Screensaver to be or not to be (was: Re: Security Audit Request for Screenlocker Branch)

Michael Pyne mpyne at
Wed Oct 12 02:46:40 BST 2011

On Wednesday, October 12, 2011 02:12:55 Thomas Lübking wrote:
> Am Tue, 11 Oct 2011 17:47:52 -0400 schrieb Michael Pyne <mpyne at>:
> > On Tuesday, October 11, 2011 20:54:42 Thomas Lübking wrote:
> > > BUT: running them automatically because you're away and the system
> > > is idle is simply not a justifiable (anymore)
> > 
> > With all due respect, and with full agreement that screen savers are
> > not in general required to *protect the screen*... who are you to
> > unilaterally declare what is and is not justifiable for a user to
> > want to do with their own computer?
> Maybe "justifiable" is not exactly the correct English term and it's
> more like "reasonable", to me it's only a nuance, but it could be read
> much different. I apologize in case i sounded like some Interface-Nazi.

"reasonable" makes much more sense (it implies that otherwise you're doing 
something dumb, whereas if you're having to "justify" doing something you were 
probably doing something wrong and not merely something unoptimal).

> But do you know such reason why somebody should want to use a
> "screensaver"
> a) that does not serve to protect the screen
> b) that does not serve to protect the account (locker)
> c) while nobody is there to watch it?

> Now, if a user really wants to use such process to suck out his battery
> while he's walking the dog or so, he perfectly can do, and i won't
> discuss that.
> He has every right to do, but it's unreasonable behavior nevertheless,
> is it?

It would certainly be unreasonable on a laptop if you were actually trying to 
conserve power. But not every configuration is a laptop.

> The question however is, whether the system should automatically start
> such process while it could remain completely idle, since this is what
> happens with screensavers atm.

By default, assuming a laptop profile I'd say no. But I'm not talking about 
default settings, merely the capability to do it at all.

> If so, why isn't there an option to calculate Pi to a precision of
> 10^-(10^100) after an idle time of 5 minutes - that's just as good,
> isn't?

Does it have a nifty visualization? If so maybe someone will code it someday. 
Otherwise there are plenty of perfectly good ways to dump battery ("yes > 
/dev/null" springs to mind) although like I mentioned earlier, that's not 
actually the point.

> Who declared that it's justifiable to render unseen animations, but
> that it's not justifiable to calculate Pi (and throw away the result)?

Who says they're unseen?

> Not that it would be any of my business, but i'm curious regarding this
> discussion:
> Do you have configured a "saver" beyond dpms?
>   And if, why?

Yes. KDE asciiquarium (feel free to look at the copyright headers for that in 
kdeartwork someday... ;)

I use it because I like it. More importantly, my autistic son is enamored with 

> Do you use a locker beyond a black screen?
>   And if, why?

Yes I do. It's nice to be able to walk away from the computer and let my 
aforementioned autistic son move the mouse around or watch the fish move and 
know that there's at least a half-decent chance he hasn't deleted all my files 
by the time I got back.

For what it's worth, this reasoning also leads me to installing the same 
screensaver/locker combo on my laptop, knowing full well it will reduce total 
battery life. But up to now that has been my choice to make. I hope it will 
continue to be my choice to make in future editions of KDE. :)

 - Michael Pyne
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 836 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part.
URL: <>

More information about the kde-core-devel mailing list