To Gnome or not to Gnome

Bernie Innocenti bernie at
Tue Mar 23 09:58:05 EDT 2010

On Mon, 2010-03-22 at 23:13 -0700, Yioryos Asprobounitis wrote:

> OK. The Sugar desktop was unaffected by all these. So if you manage to switch you are safe. 
> However, is still a breaker for me, given that is generated by a gnome panel option.

Children discovered some very creative ways to break their systems
through Gnome.

One completely wiped all the activities with Nautilus. They often mess
up the panel, to the point that you can't find nm-applet. Solution:

  rm -r .config .gconf .gnome2

A few days ago, we've seen could no longer see any access points in the
network view of Sugar. The "Radio" switch in the control panel was
enabled, but NetworkManager would refuse to work. It took me half an
hour to realize that this devilish kid had turned off the "Enable
Networking" switch from nm-applet, then switched back to Sugar, where
this setting is unavailable in the control panel.

I wouldn't propose disabling Gnome or locking it down. Far from it.
Children shouldn't be denied valuable opportunities to hack around.

All we need is a fast way to recover from disasters. A "panic button"
which would reset all settings. It could be implemented in
olpc-configure with 3 lines of code. In the absence of a recovery
option, technicians resort to flashing laptops that have been tampered
with beyond some point.

Another common problem is kids removing activities, from Gnome or from
Sugar. Perhaps we should block a few of them, or use a customization
stick to restore them all. Maybe all we need to do is put all the
activities on a stick and show teachers how to drag them back to the

   // Bernie Innocenti -
 \X/  Sugar Labs       -

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