Troubleshooting & How-Tos 📡 🔍 Linux

What do GNOME Online Accounts Do?

GNOME lets you centrally log into various online services so that you don’t have to connect them separately to each application.

But it doesn’t tell you what it can use each service for until after you log in with one. And I can’t find it anywhere in the user-facing help documentation either. The closest I can find is the full list of service types – nothing about whether you can, for example, use the Microsoft login to connect your file manager to OneDrive (you can’t) or a calendar (only with Exchange).

The current list is in the project docs instead.

It currently (January 2024) shows:

  • Google: Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Photos, Files.
  • Microsoft: Mail only.
  • Microsoft Exchange: Mail, Calendar, Contacts.
  • Nextcloud: Calendar, Contacts, Files
  • IMAP and SMTP: Mail only.
  • Kerberos: Ticketing.

Now that’s useful! This should both be in the help info and in the control panel UI (I’ve submitted a suggestion to add it) so nobody has to go looking.

As for the last item, if you don’t know what Ticketing and Kerberos mean in this context, you might be able to guess that they refer to the “Enterprise Login” in the control panel.

But it still doesn’t answer the first question I had, which was “What the heck does GNOME do with a Fedora Account?” Fedora adds these to the list of available accounts, but there’s no indication – even after logging in – of what your desktop can do with it.

Eventually I managed to find this article on Fedora Magazine with the answer:

  1. The Fedora account can be used on various services like the wiki, discussion forums, bug tracker, mailing lists, and online service used for building and testing Fedora. Which is great, but doesn’t explain what GNOME might do with it.
  2. GNOME offers a single-signin provider so that compatible browsers, including Firefox, GNOME Web (a.k.a. Epiphany), and Google Chrome can automatically log into those sites.