Is GNOME 3 going to melt your laptop?

In GNOME 3.0, we’re defaulting to suspending the computer when the user shuts the lid, and not providing any preferences combobox to change this. This is what the UI designers for GNOME 3.0 want, and is probably a step in the right direction. We really can’t keep working around bugs in the kernel with extra UI controls.

This will upset people who are docked or using a laptop for a presentation with a projector. Worry not! If you have more than one active screen connected to the machine, then we’re going to just disable the internal screen and not suspend until the second screen is removed.

This will upset some macbook owners if they connect a projector and then shut the lid. Some macbook laptops overheat when the lid is closed and not suspended, leaving the owner with a hot white glooopy mess when they finish their presentation. This is something we can do something about, but I need the help of the community to work out what makes and models need to be blacklisted.

If you own a laptop that gets very hot and starts to smell like hot plastic if you shut the lid without suspending, please send me the output of dmidecode and I’ll add the entry into upower. Thanks.

EDIT: Comments are now closed. Please see this entry from Allan Day.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

193 thoughts on “Is GNOME 3 going to melt your laptop?”

  1. Is there going to be a dconf-editor option to switch it from suspend to turning off the screen at least?

    I sometimes leave the computer running overnight, but I close the lid so the screen turns off and doesn’t light up the room.

          1. Hybrid suspend is just a better hibernate. Hibernating with 8GB of memory takes a long, long time. I certainly don’t want to do this on lid close.

      1. I turned that off on my Macbook the first week. It’s exactly the wrong thing to do.

        I close the lid and put it in the bag. Then I shake it around some tossing the bag on my shoulder.

        With the new default to hybrid suspend the hard disk was still writing while I was slinging it around. This surprised me at first.

        Now that “feature” is disabled I shut the lid and it’s suspended. Period.

  2. Is this post an April fool joke?

    Keeping at least the “Black Screen” when lid is closed is sane and safe.

    If UI designers think that the gnome users are idiots, you, as a developer, shouldn’t embrace this kind of ideas.

    1. Amen! I quote you, and add that it’s not a matter of pleasing macbook owners because their hardware overheat, it’s up to them to buy good hardware for a reasonable price. You should understand this option is vital to many users, it’s not only a whim over a handful of icons removed. Users should be the ones to decide whether their machines are capable of keeping the lid close (in the end, they were manufactured with that in mind) or not (then they have faulty hardware). Either way, we should be put in the condition to decide, rather than having the option removed.

      I really want to use GNOME 3, and I hope it’s going to rock, but with such premises you risk to scare users away. Thanks for listening!

      1. As an engineer, I consider that no well-designed laptop should burst into flames because of overheating. All current processors have mechanisms for thermal shutdown, and this is the right thing to do.

        Besides, suspend is flaky with some video drivers (Intel on older kernels come to mind; also my laptop has ATI graphics and suspend is not 100% perfect), and this is likely to be an endless source of frustration with new users.

    1. Not offering features that could melt your $1000 device and start a house-destroying fire? That’s just so crazy it might work! :D

      1. If the device let’s itself melt, it’s faulty to begin with. It’s not software’s responsibility to protect faulty HW from itself.

    1. An HP tx2500, for example, has an internal thermal shut down point of 115°C. It’s not good for a computer to get that hot internally, so it’s probably irresponsible to wait that long.

      Also, would a user be happy if he expected his laptop to remain functioning with its lid down and some times he just found it off instead?

  3. Well this is not a question of workarounding kernel bugs…
    I don’t want to xchat to timeout when moving to a meeting/back to my desk. Dos this mean I will have to transport the laptop with screen open?
    Suspend works fine on this laptop and I use it twice a day to get to the office / go home / sometimes during the day, but I want to be able to close the screen without supending.

  4. I really need some (hackish?) way to disable this feature so it can fallback to only turning off the screen when closing the lid.

    I often walk 30 secs between meeting-rooms, and recently I’ve begun to look stupid when I balance my open laptop, pen and paper + a tea-cup in my arms.

    I don’t want Gnome3 to make me look stupid, or even make me drop and break one of the items above. I only have one pen.

    volunteer persona

  5. A few points:

    (a) If machines are overheating, that’s a problem that should be fixed by keeping track of the HDD/CPU/GPU temperatures and downclocking the CPU and/or GPU or speeding up the fans, or even disabling cores if required. I believe the intel_ips kernel module does downclocking for Intel CPUs if the CPU temperature starts to exceed 95 C (or a similar configurable temperature).

    Perhaps a daemon could be written which does this keeping track of *all* temperatures from userspace and takes the necessary actions? If this turns into a chronic problem, the user should probably be notified as well so that they can take adequate action (such as getting the fans cleaned).

    (b) I’m working on my laptop, and I decide to move to a more comfortable chair across the room. I obviously close the lid to make the machine easier to carry, and I reopen the lid a few secs later. But what’s this? All my Firefox downloads from megaupload have failed! “What the hell!?” is my reaction.

    (c) I’m talking to someone on IRC about something really important, when suddenly my kid sister comes along with a grin on her face and shuts my lid for giggles. I reopen it immediately, and find that the machine has suspended and killed my network access. I love my sister so I can only blame my DE.

    Perhaps a (configurable?) timeout of 30 secs would be prudent to cover these two *very* common cases.

      1. As I mentioned multiple times, overheating/cooling is a separate issue that should be dealt with via a daemon that controls CPU/GPU clock speeds, fan speeds, which cores are online, and eventually suspend the machine if the problem is too severe. We can even call it ‘usensors’ and go with the flow.

        With a daemon like that, no one’s machine is ever going to shutdown due to overheating.

        Besides that, your argument is a complete strawman. The default is suspend, sure. But users who are smart enough to press the suspend button when they *really* want to suspend should not be forced to change the way they use their machines. That has nothing at all to do with what you said.

        And don’t say dconf-editor. My mom knows what a suspend button is, but she does not want to know what org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power.lid-close-battery-action is.

        1. Yes, but your Mom would reasonably expect her laptop to suspend since that’s what every other laptop running other OS’s does. Most general users understand that if they close their laptop the laptop suspends.

          Basically, most of you have taken advantage of the broken behavior (laptop not suspending) and have gotten used to it.

          Yes, you should assume that if you close your laptop downloads are going to break. I think even regular users probably know this. Firefox also I believe has a “resume” so you can continue where you left off.

          As for IRC, maybe you should use a jabber client which won’t have a persistent connection or use screen + irssi (which is what i do)

          1. > Basically, most of you have taken advantage of the broken behavior (laptop not suspending) and have gotten used to it.

            Except that some people (like me) change that behavior deliberately.

            > Firefox also I believe has a “resume” so you can continue where you left off.

            Only if server supports this (most does but not all). Also if file is big I may want to left it downloading overnight.

            > As for IRC, maybe you should use a jabber client which won’t have a persistent connection or use screen + irssi (which is what i do)

            Sorry – but have you just recommended using CLI instead of GUI in name of simplictly? What if I don’t want to learn screen/tmux (I know them) or irssi commands (I don’t want to learn them)?

  6. In my opinion, handling power management and internal/external screen behaviours needs to be made _more_ flexible, not less.

    I have no objection to altering defaults to satisfy the normal or most common use case, but is denying other use cases really a good idea? It isn’t for me. I have issues with the flexibility and possibilities of 2.x as it is.

    I have a laptop with a dock and external screen, keyboard and mouse. When docked, I want to use the external peripherals and turn off the internal screen. Others will want to keep both screens running. Others will want to be able to close the lid to have the internal screen turn on/off. Why define and restrict what people can do?

    Blacklisting will raise the bar of entry for working around any heat issues when it’s really quite a simple behaviour to understand and the current UI is not complex when someone understands that there is some difference between suspend, hibernate and shutdown.

    Also, not related to power management, can we please have a keyboard layout switching method that is either tied to the input device (e.g. internal keyboard is British, external is Swedish) or uses the layout I choose until I manually switch it?

    Despite having switched off the layout per application option, I observe some behaviour where when I switch to some applications, my layout will change without me having requested that it do so. I have not figured out the exact reproducible cause of this. I should probably just look at the code.

    Just my two pennies.

  7. I don’t like the idea, there are many reasons we shut the lid and don’t want it to suspend, imagine downloading files for example, or I often shut the lid when I use Skype (because I don’t want the cat to walk over the keyboard), …

    I don’t think that users will accept this and will file bug reports when GNOME 3 comes out.

      1. Depends; is developer error an option for reopening?

        Network connections, actively playing music, a compile that should keep going, the list goes on. Closing the lid of my laptop means “I don’t need to interact with it right now”, not “it doesn’t need to run right now”. Don’t assume those mean the same thing, and don’t assume that offering a hidden “unbreak me” preference makes this OK.

        1. And dont assume that the people working on gnome give a damn about you as an individual user – their job is to make the most usable system for the largest number of people, which might ocasionally conflict with your needs. If you dont like where the train is going, feel free to get off at the next stop.

        2. To me closing lid means:

          Go into suspend mode when your not on power so I can put you away.

          I don’t want anything to be dependent on whatever totem is doing, or network connections that are open, or any weird shit like that. I don’t want to have to run a checklist of possible issues that might prevent suspending if I close my lid.

          My god… having whether or not suspend works based on open connections is just about the worst thing you could possibly do. Am I going to be forced to run a netstat to make sure that nothing is going on before I can stick my laptop in my bag?

          If I have my volume turned down then does that mean I now will end up with a overheated laptop and no battery life left?

          If you want to add all these pitfalls to your laptop, then so be it. But they all are intensely bad ideas and will result in user after user shooting themselves in the foot because they are impossible to implement correctly.

          And what is all this issue people have with dconf-editor and such?

          Is editing configurations to get advanced features so far above the skill level and experience of so-called “experienced Linux users” that its not a satisfactory solution when they want to do something weird like this?

          Unless you have a little radio button buried in some GUI somewhere then it is foreign and useless to everybody?

  8. What? O_o

    It is not difficult to add a GTKComboBox and a GTKLabel to power settings for change a GSettings key. >.<

    1. Of course it’s not difficult. But beautiful user experiences aren’t created by adding checkboxes for every possible option.

      1. I agree, but often needed options should be made configurable easily. I think the many replies in this thread make it pretty clear that there is no “perfect” default for this particular thing.
        The gnome-power-manager configuration dialog might be a bit crowded in GNOME 2.x, but that doesn’t justify stripping configurability down all the way.

      2. You can have a good experience without sacrificing configurability. It just requires better organization.

        Maybe a button that offers “Advanced Settings”, or multiple configuration option tabs for each power profile.

        Windows 7 has this very option for more “advanced” power configuration settings, why shouldn’t GNOME?

        1. > Maybe a button that offers “Advanced Settings”, or multiple configuration option tabs for each power profile.

          There is a advance setting manager for Gnome 3.0. It is called dconf-editor

          What you say? Editing configurations is too difficult for Linux users nowadays? Who is making what for baby?

          > Windows 7 has this very option for more “advanced” power configuration settings, why shouldn’t GNOME?

          Aping Windows may not be the best approach for a Linux desktop. :P

  9. I fear some people won’t realize their laptops overheat and melt with the lid closed only after they’ve installed GNOME 3 :/

    1. You claim that the proposal makes most people happy. Do you have data that can confirm this or are you just making things up?

      1. it’s just the gnome guys want to be as cool as Canonicals imposing stuff on their users *grin*

  10. Hmmm… I’m not sure this is a good idea. What will happen to systems for which suspend does not work well? Or do you expect *every* such system to be blacklisted? I hope not because this solution is simply not feasible!

    At the very least, for the systems where suspend *does* work well, I believe adding a delay (as proposed above by Nirbheek Chauhan) is a good idea. IMO the delay should be more like 3 minutes, though.

  11. @Nirbheek: I think (hope?) it will not suspend as long it’s on A/C while being closed.

    I use this regularly, to focus on paper stuff, or I close the lid, then disconnect it from the power and carry it to the next room and reopen it.

    I think those cases are save now, and I hope they’re still with GNOME 3.

  12. Sorry, but imo this is definitely not the way to go.

    – I close the lid at night while downloading some stuff.
    – I close the lid when I’m eating something but want to follow some IRC conversations lateron.
    – I close the lid when I’m carrying my notebook around for some seconds. Rejoining every chatroom and trying to continue downloads is not that great.
    – I close the lid when I’m listening to some music. Oh, whait. No music on suspend.

    I would really like to see an option to disable autosuspend.

    1. My laptop has discernible electromagnetic static noise on the audio jack as long as the display is on. When I want to listen to soothing, sublime music on my stereo I close the lid to eliminate these few dBA of noise floor. That is a probably unfixable hardware limitation.

      Why do you want to patronize users?

    1. Does “$ xset s activate” work for you? Most of the laptops I’ve owned, I could either disable the screen backlight by a hardware key, and I’ve otherwise mapped a shortcut key to this command. (I know, not insanely user friendly.)

      I wonder whether people under-estimate the general risk of allowing laptops to function normally with the lid down. Too many laptops are designed sufficiently poorly that they rely on the extra ventilation to keep temperatures down. Even if a laptop doesn’t end up shutting down due to high temperatures (at 115°C for some HPs!), keeping it that high is detrimental to the machine.

      1. That should still be well below the melting point of ALL plastics… See here for a comparison table: I don’t know which other materials they use in a computer but to design a laptop and make sure it is possible to close it without having to suspend it/turn it off seems pretty basic to me.

        Now, there is not a single windows version without this ability and to not offer it within GNOME, which is “linux” for many people: hacks and workarounds EXCLUDED!, is folly…

        If mac really designs their hw in such a shitty way, you can engineer in an exception for those laptops; don’t make the rest of the world suffer because your UI design team obviously haven’t understood the first tenet of design(you CAN have BOTH features AND aesthetics) and macs are designed in an idiotic way…


    each time my laptop does that when running on windows I want to throw it through the window!

    Use case 1) You are on your desk and want to go on your sofa with your laptop, you have to be very careful to not close the lid.

    Use case 2) If your suspend does not work correctly (really, most driver still fail miserably), you can never close your lid.

    Use case 3) When you are at conferences (like FOSDEM/Guadec) each time you travel to another room you have to be very careful to not close the lid.

    Seriously, think about this twice, please!

    1. You can change this option on Windows, but not on MacOS AFAIK.
      About 1 and 3, didn’t you notice that half of the people move around with the lid open holding the laptop in weird ways? :)

  14. I’ve never heard of any Macbooks overheating when running with the lid closed, I’ve done it regularly with every portable Mac I’ve owned. Apple even have knowledge base articles that say you can do it[1], which I’m sure they wouldn’t if they knew it was a problem.

    [1] Here’s one of them:

  15. My laptop is usually connected to my monitor and I close it each night before I go to sleep. It’s just going to be annoying to have to disconnect and reconnect the plug every night because someone decided that how I use my computer *everyday* is somehow broken. As far as I am concerned, it is not. The defaults can be tuned to fit the majority use (and in this case I agree with the change you’ve made), but I’m pretty certain there is a non-trivial number of people who would want to tweak this option.

    I understand that a simpler UI with fewer switches is essential for a friendlier computing experience, but it is not pleasant to see people make last-minute knee-jerk decisions that force users to use their computers in the One True Prescribed Way. We’re taking the worst of Apple’s way of doing things along with the best.

  16. I don’t fully support this decision because GNOME users have very different ways to deal with their daily computing needs. For example, due to requirements of my work, I need my laptop to be on all night (at work). But I can’t really leave the lid on because the cleaning ladies would just try to clean the laptop screen with rubbish cleaning products and then ruin it.

    I this that the behavior you’re describing is the best by default, but it should really, really be up to the user if he wants to maintain that behavior or not.

    Also, if my brand new laptop has problems with suspending/resuming (it has), I can’t really wait for the next version of upower to be available on my GNU/Linux distribution of choice.

  17. Yes, it’s not clear from your post that there will even be a dconf option for this. If there’s no way to change this behaviour it is a deal-breaker for me. It is not acceptable that my laptop suspends when the lid closes for the ways I primarily use my laptop, and the disable-if-active-display feature doesn’t help me.

  18. > not providing any preferences combobox to change this.
    > This is what the UI designers for GNOME 3.0 want

    What about the user? I don’t understand why GNOME keeps following the you-can’t-change-the-defaults path. Searching random strings in dbus-editor in order to configure something is not really user friendly.

    Apart from that, GNOME 3 looks great. I just think many people might want to change this and hacking the “registry” is very esoteric (and quite inconvenient).

  19. Two use cases not to suspend on lid close here:

    1) i’m often streaming movies from the laptop to me trusty PS3. In those cases i just close the lid to avoid accidental keyboard presses etc
    2) When at desktop, i’m using external monitor and a keyboard, so i just fold the laptop and basically forget about it as the central piece becomes the monitor and the keyboard.

    Sure have the suspend by default – but please provide the UI to adjust it

    1. For 2, that user case is addressed.

      “If you have more than one active screen connected to the machine, then we’re going to just disable the internal screen and not suspend until the second screen is removed.”

      1. Just curious about this condition:
        1. The laptop lid is closed with the external screen connected to it
        2. Later we’re done using the screen so the the screen is disconnected (with the lid still closed).

        Will the laptop be suspended? If yes, I think, users have to be wary aware of this condition.

  20. From the many answers, it seems like you’ll move form dealing problems with kernel bugs to dealing with problems with different use cases than the one you chose as default.

    I hope this article was written to see the reaction of users to such change, and you’ll change your mind.

  21. >In GNOME 3.0, we’re defaulting to suspending the computer when the user shuts > the lid, and not providing any preferences combobox to change this.

    Ah, I see. You make it easy for a user to get what he wants – oh wait, not if he wants the laptop to keep running when closing the lid, but of course the user would never want that and if he would, using dconf is very easy, isn’t it? A combobox option in the normal GUI surely wouldn’t faciliate that (a small hint: yes it would!)

    Imho assuming that hiding very vital options makes using Gnome _easier_ is the most stupid mistake ever.

  22. This is going a bit far.

    I 100% agree with “suspend on lid close” as the default behavior (this is what I use).

    However, I would *strongly* recommend you leave a combobox option for the non-negligible segment of the population who really really don’t want this and just want the screen to turn off. They are not to be ignored, and “you can change it in some hidden dconf option” is not an acceptable solution.

  23. And when you make an action that time consuming and you don’t want to stay in face to face with your laptop? You naturally want to turn OFF the screen but not suspend the laptop.

    If you need to keep ON the screen to don’t suspend the laptop, it’s very bad: Backlight have a some life time and it’s good save it when you can (in LCD screen, backlight power supply is the most main cause of failure[1])

    [2] Certified by the experience of an electronics (me).

  24. I would even add to Andre’s comment that the way the post is written make it sounds like there is no room for discussion. So much for the free and open software….

    1. I’ve been told a thousand times i suck at UI design, so I’ve left the designers to provide me with mockups. If the mockup changes, then the software changes. Talk to the guys in #gnome-design. Sorry.

      1. Thanks. It wasn’t clear from your post how this happened and whether there was room for compromises. hopefully we can find some ways to satisfy everybody.

      2. i say to stop letting other to do the thinking for you.

        what is your personal opinion about this?

        what is your current behavior when you have a laptop?

        you don’t have a laptop?

        Please don’t hide IMPORTANT options from the users. Don’t make gnome 3 mostly computer illiterate, they should buy a book or something.

        But please, stop saying this stupid argument about the mockups.

      3. They’re not God on a mountain top and you’re not moses. Though, to continue with the relgion analogy this whole process seriously undermines the theory of intelligent design.

  25. No, GNOME 3 is not going to melt my laptop. Because, by the time you release it, my laptop will be safely running KDE 4.6. Remember, for every feature you drop, KDE is going to increase its user-base exponentially.

    1. 1. I don’t think it makes sense to have a single UI that needs to fit ultra-small display (12-13″) displays.

      2. Brightness levels can be moved to something display-specific. Is “Screen Energy Saving” even relevant today? If the desktop-effects disabling is necessary at all, then we’re doing it wrong. The run-script bit is definitely not required as a UI option in GNOME. That leaves 2 options + a what-to-do-when-the-lid-closes option. Sounds simple enough to me, especially if the defaults are sane enough that only people who actually want to tweak this actually get here.

      1. This:

        “1. I don’t think it makes sense to have a single UI that needs to fit ultra-small display (12-13″) displays.”

        Should read:

        1. I don’t think it makes sense to have a single UI that needs to fit both ultra-small (12-13″) displays.

        1. Bah, humbug – t’s the less than and greater than signs being treated as HTML tags.

          1. I don’t think it makes sense to have a single UI that needs to fit both ultra-small (less than or equal to 10″) and normal (greater than or equal to 12-13″) displays.

        1. I’m suggesting that trying to make a UI that works well for both the netbook and desktop cases is going to result in a UI that is not quite right for *both*. Makes more sense to solve one problem at a time.

        2. I find this whole idea disturbing. I have my laptop set to shutdown when I close the cover. Looks look I’ll be forced to change to a different GUI!!

        1. It’s ironic you pull up a KDE dialog as an example of what not to do, because it wasn’t that long ago that there was a hot debate in their community on the decision to remove the “time left” feature from the KDE battery / power dialog, right? The designer / coder really thought he knew best and decided to remove the feature. He had very strong opinions about it. Meanwhile, I note that practically every other application continues to show a “time remaining”, e.g. for downloads from the Internet, etc. I cannot help but conclude that very few people agree with the idea that “time remaining” is stupid and ought to be removed.

          Perhaps we will find the same thing with regards to this proposed feature removal. Time will tell, I suppose!

        2. Dude man, the current dialog works fine and looks good. It’s 480×404 px.

          This goldrush of oversimplification is a cancer.

        1. LOL, joke all you want but separating controls into tabs is a good way to organize controls, and sometimes it make sense to do so as I’m sure you already know.

          Windows uses them, Mac OSX uses them, and lots of applications use them.

          You could also add an underlined label to a bottom right area above the normal buttons that opened an “Advanced Settings” dialog with additional controls.

          There are lots of ways to solve this problem, but removing the ability to configure it completely isn’t it. :D

    2. i think actually powerdevil knows best, i don’t get why according to gnome designers gnome users _must_ be dumb

    3. Wow, here’s an example of a bad choice of rationale. I believe there’s a myriad layouts to make a selector fit.

      So, the problem is screen size? C’mon dude, grow up.

      This is being rated (by gnome devel) as an unimportant feature, but that’s just what will make many people stop using gnome (many, many people I know don’t even have a desktop anymore).

      So much work spent to make distros work better with laptops, and now one simple widget gets cr*p-level design and will scr*w the gnome experience on such devices.

      _NICE JOB_

  26. This is just dumb. There’s a big difference between taking inspiration from Apple (which just about every change seems to do recently) and adopting their “we’re smarter than our users” philosophy.

    I have a work laptop and a home laptop. My home laptop I want to save power, I rarely have long-running tasks on it, and I’m fine suspending it when the screen shuts. My work laptop is an entirely different story – every single day I start some task, shut the screen, and put it on the shelf for awhile while it runs. Forcing suspend on screen close would be an enormous pain in the ass.

    The more I learn the more it looks like I’m just going to be ditching Gnome once Gnome 3 hits the streets. And Ubuntu’s decision to go their own way is looking more and more prescient.

  27. Was there a discussion about this somewhere? Were the use cases presented by commenters above considered? Could some of the people behind this decision please come forward and help us understand the rationale?

      1. So the images at the bottom is the suggested new design?

        There is room for a giant battery time indicator icon, but because the window has to fit small screens, there’s no room for one checkbox?

        Are users too incompetent to understand what this option does? How about trying to teach them instead of removing the option. Human beings have an incredible ability to learn! If users were so incompetent, you would have to remove 90% of the options Gnome.

        Will some laptops burn if you don’t suspend while the lid is closed? Then make a blacklist that disables the option for THEM, not everyone else. If you are afraid that your system will destroy peoples hardware, then I suggest you make Gnome shut down the computer the second it starts up.

        Another use case that makes the lack of this option annoying:
        I’m walking from a meeting to my office. Let’s say I haven’t even closed my laptop yet, because I was busy surfing the interwebs on the way. I now have to place my laptop in my dock, so I close the lid to make this operation easy. I sit down and begin working. … Wait! I don’t! The laptop is now sleep mode because it’s forced default and I have to wait for it to start.

        Bad bad bad idea. Don’t let the design team have too much control! Look to the iPhone4 antenna problem as an example of what happens.

  28. This is ridiculous. I like to keep my laptop on but closed when I go somewhere and want to leave a download running, or when I change classrooms.

    If you want to add this feature, please at least add some way to disable it without going into gconf/dconf/whatever.

  29. While I do appreciate the work on GNOME 3, this is definitely going too far. At least leave an option to change that, my laptop runs perfectly fine with its screen closed, thank you.

  30. I do appreciate the work on GNOME 3, but this is definitely going too far… Please leave an option for this, the “screen estate” argument is not valid to me. If you’re targeting such tiny screen resolutions, make the thing scrollable (yes, that’s ugly), and done…

  31. UI Designers are there to design the UI around the requirements not modify the requirements to fit the UI.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly right. If the design can solve the user’s requirements a different way, fine. But telling them the requirement doesn’t actually exist isn’t going to go down well.

    2. Bullseye! Like Don said: it’s absolutely ridiculous that there is room for a amazingly oversized battery status icon, but one tiny checkbox for this feature cannot fit in the design.

      Just devide the UI in two different tabs or something like that if more space is needed: ‘Settings’ and ‘Current Status’.

      Disabling ‘suspend on close lid’ is a feature used not only by hacker-ish user who know their way into dconf. I know a lot of people using this (either in Gnome 2 or Windows/Mac) who never heard of gconf, regedit, bash, whatever.

  32. The issue I am worried about is not about how “we” developers deal with it — I hate to see this option go, but I can find it in gconf (dconf?) — but about how the average user will find this option. My partner also has the suspend-on-lid-close functionality disabled, by using the configuration panel to do so. How will these users be catered to?

    I’m all for good clean user interfaces, but in this case the default functionality of suspending when the lid is closed never really sat well with me as a “sensible” default for Windows and Mac.

    The same goes for the “When the power button is pressed” option. Suspending at the touch of a button is rarely desirable.

  33. It should be a user configuration option to either suspend or not suspend when the lid is closed.

    Forcing a laptop to suspend when the lid is closed is really a bad idea under many circumstances.

    For example, I close the lid during a software compile or ISO build and move the laptop away from my desktop.

    In this case, I would expect the computer to continue to run performing the task that I started.

    Conversely, there are arguments for suspending.

    Taking the choice away from the user is a VERY bad idea. We want GNOME desktops to be as usable as others, not less usable than others.

  34. Even though my cars external lights turn on automatically at night, I can still use the light switch to turn them off. Can you please write to Ford and have them remove this? I find it aesthetically unpleasing.

    1. My Volkswagen has daylight running lights. I can never turn it off. There is no option to do that.

  35. No… No, no, no. Just no.

    The above sums up my feelings on this issue. I don’t want my laptop to suspend when I close the lid. I just don’t want it to happen. Given the enormous quantity of replies you’ve got here, I don’t think you understand how many people don’t want this to happen either. The people above have covered pretty much all the reasons for it so I won’t repeat them. Can you seriously give me a good reason NOT to offer this option to configure it? SERIOUSLY?!

  36. I very often close the lid to carry my laptop around the office and I don’t want to suspend or hibernate because I want the work the computer is doing to continue uninterrupted. In particular, I want downloads to carry on and my VPN connection not to be lost.

    Why on earth would you remove this option? It has nothing to do with kernel bugs and everything to do with people using their computers differently.

  37. Please reconsider. It’s not gnome’s place to protect people from making mistakes. Don’t be like Apple and allow people to make these kinds of decisions for themselves.

  38. @Andreas Nilsson
    I suggest removing the “When the Sleep button is pressed” option since people expect the Sleep button to put their computer to Sleep and instead of that I suggest inserting the “When I close the lid” choice.

  39. I APPROVE.

    I used to really want to be able to close my lid without suspending (since suspend had a 1/3 chance of not coming back up, Oh Linux), but I didn’t realise the resulting heat issue at the time. It’s been worth pursuing suspend fixes.

  40. I know that the Gnome UI is supposed to stay simple, but I didn’t think that essential options would be removed. This is not some poweruser-only feature, this is a major option that legitimately matters to many people.

  41. It’s simply another point of my personal list about why I _currently_ can’t advise to use Gnome3. More can sometime be less, but less is definitely less.
    Like the fact that one day my netbook isn’t able to run Gnome Shell, the other day someone releases a driver and it suddenly can, but the user will not want to change the user experience, and will stick to gnome2-like appearence.

  42. I have no problem with a default that helps the majority of people (especially if hardware failure is a possibility otherwise), but forcing users to use dconf-editor to change it?? That’s ridiculous. I have many processes on my laptop that I do NOT want interrupted (instant messenger, downloads, updates, etc). If I want my laptop to suspend when I close the lid, I hit the SUSPEND key on my keyboard before closing it!

  43. It’s bad enough as it is, for Mars’ sake! “Blank screen” when lid is closed? What is that?

    Get over yourself

  44. So when I close it to move it from the counter to the table, like 2 feet away, then it suspends? What nonsense.

    I hate when developers adopt the “we’re smarter than our users” mentality and disallow preferences. You’re not designing your dream interface, but one lots of people will need to use.

  45. I don’t mind if this is the “default option”, but PLEASE keep an interface for changing that (maybe with a red warning about overheating).
    I believe GNU/Linux is about soaring the user’s power of choice.

  46. Dear Gnome Designers!

    I just fixed your dialog:

    Was that so hard?

    It still fits onto 811×500 roughly with gnome bars added, so that should be enough for all netbooks – where is the problem?

      1. what are you saying that the design changes have to be approved by a supreme court? (a.k.a your boss? )

        1. That is EXACTLY the point. Gnome is a meritocracy meaning as much that if one person with commit access thinks the change is “unwanted” then he can choose to not put it in. Even though the VAST majority wants it in (look for example at the nautilus spatial vs browser mode flame wars).

          They simply think a user is completely stupid and should have as little configuration options as possible. Something i completely disagree with thus use KDE or anything BUT gnome.

  47. I only use my laptop for listening to podcasts at night as I fell asleep.

    If I cannot close the lid and continue listening then I will be forced to ditch Gnome.

    Please dont “fix” what is not broken.

  48. What!? I can’t keep ssh/Firefox download/wget/rsync sessions open when the lid is closed? I can’t log into my sshd remotely if the lid is closed? Don’t be ridiculous.

    I’d be a lot more upset if this were ever going to happen, but of course it’s not. One word: bittorrent.

  49. There’s a tidbit in the design page which indicates the design people simply did not understand all the use cases:

    “Options for screen brightness, dimming and powering down will be found in the Brightness and Lock panel. AllanDay”

    Well, sure they will – but having a separate app with that icon, and making it an un-GUI-changeable setting that the laptop will *always* suspend when closed, removes the ability to configure the laptop to blank the screen but not suspend when closed. It doesn’t read like the UI designers actually *intended* to remove this possibility – I suspect they simply didn’t quite think through the consequences of ‘oh, this option will be somewhere else, so let’s take it out’.

    I think there’s enough legitimate use cases above to make it really worthwhile considering restoring the option to blank-screen-but-not-suspend on lid close. My personal use case would probably be okay with just making it easy to blank the screen at will; I set my system to blank the display but not suspend when I close the lid on AC power simply so I can not run the screen unnecessarily when the laptop is sitting there doing something which requires no interaction. A simple action to turn off the screen would replace that acceptably. But my system has no key for turning off the screen, and GNOME does not seem to expose such an action anywhere.

  50. If their mac melts, its their problem. I have a thinkpad and I want for my lid closing to NOT suspend my whole laptop. Its very useful when I move from room to room.

  51. Changing the default is one thing, and probably the right thing.

    But failing to provide a way to configure this through the GUI is pretty ridiculous, considering that all OS’s currently offer GUI options to do so, including the GUI poster boy, OSX.

    Why does GNOME insist on such an artificial separation between GUI configuration (for the simple users) and dconf/config file editing for the (Advanced Users)

  52. No. No, no, no, no.

    This is an amazingly terrible decision for a reason that really ought to be obvious to most people who use Linux as their laptop OS: Linux suspend support, despite years of promises, is still not particularly reliable. There are many, many machines that occasionally hard-lock on suspend or resume. Leaving the average user with no obvious way to cancel the “closed lid = suspend” assumption means that the user (who doesn’t know, and isn’t supposed to know, about dconf) will never be able to close the laptop while the computer is on.

    It’s reasonable to make the “closed lid = suspend” the default behavior. It is completely unreasonable to make it non-customizable for the average user.

    And the excuse about screen space on netbooks? I’m sorry, but given the UI mockup on, it’s bullshit. If you have enough space for a giant ugly battery icon, you certainly have enough space for one more spin button.

  53. Thanks guys, with every new release gnome gets easier and easier to use. So much that I have to use gconf-editor more and more. Maybe in a few releases, we’ll be back like we were in 1995 (when I started using Linux) with no preferences at all and where anything you wanted to configure had to be done manually.

  54. Bad Idea. Taking away options is not good. I close my lid quite often and I always want my system to continue running.

  55. Is this for real?
    I have a samsung 11.6 inch notebook that is not able to suspend. It works only gimmicky in Windows and if I use it in Linux it just gives me a blank screen when I try to revive it. This would mean I’d have to part from GNOME :(.

  56. Why is Gnome 3 such a strong manifest of form over substance? Why do you allow UI designers to remove features based on aesthetics and space alone? They should adjust their design to a list of features, not the other way around…. This is the main problem for Gnome 3. Ultimately, this will prove to be a bad decision.

    1. Well, OK, but why is there not so much as an option for those people who decided to buy laptops that *don’t* spontaneously combust?

  57. People’s reaction: Wtf?
    Gnome devs(and i assume designers?): wail wail wail. look for problems not solutions. Say it is impossible(when it isn’t)

    Is this really the level of debate you people bring to the table? I feel like having been witness to a primary school discussion…

  58. I’m a KDE user so I can’t say that this is going to affect me, but I use a very simple solution to this problem:

    * Lid closed while plugged in: Lock screen

    * Lid closed while on battery power: Suspend

    1. This seems to be the best idea, as long as there is nothing like a download or IRC running.

  59. Suspend fails on my laptop. I mean, it does suspend, but the machine hangs when I try to unsuspend it. For this particular reason and until it is resolved (got 3 laptops and 2 of them don’t suspend properly), I will have to avoid Gnome 3. I don’t want to force my laptop to reboot every time I close my lid.

    Yes, Mac OSX does this, but it runs on Apple hardware, and obviously, the suspend is working properly on their own laptops.

    Do this when “linux suspend bug” match no result on Google.

    Ah, and add the option to revert the Gnome developers’ decision that the laptop should suspend when its lid is closed. Seriously, I don’t use it that way.

  60. I applaud that you strive to make the desktop easier to use for the average person! Nevertheless , I can not understand why you would consider removing features that are pretty essential to how users use their computer everyday.

    The first setting I changed after a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04 was exactly this. I can not accept that Gnome degrades into a system where users have to resort to dozens of crappy “Desktop Optimizer(tm)” programs to make their system work like they want it to. This is EXACTLY the type of system I don’t want to use and is part of the reason why I use Linux in the first place.

    If there is a problem with a specific hardware – fine – blacklist it, but don’t remove that option from me! (And no, Gconf doesn’t cut it.)

  61. Richard,

    Suspend when using an encrypted LVM fails to reboot. The only sane choice is to hibernate. This is a major functional fail for enterprise users that need to encrypt their hard drives. To me, this is a major blocker bug from moving forward with GNOME 3 use.


      1. Richard,
        Absolutely. This is an important corner case that needs to be accommodated. Thanks for listening and hopefully the design evolution will work this functionality into the GNOME3 UI before hitting the enterprise version.


  62. I think you’re FUD’ing, like Microsoft.
    Please, let me turn of the screen to pee in peace.

  63. I can’t believe there is actually discussion about this?! I will stay far away from Gnome 3, who knows what else those “designers” did…

  64. Gnome Developers are making an error on this one.
    Suspend is still too problematic on linux and moreover, being given full choice on what to do on lid-close is paramount to most users.

  65. Please DON’T do it.

    It is not about if suspend is supported by the kernel or not, it is about the users who want to have the lid closed but the laptop running. It is not only the case of presentations that you have already addressed. There are obviously so many cases where a user wants his laptop running with closed dim. THINK.

    Please, let the user decide. This is not a case for considering UI policies. There is no policy about this.

  66. Hi!

    No, no, no, NO!

    I vehemently disagree with this. Contrary to what the post says, I expect this will annoy far more people than just people with “macbooks and buggy kernels”. This is a setting for a user *preference*. Different people want different behaviour on lid closure for different reasons of a personal nature (some of which have been given by other posters). Maybe they *are* trying to work around a bug somewhere, but I suspect that is not the common case.

    I’ve been a GNOME user for quite some time now, and it’s been constantly haemorrhaging settings and features in favour of some ill-defined goal of minimalism. Minimalism is good, but I already consider the Power Settings UI to be *quite* usable and minimalist. Why take more things away? This is the latest in a substantial string of unreasonable changes. Frequently when I upgrade GNOME one more piece of something I used to like is gone. GNOME 3, as I see it developing now, appears to have some good ideas but by and large reduced utility for me.

  67. I would probably drop my laptop to the floor, if I couldn’t close the lid while moving it around.

  68. What about those of us with an External Monitor and keyboard? That’s a pretty good use case. Please stop just providing us with a toaster with no buttons! If I wanted that I would just buy Fischer-Price.

    I have a netbook which I place in front of my screen, plug in the cables, and tap away.

    The worst thing was I had an apple before that could simply not do this.

    Having to go online to search for yet another random key is the worst thing — this doesn’t solve the problem, it just passes it on. Sigh.

  69. It’s ok if you choose that option as default, I think it’s sane.
    But almost everybody wants to have a graphical option to choose which method they want. Can you please listen to you users?

  70. I switched to Linux before the turn of the millennium because I wanted more choice. I agree with the other posters in supporting suspend-on-lid-close as a default, but not as a user’s only option!

    Please, please, please give us more choice not less!

  71. Funny post, but April’s Fool is still 2 months away.

    The “we’re defaulting to suspending the computer when the user shuts the lid, and not providing any preferences combobox to change this” is shooting yourself in the foot. I begin to regret I moved from KDE to Gnome not quite far away.

  72. And if I want to carry my machine from one room to another, I have to disconnect all my sessions? If I’m connected to a remote server to do some work, I don’t want to have it cut me off just because I decided to walk down the hall to someone else’s office in order to troubleshoot something. Or perhaps I want to keep some task running while I go to a meeting & bring the laptop with me.

    Yep, it’s a darned good thing I’m onsidering a move to XFCE. Between Ubuntu and their Unity interface, the confusing & questionable decisions in Gnome3, and the ever troubled KDE4 series I need a desktop that actually works for me. If I wanted to be dictated to as to how I’m allowed to use my system, I could use MacOS or Windows.

  73. An additional observation: if you have a Thinkpad T40-series machine, you had better hope it’s just a basic suspend-to-memory. If it decides it’s going to hibernate rather than some lightweight suspend, you will be dismantling your laptop in order to PULL the CMOS battery simply to get the machine to ever boot again.

  74. I leave my Vaio on all night long so that Deja Dup can run, and I close the lid to help save power. I shouldn’t have to edit gconf settings to be able to do something that basic.

  75. As an ex-KDE user, I like gnome – it doesn’t distract me with endless configuration. I applaud this meta-goal.

    But, I’m starting to be frustrated. I had to replace its screensaver already, because I need to disable some of them which don’t work well on my computer – but with gnome, it’s all or nothing. As a result, I can’t lock the screen properly, as that depends on the gnome screensaver.

    Its actually starting to prevent me from using my computer in really normal ways, which don’t require a degree in rocket science to configure, and which can have sane defaults.

    It really is getting to the point where I don’t want to go back to KDE, but I’m increasingly annoyed by the direction of gnome. Fork, anyone?

  76. Just to up the comment count:

    +1 for NOT doing this.
    My girlfriend likes to have it suspend, I like to have it blank the screen.
    We both have valid reasons.
    It’s a PREFERENCE.

    +1 as well though to providing a timeout setting as suggested somewhere above. If you are concerned about laptops going up in flames, provide SANE DEFAULTS, which is something Gnome has historically been very good at, anyway.

  77. Wow, what a braindead decision. Not providing a single combobox for letting the user decide if the laptop shall suspend or just run ? Is this just lazy or do you find some wicked delight in dictating users how they can use their laptop ?

    I _never_ want my laptop to suspend when using the lid. Because I am _able_ to use a mouse, buttons and stuff like that. If I close the lid, I transport the laptop for a few meters in my flat. Or I want the screen to turn off to save power for a minute. I do not want my internet connection to get interruptet. My downloads to fail. My Instant Messenger to lose messages (possibly).

    I personally would change the default to not suspend when closing the lid. But I can live with an easy way to customise my system the way I want it to behave. I won’t tinker around in config files to get the behaviour I want. Well, one more reason to get away from gnome sooner than later. Hopefully E17 will be a nice thing.


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