bugGNU Octave - Bugs: bug #40365, Community news web access should...


bug #40365: Community news web access should be a user preference

Submitter:  Philip Nienhuis <philipnienhuis>
Submitted:  Thu 24 Oct 2013 09:28:56 PM UTC
Category:  GUI Severity:  5 - Blocker
Priority:  5 - Normal Item Group:  Feature Request
Status:  Fixed Assigned to:  jwe
Originator Name:  Philip Nienhuis Open/Closed:  * Closed
Release:  * dev Operating System:  * Any
Fixed Release:  None Planned Release:  None
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Sun 17 Nov 2013 09:59:51 AM UTC, comment #7: 

"check-web-for-news" preference added to the settings dialog with changeset

Torsten Lilge <ttl>
Group Member
Sun 17 Nov 2013 08:21:01 AM UTC, comment #6: 

I am going to add the "check-web-for-news" preference to the settings dialog.

Torsten Lilge <ttl>
Group Member
Sun 17 Nov 2013 01:45:30 AM UTC, comment #5: 

What I wrote was probably not clear.  The point is that it will only attempt at most one connection per day at Octave startup.

Also, I was incorrect when I said that if you request the community news from the "News" menu that it will connect even if you've disabled the network checking.  In that case, it will skip the network connection and tell you instead that it is disabled but that you can either go to the web site or enable the "check-web-for-news" feature.

John W. Eaton <jwe>
Group administrator
Sat 16 Nov 2013 09:18:56 PM UTC, comment #4: 

Looks good on a MinGW build.

(At first I had trouble as Octave only showed me an editor dialog about re-creating a wiped file whose name was apparently stored in its cache, and after clicking any button there Octave would just die.
==> Apparently interference with the settings file.
I solved it by starting a MinGW build of last week that turned out impervious to this issue.
This might only happen to people who use the 3.7.7+ dev version, i.e. probably a limited audience)

After wiping the settings file the welcome-wizard's second pop-up shows a polite message, good.

Do I assume correctly that item 2. in comment #3 below should read "store the time stamp of the last web check. If it is less than a day ago, don't check" ?

With this I think Octave runs quite a bit less risk of being found obtrusive already during the welcome screen (which was the moment my firewall alerted me that Octave wanted to silently access the web).
Thank you for this.

Philip Nienhuis <philipnienhuis>
Group Member
Sat 16 Nov 2013 06:12:45 PM UTC, comment #3: 

I checked in a series of changes that do the following:

1. modify the welcome-wizard to allow setting the "check-web-for-news" option (the default is yes).  The welcome-wizard only runs if the qt-settings file doesn't exist.

2. store the time stamp of the last web check.  If it is more than a day ago, don't check.

3. look for a serial number in the community news page (it's in an html comment) and not display the news unless it is larger than the serial number of the last displayed news page.

The "check-web-for-news" option and serial number check is disabled if you explicitly ask for community news from the "News" menu.

If the news is not available, a default message is shown directing people to the community news option on the web and telling them to try again when they are connected.

We still need to allow the "check-web-for-news" option to be toggled in one of the settings dialogs.  I think it should be put in the one for "Network" items.  Could someone do that?  I'm not sure how to modify the settings dialog.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

John W. Eaton <jwe>
Group administrator
Sat 02 Nov 2013 03:45:25 PM UTC, comment #2: 

Thank you for picking this up. Didn't expect it to become a blocker!

Could your suggestion be combined with the first-start-of-Octave message, about the configuration file with default settings being created?
(Maybe not, as many users probably only look for the "OK" button in the first place.)

The Preferences | General tab could have a setting for allowing to access the web or not.

(dreaming on...) perhaps octave could only check weekly instead of upon every start.

Philip Nienhuis <philipnienhuis>
Group Member
Sat 02 Nov 2013 07:46:29 AM UTC, comment #1: 

This issue should be handled before the release.

My thought is to put up a dialog the first time a user runs Octave informing them that Octave is going to load some info from the web (giving them the web address) and ask them if that's OK.

John W. Eaton <jwe>
Group administrator
Thu 24 Oct 2013 09:28:56 PM UTC, original submission:  

(Follow-up of bug #40285)

While I like the idea behind the Community News pane, IMO it would be desirable to add a preference so users can opt-in for community news.

Personally I don't like it when programs autonomously access the  Web w/o any user option to disallow it.
Almost all software I have installed asks in some way for user permission to access the web; Mageia Update (= drak<something>), LibreOffice, Java, etc; even Windows Update does. Currently Octave doesn't.
For the extremely paranoid (not me BTW), Octave could even be perceived as a security risk if it can silently access the Web w/o any user intervention.

Philip Nienhuis <philipnienhuis>
Group Member


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  • -email is unavailable- added by rik5 (Updated the item)
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    Follow 5 latest changes.

    Date Changed by Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced by
    2013-11-18 rik5 StatusIn Progress Fixed
        Open/ClosedOpen Closed
    2013-11-02 jwe Severity3 - Normal 5 - Blocker
        StatusNone In Progress
        Assigned toNone jwe

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