Re-add the topIcons GNOME Shell extension
Thanks to doing
Bug #16608 in 3.13.2, we’ll have a chance to revert this change quickly, in 3.14, if we’ve collected enough data to conclude that the uproar is too severe.
Related to Tails -
|Blocks Tails - Bug #8310: Convert OpenPGP Applet into a proper GNOME Shell extension||In Progress||2016-11-16|
|Blocks Tails - Feature #16209: Core work: Foundations Team||Confirmed|
#3 Updated by intrigeri 2019-05-08 08:20:13
sajolida, will you have time to analyze the data that Help Desk is collecting on
Bug #16608 in the next few days, and make a decision by Saturday morning? Then if the conclusion is “re-add it”, I should manage to do so during the week-end, in time for 3.14. Otherwise it’ll have to wait until 3.15, which is no big deal (that was the original plan) and may give us more data.
#6 Updated by sajolida 2019-05-10 11:39:29
- I haven’t seen any update on
goupille in the last 3 days. I'm wondering if he's done listing all the more recent reports. * The first few days were pretty bad. * I talked tocbrownstein this moring who told me that he uses it a lot.
My first impression is that we should add it back and find a better solution than the (hidden) system tray but I might not be in time to update you with more details than that by Saturday morning.
#7 Updated by goupille 2019-05-10 19:53:18
> * I haven’t seen any update on
Bug #16608 from @goupille in the last 3 days. I’m wondering if he’s done listing all the more recent reports.
I was sick for a few days, don’t worry, more reports are coming :)
> * The first few days were pretty bad.
#11 Updated by sajolida 2019-05-15 14:55:18
- Assignee changed from sajolida to intrigeri
- QA Check set to Ready for QA
From last week’s help desk traffic it’s pretty clear that a lot of
people rely on the OpenPGP Applet. I think we should add it back and
consider the possibility of doing OpenPGP operations from the GUI a
core feature of Tails.
In terms of traffic, only counting WhisperBack messages, last week we
received 47 reports, including 12 reports on the lack of OpenPGP
Applet. It was a very busy week. Without the removal of TopIcons it
would still have been a slightly busy week.
Comparing with the week after the previous releases:
- 3.11: 46 reports (issue with Intel graphics cards)
- 3.12: 30 reports (USB images)
- 3.12.1: 15 reports (Skia security upgrade)
- 3.13.1: 22 reports
Our help desk was following up and asking people:
« We’re doing a survey on the use of the OpenPGP applet, would you
mind telling us exactly what you are using it for ? »
Only 2 people answered very vaguely that they use it to encrypt
messages and emails. Given the formulation of the question, I’m not
Some insights from the content of the reports. All quotes are rephrased to prevent stylometry.
- People refer to the applet as GnuPG or PGP as if it was their only
interface to OpenPGP.
- “Impossible to send encrypted messages”
- “How do I encrypt the clipboard now?”
- “GnuPG not loading”
- “Is there a way to encrypt manually with OpenPGP?”
- “OpenPGP not showing up”
- Some people mentioned looking for an alternative but not finding
one. In one report, the user found it in the system tray and asked
cynically if we could have chosen a more obscure place.
- It’s not clear how much people use symmetric or asymmetric
encryption but some at least some people mentioned public keys or
both. Only 1 person mentioned passphrase encryption explicit, while several mentioned public-key encryption.
- “Encrypt emails either with PGP or with a passphrase”
- “Decrypt my emails”: several other people mention decrypting,
which makes a bit less sense with passphrase encryption
- “Encrypt with public keys”
- They were no mentions of anything else than the OpenPGP Applet
(eg. Pidgin notifications).
I’ll send the full list of reports to email@example.com.
All this seems to confirm my hypothesis from Bug #8310#note-21. I think that the OpenPGP Applet
is used a lot by people who are technical enough to know the basics of OpenPGP but can’t use
it on the command line and are not using it in Thunderbird either. I still think that it’s much
more public-key encryption than passphrase encryption and most of these people copy/paste
their encrypted messages from/to a web application.
#13 Updated by intrigeri 2019-05-18 06:17:54
first, congrats for this detailed analysis!
> I think we should add it back
I assume you mean we should do this in 3.14. I’ll do that!
> and consider the possibility of doing OpenPGP operations from the GUI a core feature of Tails.
Reported on Feature #16531.
> * They were no mentions of anything else than the OpenPGP Applet (eg. Pidgin notifications).
This is very good to know. This strongly suggests that removing topIcons would be OK once we have another way to use OpenPGP applet (Bug #8310).
> All this seems to confirm my hypothesis from Bug #8310#note-21. I think that the OpenPGP Applet is used a lot by people who are technical enough to know the basics of OpenPGP but can’t use it on the command line and are not using it in Thunderbird either. I still think that it’s much more public-key encryption than passphrase encryption and most of these people copy/paste their encrypted messages from/to a web application.
My 2cts: I’ve got an out-of-band report that at least one community uses OpenPGP applet with passphrase (no keys) symmetric encryption to discuss in a web forum. I’ve asked why they use symmetric encryption and they told me that 1. it works without persistence; 2. key management is too complicated.