Tag Archives: parental controls

Metered data hackfest

tl;dr: Please fill out this survey about metered data connections, regardless of whether you run GNOME or often use metered data connections.

We’re now into the second day of the metered data hackfest in London. Yesterday we looked at Endless’ existing metered data implementation, which is restricted to OS and application updates, and discussed how it could be reworked to fit in with the new control centre design, and which applications would benefit from scheduling their large downloads to avoid using metered data unnecessarily (and hence costing the user money).

The conclusion was that the first step is to draw up a design for the control centre integration, which determines when to allow downloads on metered connections, and which connections are actually metered. Then to upstream the integration of metered data with gnome-software, so that app and OS updates adhere to the policy. Integration with other applications which do large downloads (such as podcasts, file syncing, etc.) can then follow.

While looking at metered data, however, we realised we don’t have much information about what types of metered data connections people have. For example, do connections commonly limit people to a certain amount of downloads per month, or per day? Do they have a free period in the middle of the night? We’ve put together a survey for anyone to take (not just those who use GNOME, or who use a metered connection regularly) to try and gather more information. Please fill it out!

Today, the hackfest is winding down a bit, with people quietly working on issues related to parental controls or metered data, or on upstream development in general. Richard and Kalev are working on gnome-software issues. Georges and Florian are working on gnome-shell issues.

Parental controls hackfest

Various of us have been meeting in the Red Hat offices in London this week (thanks Red Hat!) to discuss parental controls and digital wellbeing. The first two days were devoted to this; today and tomorrow will be dedicated to discussing metered data (which is unrelated to parental controls, but the hackfests are colocated because many of the same people are involved in both).

Parental controls discussions went well. We’ve worked out a rough scope of what features we are interested in integrating into GNOME, and how parental controls relates to digital wellbeing. In this context, we’re considering parental controls to be allowing parents to limit what their children can do on a computer, in terms of running different applications or games, or spending certain amounts of time on the computer.

Digital wellbeing is many of the same concepts – limiting time usage of the computer or applications, or access to certain websites – but applied in a way to give yourself ‘speed bumps’ to help your productivity by avoiding distractions at work.

Allan produced some initial designs for the control centre UI for parental controls and digital wellbeing, and we discussed various minor issues around them, and how to deal with the problem of allowing people to schedule times when apps, or whole groups of apps, are to be blocked; without making the UI too complex. There’s some more work to do there.

On Tuesday evening, we joined some of the local GNOME developers in London for beers, celebrating the 3.32 GNOME release. ?

We’re now looking at metered data, which is the idea that large downloads should be limited and scheduled according to the user’s network tariff, which might limit what can be downloaded during a certain time period, or provide certain periods of the night when downloads are unmetered. More to come on that later.

For other write ups of what we’ve been doing, see Iain’s detailed write up of the first two days, or the raw hackfest notes.