GNOME Control Panel: Network Status

Matthias and I have been working on the network panel for a large chunk of this week, now we have NetworkManager 0.9:

Quite a lot of stuff works, but there is lots more to do. If you’re using odd connection types like WIMAX, we would appreciate any help testing. At the moment, editing the low level connection details is done in nm-connection-editor, but we’ll roll this functionality into the panel for 3.2. I’ve upset the translators enough already.

If you’re testing, ensure you also rebuild NetworkManager and network-manager-applet using jhbuild.

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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.

24 thoughts on “GNOME Control Panel: Network Status”

  1. It looks very nice! It could be very useful if network-manager has the feature to associate one proxy to one connection.

  2. Do the on/off buttons get translated in non-English languages? Just wondering if there becomes a problem with them getting very wide…

    1. The translators have opportunity to use “On / Off” or ” I / O ” – I guess most non-english speaking countries will choose to use I / O .

  3. It’s ugly. The “switch” widget should be removed completely, even from git history, and the theme is an obnoxious combination of dull and irritating (I’m looking to the huge window’s top bar and to the window’s title bar).

    And you can’t even change it anymore because according to GNOME 3 developers we’re too stupid to be in charge of how our own computer looks…

  4. Stuart: It is translated. There is a translation comment to use some special UTF-8 character if the translated word is very wide.

  5. Richard, a big thanks to you and Matthias for getting this finished. I’m testing and writing docs off the F15 alpha. Will this make it into the yum repository soon?

    1. It’s not quite finished, we’ve got to fix up all the little layout niggles, and there’s still some mobile broadband and wimax controls that I’ll add tomorrow. This will hopefully go into Fedora when 2.91.92 is released, which hopefully is really soon.

  6. The switch control looks completely out of place. It doesn’t make sense on a desktop.

  7. The slider switches serve no purpose on a desktop, and look ridiculous. Don’t blindly copy widgets from other platforms if you don’t know the purpose.

  8. @Dylan the use of the switches are actually correct here, as opposed to mos other panels. Please specify what you find appropriate uses so we can have a constructive discussion, instead of just ranting.

    1. @Hylke: please accept my apologies for my previous [rudely worded] posting. The reason why I think the slider switches do not belong in a desktop environment is that it introduces another widget for no apparent reason. I can’t think of any scenario where a checkbox would not suffice, and having two widgets for the same purpose leads to confusion.
      Apple’s use of the slider widget [users must drag the slider from left to right to unlock the screen] is a very good choice. The widget is large enough to be used with your finger, and the intent is clear. On a desktop, the slider switches look too large in comparison with other widgets, they’re themed differently and don’t translate into Non-English desktops too well.

  9. Rant ahead…

    I see no gain whatsoever by using the “switch”-widget instead of a normal checkbox, maybe except to satisfy some iPhone-owning designer wet dream.

    Is there anywhere a switch makes more sense (UI-wise, not nice to look at wise) than a checkbox?

  10. Hard to tell that it’s a slide switch; looks more like a weird box with “Off” offset to the right, or “On” on the left with a box on the right for no particular reason.

    A touch (screen) device is the only place a slide control belongs, IMHO. In any other context it is just out of place; people just don’t expect a control that requires direct physical manipulation on an interface that is normally controlled via mouse or keyboard. Changing the control to make it toggle on click doesn’t make it better; people will just think it’s an indicator of status with a weird container rather than a control, because….

    Anyway, if touch devices are your target, then great. Otherwise, I think it’s a bad choice.

  11. Looks cool.
    But in the screenshot it says that you are connected to a WEP network, you should use WPA, because WEP is easily hackable.

    1. Agree, it’s on my TODO. There are quite a few devices on my home WIFI that would need resyncing, and if my wife can’t play Wii, I get to know about it! :-)

  12. I believe the switch is usefull for emphasized boolean values.

    For example if the airplane mode was moved to the right top vertically aligned with “all Settings”(where I think it belongs), then it would function as highlighted information widget which also gives the user the power to easily shut of the connections. (Plus more space would be available at the bottom of the dialog.)

    But in many cases the switch serves no purposes other than setting a property true/false in which case a checkbox would be a lot better.

  13. The network applet is one of the rare places where I find the switch widget appropriate, because it is actually connected with switching “on” and “off” a certain piece of hardware.

  14. Looking the screenshot, i realize that manipulating the switcher with the mouse is not obvious. Do we have to drag it to the right ?
    With a touchscreen things may be intuitive, but what about people using keyboard+mouse ?
    Maybe the widget could be turned to another if the system doesn’t run on a touchscreen ?

  15. Why are there two “Wireless” entries? Also, what is the “Network proxy” entry – is it an alternate connection, or are those the “global” proxy settings?

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