Bits and pieces about free software and various other things.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Announcing gnome-format 0.1.0

I have the honor to announce the first release of the new gnome-format. gnome-format is a tool to format devices such as sd-cards, usb-sticks and so on. I know, we already have such a tool: gparted. But the idea of gnome-format is to provide a *simple* formatting tool for small devices. gparted is really good to format hard disks and make partitions and so on, but if I have a *non-formatted* usb stick and plug it into my system, the system usually does nothing at all! And thats the field for gnome-format! It's easy to use, simple and small. For bigger tasks such as making partitions there is gparted!

gnome-format is written in vala and the idea (and name) comes from Paul Betts. A friend of mine, Michael Kanis, began to work on gnome-format because Paul was too busy to continue this project. Thats when I came into play. He knew I've been doing some stuff for gnome and he needed some help.

This release is the first one and we must expect some bugs. We've done our best but as you know, there are always some bugs. We hope a lot of people will try it and give us their feedback. The plan is to make a module proposal and get gnome-format into gnome. At the moment the repository is on, it would be great to have a gnome-svn (or git or bzr or whatever) repository and a bug tracker for the project.

Questions, ideas, feedback, critique and everything else to Michael or me per mail or something else.

PS: The website is only a first draft, I would like to rewrite Paul Betts old gnome-format page if he agrees ;)


Anonymous said...

If you're going to support external hard disk you need to support other filesystems, at least ext3 but preferibly xfs and jfs as well.

Max said...

I agree with anonymous, I'd prefer if NTFS was supported as well. At least if NTFS-3g with tools is detected.

Guillermo Latorre said...

Hey, congratulations for your great job. I think it's a necessary tool to many users. It would be great to have this tool integrated into Gnome as a usual action for external devices.
I am writing a little post announcing this great news for Genbeta. I hope it to have a good developing, :)

Anonymous said...

nice this has been missing for a while now... forget about old school floppies.

Anonymous said...

No, please do *not* forget about old school floppies. There is still a floppy drive available in most modern computers and there will be a time in your life when you happen to need one (well, at least maybe).

Support for floppies shouldn't be too hard to implement. Missing floppy support will be recognized as a regression from gfloppy!

Regarding "Please remember to unmount your media prior to formatting it": Please remember to do this automatically for the user in future releases. ;)

Anonymous said...

Please DO forget about floppies, it's a ridiculously obsolete technology that should have died years ago.

Otherwise, well done.

Flex said...

We won't forget floppy. The ones who don't want to use it, fine, the ones who need it will get it! It shouldn't be that much effort to implement.

Stefan Stuhr said...

You might want to consider moving the "All files on the volume will be lost!" warning to somewhere else, maybe even a dialog window of its own.

Otherwise some users might be afraid of even selecting volumes in the combobox; the warning does not, after all, specify at which time (or event) the files on the selected volume will be lost.

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to detect for ntfs3g and other file systems using packagekit? This would make it much each for distros in integrate.

Flex said...

I have not thought about that yet, but it's definitely the next step: support more filesystems. ntfs is really important I think. At the moment I don't know what the possibilities of packagekit are, but we will see....

Xyhthyx said...

Very nice. I actually had a GUI prototype for developing such a tool. I was planning on making it a stand-alone tool and also have it integrated with Nautilus to add the familiar right-click -> format option on mounted devices.

I will definitely try this as soon as I get home from work ;)

Flex said...

Hey thats cool....would you like to mail us your gui protoype? It would be interesting for us to see how you wanted to make it.

Alexander van Loon said...

Thank you very much for creating this, this feature was one of the things in GNOME which is missing badly.

Anonymous said...

This is great.

You probably do want to update Paul's page because other sites (Phoronix) are linking to there which points you to a different repository (not sure if it's the same code, but it is confusing... especially with Phoronix's screenshots not the same as yours)

stereoit said...

Checking for gee-1.0 flags : not found

which package am I missing?

Xyhthyx said...

@Flex: I can this weekend. Really what I did was modify gfloppy's gui. I'll email the glade file when I'm back in my hometown ;)

Flex said...

Phoronix got that wrong...probably they've read my blog post, but didn't read it carefully. The screenshots they got are the old ones from paul betts. The repos on the old gnome-format page are also the old one, I've replaced the site with a placeholder and will update the content soon.

@ stereoit: look at

NickG said...

Thanks for this. I was looking for progress on this a while back but just wrote a python frontend to fdisk.

Policy/DeviceKit were the missing ingredients, I'm glad the API has stabilised a bit more to allow apps like this!

Thankyou again, It's really appreciated.

Michael Kanis said...

Hi, thanks for all the comments! I'm a bit astonished how much stir this little tool caused. Wouldn't have expected to be on Phoronix the first day - although they tested the "wrong" code. ;)

Regarding floppy support, I'd like to do that, however my laptop doesn't have a fd, so for me this might be a bit more difficult, than you think.

In the next release automatic unmounting should be included, as this should be a no-brainer. (I hope)

Michael Kanis said...

Stefan Stuhr, thanks for the "warning about the warning". Didn't even think about that, when I made the GUI.

stereoit, you'll need libgee to compile it.

NickG, we actually don't use PolicyKit and DeviceKit yet, that's a plan for one of the next releases. AFAIK the DeviceKit folks don't have a release yet, so we'll have to wait for that.

stereoit said...

Ok, got further down:
Checking for libparted flags : not found
/usr/src/gnome-format-0.1.1/wscript:37: error: the configuration failed (see config.log)

my system:
libparted1.8-9 is already the newest version.
root@rsmol-laptop:/usr/src/gnome-format-0.1.1# dpkg -L libparted1.8-9

What am I missing, I would like to compile and test .)

Michael Kanis said...

stereoit, looks like you're on Debian or Ubuntu or similar. You may be missing libparted-dev (or -devel or so).

amano said...

Please don't leave out Floppy support. Of course this is plain old technology, but still very common especially on old business PCs.

The next step should be Devicekit support and an appliance to become part of GNOME.

Obscure file system support should come later.

A nifty little tool, thanks for that.

Xyhthyx said...

@Flex: I misplaced the .glade file I had made. Basically it was gfloppy's GUI with the third frame (Formatting Mode) replaced with a frame named Properties, which would have the volume properties, exactly the way it is displayed in Nautilus' file system properties (example image The Physical Settings frame of course only had one entry called Device with a combo box for device selection, which would populate the properties below. Format progress would popup in a new small window.

Dextro said...

I made a spec file for fedora 10, give it a try:

Blog Archive

View My Stats