyway.
>
> The way that it is planned to fix this problem is to patch various
> things in Ubuntu. I believe this is not the right thing to do because of
> the extra maintenance incurred. There is no assurance that upstream will
> bless the new system, so Ubuntu's changes would have to be maintained
> for ever. There are 73 packages that depend on libnotify, so the number
> of programs that require patching could be anything up to that number.
>
> Long-standing distro patches are never a good thing for any project, as
> both sides lose. Firstly, upstream lose useful changes (such as some
> cases where actions arguably should be removed), and downstream has to
> maintain the patches they have made for ever.
>
> I'm not sure if any upstream project has been consulted about these
> changes, so I'd like to know if they have.

I've contacted upstream for one of the packages affected (which I maintain in
Debian) and he has already fixed it upstream. I've also fixed it upstream for
another package.

I don't think there's going to be much problem to get the patches upstream (as
long as they are forwarded), since they are real bugs.

Cheers,
Emilio

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Old 02-24-2009, 07:51 PM
Bruce Cowan
 
Default New notifications concerns

On Mon, 2009-02-23 at 18:54 -0800, Dylan McCall wrote:
> Hi Bruce,
>
> Regarding the upstream changes, these should be thought of as bug
> fixes. A notification server specifies to clients whether it can
> support Actions, summaries and other such things. The client is
> supposed to use that information and behave responsibly. This is not
> just for notify-osd. Think news tickers - a notification style popular
> on smartphones.
>
> An incredible number of clients behave totally irresponsibly and
> assume all notification servers are like GNOME's default. This is
> finally being fixed.
>

It's hardly surprising behaviour considering the only notification
daemon supported all these features.

Now, there could be loss of functionality without actions though, so I'm
not sure why this decision was made.

> I think it would be nice if dialogs appeared blended with their parent
> windows, replacing or (where possible) pushing away the window
> contents. (Think Firefox's notification bar, but for windows).
>

Perhaps a notification widget in GTK+ like GeditMessageArea (or whatever
it's called) would be useful.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:08 PM
Bruce Cowan
 
Default New notifications concerns

On Tue, 2009-02-24 at 21:11 +0100, Emilio Pozuelo Monfort wrote:
> Bruce Cowan wrote:
> > I'm not sure if any upstream project has been consulted about these
> > changes, so I'd like to know if they have.
>
> I've contacted upstream for one of the packages affected (which I maintain in
> Debian) and he has already fixed it upstream. I've also fixed it upstream for
> another package.
>
> I don't think there's going to be much problem to get the patches upstream (as
> long as they are forwarded), since they are real bugs.

I didn't realise that until after I sent my e-mail.
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:51 AM
Scott Kitterman
 
Default New notifications concerns

On Tue, 24 Feb 2009 23:08:20 +0000 Bruce Cowan <bcowan@fastmail.co.uk>
wrote:
>On Tue, 2009-02-24 at 21:11 +0100, Emilio Pozuelo Monfort wrote:
>> Bruce Cowan wrote:
>> > I'm not sure if any upstream project has been consulted about these
>> > changes, so I'd like to know if they have.
>>
>> I've contacted upstream for one of the packages affected (which I
maintain in
>> Debian) and he has already fixed it upstream. I've also fixed it
upstream for
>> another package.
>>
>> I don't think there's going to be much problem to get the patches
upstream (as
>> long as they are forwarded), since they are real bugs.
>
>I didn't realise that until after I sent my e-mail.

Some of them are, but some of them it's not so clear. The notifications
'spec' is not yet an approved FDO spec as I understand it. Failure to
comply with an unagreed draft is not a bug.

That doesn't mean there might not be advantages to doing so anyway, but I
don't think bug is the right word.

Scott K

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Old 02-25-2009, 09:05 AM
Mark Shuttleworth
 
Default New notifications concerns

Scott Kitterman wrote:


Some of them are, but some of them it's not so clear. The notifications
'spec' is not yet an approved FDO spec as I understand it. Failure to
comply with an unagreed draft is not a bug.

We'll be engaging to try to move that forward to 1.0. We've had some
conversations with the folks who were pushing it previously, and I hope
we will get good engagement from the Kubuntu and (by extension) the KDE
community too, which would make this a comprehensive effort.



Mark





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