Squib of the day: sound effects

Year 2~Day 147 +118/366: Happy Birthday to JimIn GNOME bug 557921 the idea is raised of Metacity supporting sound effects.

Photo: © Judy Baxter, cc-by-nc-sa.

6 Comments

  1. Posted January 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen sound effects done well in a windowing system. The slightest delay between visual and aural feedback breaks the illusion and makes them annoying. The repetitiveness makes them annoying anyway after the first 15 minutes, unless the sounds are pleasant to hear.

    Disclaimer: I’ve never used Mac OS X. I believe Apple could do it well, if anyone could.

  2. Alister
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Hi, sorry I’m off topic, but it doesn’t look like there is a place to ask questions about Metacity, and I’m reluctant to file a bug unless I know it IS a bug.

    I’ve compiled Metacity with –disable-gconf, and it isn’t showing any close/minimise/maximise buttons etc. You say we need to hard code preferences with –disable-gconf – would that include this sort of thing, or is my build faulty? Any hints on where the hard-coded preferences need to go?

    Thanks.

    BTW, another thing I am inclined to file a bug for is a –disable-gnome-doc-util (or whatever it is) switch, as it is fairly easy to hack around it anyway.

  3. Calum
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Even Apple makes *very* limited use of sound effects. Startup sound, alerts, and emptying Trash, and that’s about it.

  4. Posted January 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    @Alister:

    If that’s happening, it’s a bug. –disable-gconf is supposed to supply hardcoded defaults if you turn it on, and button layout is special-cased by the function init_button_layout() in prefs.c. Can you raise a bug about it, please? And the other thing too.

  5. Screwtape
    Posted January 31, 2009 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    It is possible to have useful and non-annoying sound-effects, but the key is subtlety – think about how much noise a book makes as you turn the pages, and that’s as much noise as your computer should make as you minimize windows or flip through menus. In short, unless Canonical wants to hire a professional sound designer or somebody voluntarily creates a sound theme, or it’s very easy to do and nobody minds not shipping with any sounds effects hooked up, I wouldn’t bother.

    Does libwnck or the EWMH spec allow programs to be notified of events like this? That is, could third-party software fill the gap, like for the “directional window switching” and “exposé” squibs?

  6. Simon
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    I’ve never used a computer where I’ve allowed desktop sound effects to remain turned on for longer than it took to turn them off – something dating back to the first time I had a machine with a sound card. As Marius said, they very quickly get repetitive – even if done well and not hard on the ear, it doesn’t take long before I find them annoying.

    The only sound I want from my machine is the music or video that I’ve told it to play. Nothing else.