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I’ve created this thread to start a discussion on the new Gaim-Encryption builds for Gaim 2.0beta1 and to help provide feedback to the developers.
I downloaded the latest Gaim Encryption binary for Windows and it works for me with both Gaim 1.5 and 2.0beta1 users. My only gripe is the placement of the lock icon before every message in the conversation is fairly obtrusive. I realize I could modify the icon, but I have some suggestions for alternate means of communicating with the user the status of encryption.
1) My primary idea: In the conversation window, color the background of the textboxes, or the textboxes’ inner border, to a user specified color to indicate the encryption status. For instance, if the text I was sending will be encrypted, the coloring would be applied to the textbox where I type my messages. If my buddy’s text and my text are encrypted (i.e. the entire conversation is encrypted), apply the coloring to the conversation textbox also.
Application of the color (e.g. red) should only be a subtle shade for the text box background, or darker shades for the textboxes’ inner border colors, to softly communicate to the user that encryption is enabled. Also, if color is applied to the textbox inner borders, the fact that there are actually two colors (shadow and highlight) should be taken into effect.
For an implementation example, Mozilla Firefox colors the background of the location bar when visiting a secure site. However, my option is the intensity of the color they use would be too much and too distracting to apply over a larger textbox like in Gaim, hence the ability for the user to choose what color they prefer.
2) Could the Tx/Rx buttons be placed on the formatting toolbar?
That’s all for now. I’d like to encourage other users of this fine plugin to post their feedback and comments below here, regardless if they refer to my lock icon opinion or not; it’s essential for developers to hear your voices!
Thanks for the feedback. Other folks should certainly step up and post; the new UI is a bit of an experiment, and its future direction will certainly be influenced by what users have to say.
I figure that I should provide the rationale for the current setup so folks know why it looks like it does, so here goes:
The formatting toolbar is, I believe, optional. So, the "Tx Encrypt" moved up to the menu, rather than the bar, so it would be available whether the buttons were or not. I do agree that using a menu option is a bit cumbersome, but having both a button and menu item seems excessive.
Showing the encryption status of each message (and saving it in the logs somehow) was another suggestion from pre-Gaim2.0, and also adds useful information, I think. I agree that the lock icons in each line of text are intrusive. If I had the ability, I'd put the lock icon in next to the timestamp, but a plugin can't affect the displayed text in that way.
The shading of background to indicate status is an interesting one, but I wonder how that would affect conversations with users who specify font/background. A security concern is having someone (say a man-in-the-middle) adjust incoming messages to appear that they are encrypted by adding a background to the incoming text. A non-security concern is that, if a user specifies, say, white on blue as his font choice, then you wouldn't be able to tell the status of the incoming message.
Changing the border, if possible, might be confusing if the encryption status changes during a conversation. I'm not sure how this would work, exactly.
At any rate... my person opinion is that while the current UI makes a certain logical sense, it isn't terribly appealing. But I'm not sure how to make it better, within the contexts of what a plugin can do, and what works from a security perspective.
Does anyone like the current design? Anyone have any other good suggestions?
Just a thought, does Gaim have API to add the TX/RX images in the area where the "user is typing" icon is placed? If not, perhaps you could submit an RFE to Gaim to add some API functions for allowing plugins to place status icons up there with functionality like the system notification area (tray) in Windows.
I've got one minor problem with the icons. They don't display as icons in the log viewer or when copy/pasted which makes those things look messy.
IMO it'd be better if the encryption status was shown only when it changes, like the buddy state plugin does it. I don't think coloured backgrounds would be a good idea though since it might mess up some users' colour schemes.
I can not get this one to be built into an rpm. It bugs out on an error about copying the crypto icon to /usr/share/pixmap/gaim/gaim-encryption
And it shouldn't copy to there in the first place! (rpms are being built in another dir). beta1 didn't have this issue.
My current problem is that the icon doesn't show up on incoming messages if that window has focus. Instead the text "GECRYPT:" shows up preceeding the message. When I click another window and go back to the encrypted chat, however, the icons show up.
Any ideas what is causing this and how to fix it?
Note: I don't mind the icons, but maybe the placement of the lock could preceed the timestamp or username or something? Also, if it's possible, the image (or what's behind it) shouldn't be copied to the clipboard as described in other posts in this thread.
Possibly a bug, I've noticed even with Turn Auto Encrypt On enabled for a buddy, it doesn't work.
Yes, I should have taken the Auto-Encrypt out: it is currently disabled. My plan has been to shift to a more transparent scheme of simply remembering the last state of encryption for each buddy.
The thing I liked about the old interface, was that it was easily visible whether both sides were encrypting or not.
I do like the new format, but at the moment only you only get the lock behind your own name/alias, right?
When this also happens for the person you are talking to, that would be a nice addition.
Another suggestion: can you place a lock behind the name of the person you are chatting with? --> that way you can use one icon on top. And maybe use like a yellow lock for one-sided encryption and a green lock for double sided encryption?