"Eject" and "Unmount"

Brian J. Tarricone bjt23 at cornell.edu
Thu Feb 12 09:10:37 CET 2009

On Thu, 12 Feb 2009 09:28:06 +0200 Alexander Iliev wrote:

> Brian J. Tarricone wrote:
> [...]
> > thunar_vfs_volume_is_ejectable() should NOT correspond to
> > storage.requires_eject.  Just because a volume doesn't *require*
> > eject, it doesn't mean that it's not ejectable.
> > 
> > As previously discussed, we should *not* have "Unmount" in Thunar's
> > (or xfdesktop's) UI anywhere.  Any place where we do would be
> > considered a usability bug.
> > 
> > Ejecting normal USB media is entirely safe and probably a good idea
> > (after unmounting), even if storage.requires_eject is false.
> > 
> Brian, what about such a use-case:
> 1. I connect my ipod
> 2. The ipod is mounted
> 3. I transfer some files to it, then eject it and leave
>    it connected to recharge the battery
> 4. Later I decide that I want to transfer some more files
> Result: I have to unplug and again connect the ipod in order to
> do this (when a device is ejected, the icon of the device
> disappears, afaik).

Yes, that's correct, and that's exactly what you have to do.  But the
common use case is:

1.  You connect your USB device.
2.  Your USB device is mounted.
3.  You do something with it.
4.  You eject it.
5.  You unplug it.

Especially in the case of an iPod, the eject is useful, because it
*does* require an explicit eject (not just unmount) for it to display
"OK to disconnect."  (Disconnecting when there's only and unmount
without an eject isn't harmful, though, from what I can tell.)

> I'm not sure this is relevant to the bug you are discussing here,
> but this has been annoying for me for some time. In some previous
> version of Thunar this was not an issue, since (from my point of
> view) the behaviour was correct then - there was an unmount option
> for ipod/usb mass storage/etc. devices, and there was an eject
> option for CDs/etc.

Basically the idea is to make the user interface simpler.  There's no
reason why a regular user should even know about the concept of
mounting and unmounting a filesystem.  It's just a stupid
implementation detail of how filesystems have to work.

You could, instead, get into the habit of doing what the UI suggests:
you don't "eject" a device until you are ready to physically remove
it.  Period.  Yes, you can always say things like "but I don't want to
leave my iPod mounted; what if I accidentally unplug it, or what if my
battery runs down and it gets uncleanly unmounted?"  Well, yeah, that's
a concern.  But I'd still maintain that the mount/unmount concept is
an unfortunate implementation detail that should never be exposed to
the user in the GUI.


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