working with gnome project/other distros together on system tools (was: Re: System-config Reworking Proposal)

Matthias Clasen mclasen at
Mon Nov 19 16:46:00 UTC 2007

On Mon, 2007-11-19 at 16:37 +0100, Nils Philippsen wrote:
> On Mon, 2007-11-19 at 15:06 +0100, Thorsten Leemhuis wrote:
> > Just wondering: Why don't we work towards getting some sane config tools
> > (seperated in UI, logic, ...) close to Gnome (and KDE, should there be
> > interest)? Sure, that way other distros will benefit from out work as
> > well, but on the other hand having stuff as de-facto part of Gnome and
> > used by other distros afaics lead to better tools and a better user
> > experience, which overall leads to a better "Linux".
> AFAIK, some stuff, e.g. date and time setting via the time applet,
> creating users, is already worked on for GNOME. Whether these will cover
> all aspects (e.g. also server specific stuff), I don't know. Whether
> these should cover non-desktop aspects at all can also be disputed ;-).
> Certainly, once UI and logic of the existing tools are sufficiently
> separated the logic could be used from applets/tools more tightly
> integrated into the desktop environment of choice if there's the need.

Might be worthwhile to point out that there is prior art in this area
with gnome-system-tools. They already have the ui/mechanism split and
are moving towards adopting PolicyKit. The traditional complaint about
them has been that they have no distro adoption, but I recently learned
that probably at least Debian/Ubuntu, Gentoo and FreeBSD are using them

There are admittedly a few warts:
- the backends used to be written in perl (not sure if that is still the
- they follow the kitchen-sink approach of keeping everything in a
single system-tools-backends package 

If we are talking about cross-distro collaboration for traditional
system-config tools, that may be the leading contender. 

What we in the desktop team want to push a little further in F9 is to
move some system configuration tasks into the regular tools where that
makes sense. An early example of that is the time+timezone setting
inside the clock applet, other examples to follow will be a "Use these
settings system-wide" button for the power management preferences and
some other areas where it makes sense. Access to this will be controlled
via PolicyKit as well.


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