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Thread: A New, Easy To Use Disk Formatter For GNOME

  1. #11
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    Or, if you can't get it pre-bundled for you, just download the frickin' thing from the project's website! What a revolutionary idea!

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vadi View Post
    @BlackStar: the usability improvement over GParted is clearly visible in the way both apps are designed. And it wouldn't be better to add tihs to GParted, because the two apps are made for different use cases. You don't just combine use cases together.
    Sorry, it may be clearly visible but I just don't see it. Care to explain what you mean?

    It may be that I am used to the GParted UI, but I do think its visual representation lends itself to discovery, especially for newbies. Judging from the screenshots on this article, I really don't like the presentation:

    1. The default setting is to format the entire disk (which you almost *never* want!)

    2. The "Show Partitions" tickbox is irksome (why is it off by default? why is it even an option?)

    3. The same goes for the "Partition x on [disk name] is currently mounted on/as '(null)'" message. Mounted on null is nonsenical: is it mounted or not? The 'stop' sign indicates an error condition, but offers no way to resolve it and does not disable the 'Format' button. Dangerous.

    I keep searching for a meaningful use case, but the only I can think of is formatting flash disks (where you probably want a single partition, encryption and a volume name.) Everything else, e.g. partitioning for system installation, preparation of new disks, seems to be handled better by the GParted UI.

    Anyone care to explain what problem this program solves?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    Sorry, it may be clearly visible but I just don't see it. Care to explain what you mean?
    Your post made me laugh. I was actually writing something extremely similar to what you just now wrote. I ended up not posting it because I realized that this program may actually have room somewhere.

    I completely agree with you in that there's nothing wrong with GParted GUI. Let's say however that a total beginner wants to quickly format a USB flash drive. I can see how he/she may have a problem finding the right program, clicking on the right volume and then right clicking in "format". I'm being serious. On its own, this application solves nothing, but if/when integrated with the file browser it may be useful to some. Remember that it's details like this that brought Ubuntu to be the linux for the 'masses'--most of it is Debian, I heard

    All your points are reasonable, but remember that a) this is quite a new application, so problems like those you mention are more understandable; b) it sports the typical gnomish dumbed down interface, so it's probably neither targeted at you nor going to be a replacement for GParted.

    @BlackStar: the usability improvement over GParted is clearly visible in the way both apps are designed. And it wouldn't be better to add tihs to GParted, because the two apps are made for different use cases. You don't just combine use cases together.
    That I don't understand. What would preclude GParted from supporting encrypted volumes? It actually would make all the sense to have that support there instead of in what is meant to be a tiny app to quickly format an external drive. I actually see a contradiction in wanting to design the most stupidly simple interface for a potentially dangerous operation and, concurrently, adding options that only a couple of geeks want to use--and for which they have better tools anyway.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    Sorry, it may be clearly visible but I just don't see it. Care to explain what you mean?

    It may be that I am used to the GParted UI, but I do think its visual representation lends itself to discovery, especially for newbies. Judging from the screenshots on this article, I really don't like the presentation:

    1. The default setting is to format the entire disk (which you almost *never* want!)

    2. The "Show Partitions" tickbox is irksome (why is it off by default? why is it even an option?)

    3. The same goes for the "Partition x on [disk name] is currently mounted on/as '(null)'" message. Mounted on null is nonsenical: is it mounted or not? The 'stop' sign indicates an error condition, but offers no way to resolve it and does not disable the 'Format' button. Dangerous.

    I keep searching for a meaningful use case, but the only I can think of is formatting flash disks (where you probably want a single partition, encryption and a volume name.) Everything else, e.g. partitioning for system installation, preparation of new disks, seems to be handled better by the GParted UI.

    Anyone care to explain what problem this program solves?
    I agree. I can't see any real difference between what GParted offers. A list of volumes is presented. Selecting a volume shows a list of actions and possible filesystems. Click OK to proceed. You need the same amount of knowledge to use GParted as you do to use this tool. Can someone please tell me what special knowledge you need to use GParted that you don't need to this app?

  5. #15
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    Exclamation Very, VERY good news for Desktop Linux

    This is certainly in the top 2 most significant stories I've ever seen on Phoronix the other being AMD announcing/releasing open source drivers for even their latest cards- seriously!

    I find it absolutely unbelievable that it has took until 2009 for GNOME to get this functionality, which I believe is still lacking in KDE too when this has been a standard feature (for FAT(32) drives at least) since Win95!

    Up until now, any user wanting to do this under Linux would've had to know/ discover gparted, download and/or compile it, work out how to use it or they would have to fiddle with mkfs commands- hardly granny proof stuff and I've never had any luck with gparted anyway- I normally use (c)fdisk for this under Linux. Besides, gparted and fdisk are analagous- they're for fine grained control of drive setup which most desktop users don't understand or want- only techies like us know about filesystems and partitions.

    Just think just how common pendrives and MP3 players, mobile phones and memory sticks are now! Millions of people will boot into Windows just so they don't have to mess with mkfs.*, gparted or hope USB will act nice under VirtualBox. Soon they will be able to insert the drive, right-click -> Format disk just as they always have under Windows.

    If this util makes it into the major Linux distros this year, it will truly be the start of Linux having a real chance at large scale desktop acceptance. I think very few people understand the importance of this small util for the world of computing as a whole.

  6. #16
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    As usual this comes out from Fedora:
    http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/DeviceKit

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    I keep searching for a meaningful use case, but the only I can think of is formatting flash disks (where you probably want a single partition, encryption and a volume name.) Everything else, e.g. partitioning for system installation, preparation of new disks, seems to be handled better by the GParted UI.

    Anyone care to explain what problem this program solves?
    I'm pretty sure that's exactly what this app is intended to do. It's not meant to partition your system drives. Heck, it's not meant to partition anything! It's just supposed to format external disks using as simple an interface as possible. The problems with GParted for new and inexperienced users are:

    1) It requires admin privileges to run (why do I need to type my password to format a USB thumb drive? I don't need my password to plug it in or disconnect it)

    2) When you start GParted, what do you see? A list of partitions on your first drive, the dropdown box for selecting another drive isn't labeled, and heaven help you if your system drive and external drive are the same size. (Where's that external drive I just plugged in? What the heck is a "dev/sda"?)

    3) Let's say you're able to select the right disk, what do you click now? There's no button that says "format", and even if you find the Partition menu, all the options are grayed out (you have to select a partition first, but none are selected by default). Even if you do select or right-click on the partition, "format-to" is grayed out. It makes sense to you and I to unmount the partition first, but a new user won't know why (shouldn't the computer know to unmount it if I want to format it?).

    Most users are goal-oriented, and want the computer to take care of the intermediate steps. GParted is a system administration tool, and as such, it is designed to give you control of the intermediate steps. The downside of control, however, is that it requires more effort, and most people use computers to make tasks easier. A simple app where a user can just say "I want to format this disk" (in as few clicks and little menu-hunting as possible) and the rest is taken care of is ideal.

  8. #18
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    I'm pretty sure that's exactly what this app is intended to do. It's not meant to partition your system drives. Heck, it's not meant to partition anything! It's just supposed to format external disks using as simple an interface as possible.
    Yep, you nailed it - I'm the original author of this code, and you're right that this isn't really designed to format fixed disks - it's for SD and USB Thumbdrives.

    Check out http://blog.paulbetts.org/index.php/...made-phoronix/ for the latest on this version of the code, but be aware that this is a dead project, and Felix Kaser has picked it up, and did a rewrite in Vala (didn't use any of my code, just the name and some of the GUI ideas basically)

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