GNOME and protecting Sugar --

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at
Wed Jun 16 08:19:25 EDT 2010

On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 8:17 PM, Bernie Innocenti <bernie at> wrote:
> During the last development cycle we lacked the time to lock-down GNOME
> a little more and we're still paying the consequences :-(


>>  - Were there any other problems? Solutions?
> Indeed, some kids manage to do damage Sugar, with or without intention.
> More frequently, they mess up the panel icons in ways that make it
> difficult to restore functionality.

Mess up the panel icons in Sugar or in Gnome?

> In one case, a kid managed to click "Disable Networking" in nm-applet
> and then switch back to Sugar. Not "Disable Wireless", that would have
> been easy! It took me one hour of debugging to figure that out.

That would be in Gnome.

> Everyone, including teachers and teacher trainers, manages to fill up
> the filesystem with large multimedia files downloaded from the Internet,
> solowing down the system due to frequent jffs2 garbage collections.

That has nothing to do with Gnome.

> In some cases, it's not the user's fault: various programs, including
> Firefox and Browse, can hide up to 50MB of junk in dot-files. Clever
> users managed to discover some of these locations and passed the word.

Good to know. Still, not much to do with Gnome.


> To mitigate the problem:
>  - lock down the panel:
>  - add a "panic button" to olpc-configure which would bring up a
>   text menu with various recovery functions, such as resetting
>   GNOME configuration to its default and clearing temporary caches.
>  - remove the desktop switcher icon from the Sugar control panel
>   give the field technicians a secret shell command to restore it.
>   This should prevent children who are too young to figure it out.
>  - Hide the Activities. We can't really make them read-only or
>   immutable because the updater runs as user olpc.
>  - Also hide .sugar

Ok -- that's a good initial guide - thanks!

 martin.langhoff at
 martin at -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first

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