GNOME Online Accounts aims to provide a way for users to setup online accounts to be used by the core system and applications.
System usage of online accounts includes GNOME Shell's calendar, cloud file storage in file chooser dialogs (through GVfs), cloud printing and Kerberos credentials. Core application integration includes things like Calendar, Contacts, Files and Photos.
While third-party applications can access the accounts setup through GNOME Online Accounts today, this may well change in future.
Accounts offered through GNOME Online Accounts should appeal to a wide range of users.
Online Accounts uses a predefined list of online accounts that users can setup. Accounts are included that conform to the following policy:
- Must be used by the core GNOME system and apps
- Should ideally provide multiple services that can be consumed by multiple apps and services
- Should provide generic, common functionality that is readily recognised by users
As a rule, specialist single-purpose accounts are avoided. Accounts which are only consumed by non-core or non-GNOME apps are similarly avoided.
The following principles inform this policy:
- Protect GNOME's access to online services. Applications using Online Accounts use GNOME's profile to access those online accounts. It is the GNOME project's responsibility to ensure that any access through its profiles follows the account provider's terms and conditions. Breaching those terms and conditions could result in GNOME's access being revoked. It is therefore important that GNOME restricts access to its profiles, in order to mitigate any risk of this happening.
- Maintain the identity of third party applications. Applications which have their own brands and identities ought to be exposed to services and users using those identities, and should not be falsely advertised as "GNOME".
- Ensure that online accounts are readily understood by users. A long list of specialised account types would become burdensome for users.
- Ensure that setting up an account has value for users. If a user sets up an account, the services it provides ought to be accessible in obvious and useful ways. People shouldn't be left wondering what the point was.
- Work towards the goal of application sandboxing, in order to protect user privacy and security.