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A New, Easy To Use Disk Formatter For GNOME

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  • A New, Easy To Use Disk Formatter For GNOME

    Phoronix: A New, Easy To Use Disk Formatter For GNOME

    GParted is an excellent GNOME program for editing partitions, changing file-systems, and performing related disk tasks. However, GParted is not exactly the ideal program for new Linux users to familiarize themselves with if all they want to do is format a USB drive or external storage device. Fortunately, a new GNOME utility has come about that supersedes GFloppy and is designed to be a simple yet powerful disk formatting utility. In this article we are taking an introductory look at GNOME Format.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=13352

  • #2
    This is awesome! Finally, a way to easily encrypt a hard drive. I have been waiting for this for a while.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by williamthrilliam View Post
      This is awesome! Finally, a way to easily encrypt a hard drive. I have been waiting for this for a while.
      Now only if you can select what type of encryption engine you want such as AES, LUKS, or even Blowfish.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DeepDayze View Post
        Now only if you can select what type of encryption engine you want such as AES, LUKS, or even Blowfish.
        I'm sure someone who'd care about that already has the appropriate command-line tools of the job

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        • #5
          Wow -- this is absolutely amazing. Just the other day I had a user who was needing to format their Flash Drive, and I quickly realized there was no easy way to do this, and I wasn't about to try and show them how to use GParted.

          This too is perfect for that.

          Is someone making a .deb for this?

          Comment


          • #6
            Need to use DeviceKit

            The makers of this new formatting utility should use DeviceKit, which is supersedes HAL and is developed by Red Hat.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mdmadph View Post
              Is someone making a .deb for this?

              Getdeb.net
              will have one whenever this is reasonably stable.

              Comment


              • #8
                I may be dumb, but what exactly is the problem with GParted? It gives you a list of all disks. It displays existing partitions for the selected disk. Finally, it gives you a couple of buttons ("new partition", "delete partition", "resize partition" etc). Inspect the disks, select the one you want and click "new partition" - what's complicated about that?

                I fail to see how the new tool is any easier to use. It contains a couple of nice features (volume names and encryption), but wouldn't it better to add these in GParted? In fact, the new tool seems to lack the visual represantation of existing partitions, which is *criminal* (it makes it all too easy to delete / format the wrong partition if you have two identical disks).

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                • #9
                  @BlackStar: the usability improvement over GParted is clearly visible in the way both apps are designed. And it wouldn't be better to add tihs to GParted, because the two apps are made for different use cases. You don't just combine use cases together.

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                  • #10
                    Well a simple script that uses sfdisk + mkfs would be able to do the same without any mouse click But of course a gui is better for beginners.

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                    • #11
                      Or, if you can't get it pre-bundled for you, just download the frickin' thing from the project's website! What a revolutionary idea!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vadi View Post
                        @BlackStar: the usability improvement over GParted is clearly visible in the way both apps are designed. And it wouldn't be better to add tihs to GParted, because the two apps are made for different use cases. You don't just combine use cases together.
                        Sorry, it may be clearly visible but I just don't see it. Care to explain what you mean?

                        It may be that I am used to the GParted UI, but I do think its visual representation lends itself to discovery, especially for newbies. Judging from the screenshots on this article, I really don't like the presentation:

                        1. The default setting is to format the entire disk (which you almost *never* want!)

                        2. The "Show Partitions" tickbox is irksome (why is it off by default? why is it even an option?)

                        3. The same goes for the "Partition x on [disk name] is currently mounted on/as '(null)'" message. Mounted on null is nonsenical: is it mounted or not? The 'stop' sign indicates an error condition, but offers no way to resolve it and does not disable the 'Format' button. Dangerous.

                        I keep searching for a meaningful use case, but the only I can think of is formatting flash disks (where you probably want a single partition, encryption and a volume name.) Everything else, e.g. partitioning for system installation, preparation of new disks, seems to be handled better by the GParted UI.

                        Anyone care to explain what problem this program solves?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
                          Sorry, it may be clearly visible but I just don't see it. Care to explain what you mean?
                          Your post made me laugh. I was actually writing something extremely similar to what you just now wrote. I ended up not posting it because I realized that this program may actually have room somewhere.

                          I completely agree with you in that there's nothing wrong with GParted GUI. Let's say however that a total beginner wants to quickly format a USB flash drive. I can see how he/she may have a problem finding the right program, clicking on the right volume and then right clicking in "format". I'm being serious. On its own, this application solves nothing, but if/when integrated with the file browser it may be useful to some. Remember that it's details like this that brought Ubuntu to be the linux for the 'masses'--most of it is Debian, I heard

                          All your points are reasonable, but remember that a) this is quite a new application, so problems like those you mention are more understandable; b) it sports the typical gnomish dumbed down interface, so it's probably neither targeted at you nor going to be a replacement for GParted.

                          @BlackStar: the usability improvement over GParted is clearly visible in the way both apps are designed. And it wouldn't be better to add tihs to GParted, because the two apps are made for different use cases. You don't just combine use cases together.
                          That I don't understand. What would preclude GParted from supporting encrypted volumes? It actually would make all the sense to have that support there instead of in what is meant to be a tiny app to quickly format an external drive. I actually see a contradiction in wanting to design the most stupidly simple interface for a potentially dangerous operation and, concurrently, adding options that only a couple of geeks want to use--and for which they have better tools anyway.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
                            Sorry, it may be clearly visible but I just don't see it. Care to explain what you mean?

                            It may be that I am used to the GParted UI, but I do think its visual representation lends itself to discovery, especially for newbies. Judging from the screenshots on this article, I really don't like the presentation:

                            1. The default setting is to format the entire disk (which you almost *never* want!)

                            2. The "Show Partitions" tickbox is irksome (why is it off by default? why is it even an option?)

                            3. The same goes for the "Partition x on [disk name] is currently mounted on/as '(null)'" message. Mounted on null is nonsenical: is it mounted or not? The 'stop' sign indicates an error condition, but offers no way to resolve it and does not disable the 'Format' button. Dangerous.

                            I keep searching for a meaningful use case, but the only I can think of is formatting flash disks (where you probably want a single partition, encryption and a volume name.) Everything else, e.g. partitioning for system installation, preparation of new disks, seems to be handled better by the GParted UI.

                            Anyone care to explain what problem this program solves?
                            I agree. I can't see any real difference between what GParted offers. A list of volumes is presented. Selecting a volume shows a list of actions and possible filesystems. Click OK to proceed. You need the same amount of knowledge to use GParted as you do to use this tool. Can someone please tell me what special knowledge you need to use GParted that you don't need to this app?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Very, VERY good news for Desktop Linux

                              This is certainly in the top 2 most significant stories I've ever seen on Phoronix the other being AMD announcing/releasing open source drivers for even their latest cards- seriously!

                              I find it absolutely unbelievable that it has took until 2009 for GNOME to get this functionality, which I believe is still lacking in KDE too when this has been a standard feature (for FAT(32) drives at least) since Win95!

                              Up until now, any user wanting to do this under Linux would've had to know/ discover gparted, download and/or compile it, work out how to use it or they would have to fiddle with mkfs commands- hardly granny proof stuff and I've never had any luck with gparted anyway- I normally use (c)fdisk for this under Linux. Besides, gparted and fdisk are analagous- they're for fine grained control of drive setup which most desktop users don't understand or want- only techies like us know about filesystems and partitions.

                              Just think just how common pendrives and MP3 players, mobile phones and memory sticks are now! Millions of people will boot into Windows just so they don't have to mess with mkfs.*, gparted or hope USB will act nice under VirtualBox. Soon they will be able to insert the drive, right-click -> Format disk just as they always have under Windows.

                              If this util makes it into the major Linux distros this year, it will truly be the start of Linux having a real chance at large scale desktop acceptance. I think very few people understand the importance of this small util for the world of computing as a whole.

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