Consolidate all about dialogs for core components into a single credits page

I wanted to rebound directly on that, after a quite discussion on Twitter.

I really don’t like having About boxes for core apps as I think they make a really poor debugging/support tool. So they’re really only used to credit the authors, designers, artists and translators that worked on the apps. But having core apps be credited is a bit silly if we’re not going to credit folks who worked on core components, backends, daemons, etc.

I think it would make sense for designers to start looking into the possibility of core apps not having their credits builtin, but having their credits appear along with credits for the rest of the desktop components (and/or OS?) in a single place, probably in the Settings’ About panel.

Technically, having a list of application IDs that are part of GNOME, in gnome-desktop, would allow us to fetch the metadata that’s usually in each app’s about box from the application’s appdata. That means it could be translated, updated, with the app, and would still allow the app to be shipped as a Flatpak but feel part of the OS.


I think it makes sense. We used to have an “About GNOME” dialog with all the credits in GNOME 1 and 2, but it was removed for a bunch of reasons—mostly because we never had clear rules as to who was going to add names to the list, and who maintained the credits there once they were added.

Now that we have the AppData information for applications, and we still have DOAP files for project maintainers, we should be able to populate that list.

There’s still the question of contributors that do not hit the Git repository, or the ones that do not appear in the AppData/DOAP files, like the design team.

I like having the About dialog in each application. It’s convenient to see which version you’re using and display other potentially-important related information. E.g. in Epiphany Tech Preview it shows me the exact commit the build is built from, plus WebKitGTK version. I don’t see value in removing these.

I know totem already has no About dialog, but that seems more annoying and inconsistent than useful.


Yes please.

Rhythmbox gnome-nightly About dialog:


Above screenshot is for illustration purposes only. I’m aware that Rhythmbox is not in gnome-core. Still, I would like similar behavior from all gnome-core apps ( Epiphany / Nautilus / Videos ) while running their gnome-nightly flatpak versions. It would also be easier for tracking and reporting issues with gnome-nightly flatpak versions.


I might also add all the non-programming people who have also put a lot of effort into GNOME as well. It would be nice to see their work there as well. (you already know this, but my comment is for the rest of the peanut gallery)


My take on this is that if you want to make a ‘faceless’ utility instead of an application - thats fine, don’t add an about dialog. But stripping about dialogs out of existing applications as a matter of policy seems wrong.

I’m not sure that you read the original post properly. It’s not about stripping about dialogues, it’s about moving credit to a central OS place.

Epiphany Tech Preview isn’t a core application, and it’s not built in any other way than in a Flatpak. How would this information be useful in the main “Web” application where you don’t control which patches are applied to WebKitGTK, to epiphany, or don’t see the version numbers of any of the dependencies in the About box, and the end-user will need to get that information from somewhere else instead?

I find the current solution “good enough” in various ways. Notably, on showing the licensing information clearly, per app. And I’m not sure I’d like a solution that treats differently core and non-core applications.

It’s usually good enough for bug reports. Asking users to figure out which WebKit or Epiphany version they are using without looking at the About dialog in a cross-distro way is not really possible.

Maybe it’s different for Ephy, but for Geary the success rate of getting people to fill out things like app/desktop/distro versions etc in bug reports etc is < 50%, even though the bug template explicitly asks for it. Asking non-technical people to submit bug reports is a big ask already, getting them to go find and copy/paste arcane details from arcane places is just a barrier to that.

A better option would be to implement something like Geary’s problem report tool and just have it automatically upload the info to gitlab, creating a new ticket. Then maintainers can have it include as much detail as they want (this is the plan for Geary, eventually).

This isn’t a vote against About dialogs though. By all means include a GNOME-wide About, but I’d rather keep per-app Abouts as well.

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Agreed. We wouldn’t need About dialogs if we had a desktop-wide tool for bug reporting where one could select an application on the client side and that would populate the gitlab issue with the relevant data (app version, distro, locale, etc…).

I am not necessarily talking about an “automatic bug reporting tool” that pops up once a crash happens. More of a little app where users can file an issue right from their desktop (without having to create a gitlab account). This one focused on bugs/issues that aren’t necessarily crashes.

This could also help for scenarios where the bug reporter doesn’t know the right component to target in gitlab.

Something like a “bug report assistant” app. :slight_smile:

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