Mathias Hasselmann

Nag Screens have reached GNOME now

Dude, this sucks! Really. Nag screens[1] finally have reached GNOME: When you insert a CD unknown to the MusicBrainz database, Sound Juicer shows a nag screen asking you to upload that information to MusicBrainz.

MusicBrainz Nag Screen in Sound Juicer

I understand that people want to support their favorite service, but in the case of MusicBrainz this is support is really annoying: MusicBrainz - at least as integrated into Sound Juicer - doesn't seem to support anonymous contributions, well and seriously I have absolutely no intend to publish a list of any CDs I've ever put into my computer. So MusicBrainz really belongs to those non-free big-brother services I really do not want to be bothered with.

So can we stop this non-sense of advertising non-free services please, before it gets out of control? Not being bored by nag-screens once was one of the big selling points of free desktop environments, do you remember? We really should not give it up easily.

[1] Annoying advertisement for non-free stuff built into computer programs.

PS: Discussion of this issue should probably should happend in Bug 537441.

Follow up: Ross, in the case of Sound Juicer I am user, and users have every right to be pissed, when developers totally screw it. Nevertheless I want to work on this issue. Closing that problem report as "WONT FIX" with each of your comments neither helps to get the problem solved, nor to calm down the situation.

Follow up 2: Hmm... It's 01:04 CEST now, I am cooled down and wonder why I got that upset. Yes, nag-screens are wrong and Sound Juicer tried a good thing, but didn't get this notification 100% right. Guess I should have handled this more silently, well but guess I won't have written a patch at all in that case - which would have been bad. Frustration: Either I piss many people, but finally write a patch - or I react professionally, but also calm down too much, so that I do not care about patching. Clearly suboptimal.


wqdwefw commented on June 9, 2008 at 8:34 p.m.

You're a fu[b]cking moron

popop commented on June 9, 2008 at 8:50 p.m.

I wouldn't go as far as that, but man you sound angry - maybe you're right ! but you have no chance to make your point while being so aggressive ... my 2 cents :p

Alexander Hunziker commented on June 9, 2008 at 8:59 p.m.

Are you shure you're right about Musicbrainz being "non-free big-brother"? As far as i know, it's not. You can in fact download a dump of their database under a CC public domain license at So i really don't quite see why you seem so angry.

Suggestion: The "nag screen" in SoundJuicer should have a "never ask me this again" check box.

Mathias Hasselmann commented on June 9, 2008 at 9:17 p.m.

Alexander: Yes, hacking such a checkbox patch now. Just hope Ross will add this patch, since he prefers to close that bug as "won't fix".

Popop: Well, maybe not the best strategy, still better than over-politeness, which easily results in appeasement[1].


nxt commented on June 9, 2008 at 9:29 p.m.

" You can in fact download a dump of their database...."

I can see how, you could judge this an "open" policy, but this service is basically giving your personal data available to any "big brother"(s) out there.

Here is the DB schema of user data available from MusicBrainz.
While I can not be the judge of MusicBrainz motivation or intention, I can see how this could lead to eventual consequences resulting e.g. in spam...

Christopher commented on June 9, 2008 at 9:30 p.m.

To me, it looks like less of a "nag screen", more of a "by-the-way bar."

Musicbrainz is excellent and, as has been mentioned, is very much a community effort.

Write your patch if it's a serious issue for you, but there's really no need for comments like this:

oliver commented on June 9, 2008 at 9:33 p.m.

Isn't sound-juicer (at least under Ubuntu) the default action when an audio CD is inserted? In that case, it seems a bit overkill to present this message to the novice user who just wants to listen to a CD on his laptop...

Making this message optional seems like a better idea.

Christopher commented on June 9, 2008 at 9:39 p.m.

@nxt "this service is basically giving your personal data available to any "big brother"(s) out there."

Do you seriously think the Musicbrainz database dumps include the full user data (e.g. email, password)?

They don't.

Steve commented on June 9, 2008 at 11:26 p.m.

It didn't even work when I registered because the artist wasn't known. Definitely needs some work.

Tom commented on June 9, 2008 at 11:30 p.m.


That is one of the reasons I swtiched to GNU OS in the first palce. Please unbrake Sound Juicer!

[quote bugzilla]... but the vast majority of users will just ignore it.[/quote]
..mmm, great feature to put in the face of every user!!

Mathias Hasselmann commented on June 9, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.

Patches are attached to the bug report now.
Annoying how lazyness (not wanting to register) can lead to even more work (fetch code, get it to compile, read it, patch it). Well, but at least with free software you have the chance to do it legally.

@Christopher: People might burn me for that words, but that's exactly what I think about Ross' attempts to handle this problem report: Repeatly closing as "won't fix" without even giving a chance to calm down or discuss or even patch doesn't help.

Yes, I am sure that I am annoyed him by being really loud. Sorry for that. Well, but I really do not want GNOME to turn into a nag-screen platform - and without a chance to disable it, this notification is a nagger. So I felt I have to be shrill.

Anon commented on June 10, 2008 at 12:02 a.m.

This is not a dialog (modal or otherwise), and is not intrusive. I can live with it. MusicBr also seems open enough. I think you really overreacted.

James Henstridge commented on June 10, 2008 at 5:23 a.m.

MusicBrainz used to effectively take anonymous contributions in the form of regular automated imports from FreeDB.

The results were less than stellar: many duplicates, misspellings, etc. With the current system, data can be imported from FreeDB, but it needs to be done manually by a registered user (giving them a chance to correct obvious mistakes).

Now MusicBrainz does use a voting process to decide whether to accept submissions. I guess they could take anonymous submissions and not accept the submission unless it gets at least one vote. The only problem with this is that MB doesn't exactly have an excess of voters.

Andrew Conkling commented on June 10, 2008 at 3:24 p.m.

You should check out the MusicBrainz Social Contract. Really, "we" aren't evil. (I say "we" because I've opted to be a part of the community.)

Specifically: "MusicBrainz will remain 100% free: The development process will be open to the public by using public mailing lists, meetings open to interested parties, and open IRC channels. The client and server software will remain free and accessible under generally accepted open licenses. The factual database content will be in the public domain and the non-factual database content will be released under a Creative Commons license."

To take this to the extreme: <sarcasm>I don't like that I have to submit words to the ReCaptcha service every time I want to post to your blog. Please get rid of this nag screen.</sarcasm> ;)

troll commented on June 10, 2008 at 4:33 p.m.

The first reaction was the correct one, because that's what many users have! MOST OF THEM will never cool down or look back after switching away as the transaction costs are near to zero.

m...s commented on April 16, 2010 at 1:16 a.m.

Really man, you're such a fuc(k)ing moron...
You've sullying a free project (and its community) that's trying to build a free music database, insulting it whereas you've not done your homework and had no clue about it.

The worst is that you've never apologized, once you've been calmed down.

m...s commented on April 16, 2010 at 8:30 a.m.

<sarcasm>Oh sh**t, Gnome Bugzilla doesn't seem to support anonymous contributions, I have to create an account for reporting a bug.
I have absolutely no intent to reveal the list of software I'm using... I care about my privacy</sarcasm>

Just wake up and acknowledge that everything outside your own bubble is not non-free and evil.

CD-ripper commented on April 30, 2011 at 8:59 p.m.

Use "asunder" CD-ripper tool instead. No nagging ;-)