Categories
Linux

In-Depth Roadmap Analysis For Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04

Update: Read the new version of this article revisiting all the ideas and current progress!

The Hardy Heron Roadmap has over 130 new ideas that have been proposed thus far. I’ve examined each one of these ideas in detail, threw out the ones that weren’t interesting to me, wrote an explanation for each, and sorted the list into three categories:

  1. User Experience,
  2. Networking and Security,
  3. Support

Of course, the juiciest items have already made headlines, such as the new theme that is being planned… “I for one, welcome our new hopefully non-brown themed overlords!”

What about the proposed changes that don’t deserve their own headline? Either you have to muck through that entire list, or you can simply read about it here. You can get more information about specific items by clicking on the name of the proposal, which will take you to a page that has a little bit more information about it. Without more from me, here we go.

User Experience

Ubuntu Theme for 8.04
We’re getting a new theme in the next release? Ubuntu has used close to the same theme since Warty Warthog – about 3 years, The REALLY interesting bit about this is how far this reaches… proposed changes include changes to the installer, bootup screen, wallpaper, application splash screens like Gimp and OO.org, Compiz effects, cursors, and even skinning WINE! This is going to be quite a bit of work, but in the end, well worth it.

Third Party Apt
Adding a 3rd party apt repository is more difficult than needed. Editing sources.list, or adding it to the software repository via GUI is a pain. This proposal focuses on creating a standardized file format (let’s call it .install file) which would allow a user to double click on the .install file, then apt would automatically install the program, add the 3rd party repository to the sources.list and automatically manage updates, etc. Very slick idea.

X.Org 7.3
This is something that SHOULD have been included in Gutsy Gibbon, but wasn’t quite ready… ah well, I guess we need to wait 6 months for this. The biggest feature of 7.3 are: Bullet Proof X – The driving force for this is to never boot up into text-mode if something is screwed up with the xorg.conf file. Very nifty. The direction this is headed is to make xorg.conf obsolete, and eventually run without it, which would be fantastic for new users.

Automatix-Ubuntu Team Collaboration
This is certainly a little bit controversial, since Automatix was raked over the coals for breaking upgrades to Feisty Fawn, and now they want to collaborate? Automatix makes stupid easy to install things that are in legal grey areas, such as codecs for playing commercial DVDs, or other proprietary software like Skype, Google Earth, etc. This idea would make it so that Canonical/Ubuntu does not have legal repercussions for including proprietary codecs or other software that isn’t redistributable.

Dual/Multi Monitor Gnome Configuration
Along with X.org 7.3, multiple monitor configuration within a GUI is going to be pretty awesome.

SlickBoot
This proposed change will give the distribution an improved user experience when booting up and shutting down. If you’ve ever seen a Mac boot up, you know exactly what this is trying to emulate. Transitions from the three graphical modes (text, SVGA, and high-resolution) are not really bad at the moment, but if Ubuntu can emulate how a Mac boots up, that would be pretty damn terrific.

Install on an existing filesystem without overwriting /home
This is by far one of the most annoying things that I have to deal with on a regular basis. Personally, I reinstall quite often to test out new distributions. Since getting an external 320GB drive it hasn’t been quite as painful, but for most people, they might need to backup the /home directory to avoid data loss when given the chance to upgrade every 6 months.

Improve Handling of Full Disks
Have you ever run out of hard drive space in Linux? Let me tell you, it is NOT pretty! In some cases, you can end up booting into text mode, with a read-only root partition. It is a royal pain in the ass, to say the least. This proposal is in the early stages, but suggests adding a notification that the disk is almost full, prompting you to run a cleanup wizard, and other ideas that make the problem less likely to happen in the first place, as well as (hopefully) making it easier to recover from if it does happen.

Integrate Prefetch into Bootup
Google’s 2007 Summer of Code is adding hard disk prefetching and optimization resulting in faster bootup times for Hardy Heron.

Easy File Sharing
Make sharing files between Ubuntu machines on a LAN/WLAN easier. Duh!

Single Click Install
Enable easier installation of software from the internet.

Add Remove Software Improvements
This proposes an update to the add/remove software program, which changes it into a sort of “online storefront” where the initial screen shows screenshots, top-rated or brand new applications, etc. If this is approved and pulled off properly, could be a HUGE improvement.

Simple Samba Integration
The Shared Folders utility is getting some upgrades. It will prompt the user to install Samba, no more adding users from the command line, and a simple checkbox will share all home directories on the computer.

Redesign About Ubuntu
“People are used to “About Name of Program” showing a window that gives the software version details, and copyright info. […] Ubuntu should be just as polished.” uname –r always worked just fine for me, but I can see why it’s important.

Networking / Security

Modular /etc/network/interfaces
“Split out the configuration from /etc/network/interfaces into one file per (logical) interface.” This is not a great idea, it’s a pain in the ass already to edit this and maintain correct syntax, why make it so that there are multiple files?

Dial Up Support
This will make setting up and managing Dialup and ASDL out-of-the-box, using Network Manager, very easy.

Improve support for encrypted file systems
Starting with Gutsy Gibbon, you can now install Ubuntu to an encrypted disk. The problem this addresses is adding support to install to a disk which would be auto-partitioned as an encrypted file system from the GUI, instead of using the text-mode alternate installer. Other ideas are to look for key files on USB sticks and other media, instead of just using a password.

Live CD- share this
Direct from the wiki: “Netboot server for easy setup of thin clients and machines which don’t have a CD drive.” Nice idea!

killall gksudo: Stop running GTK as root!
gksudo runs hundreds of thousands of lines of code just to show that that little box that asks for a password when trying to change administrative settings… and it is a little confusing to ask for the password before any changes are committed – why not stop asking for the password until the configuration tool tries to write to a file, then do it in a manner that doesn’t need to utilize as much code to speed things up a little bit.

Support

Measuring Download/Installation Success
In the next release, there may be some big-brother-ish ideas being included. It’s more accurate reporting that can give developers solid numbers for things like how many people download, install, and are able to run Ubuntu. The reason is to find faults in the existing procedures for acquiring Ubuntu, and address where problems arise. Hopefully these numbers will be shared with the community. One area I can already say is a significant problem is the lack of an integrated CD burner for Windows. I’ve heard many users say they’ve burned a copy of a distribution and then it didn’t boot. The primary reason for this is that they simply burned the ISO file itself to the CD, instead of burning the image properly. Now that Ubuntu is targeting a larger audience, it would be neat to have a Windows user simply download an EXE file, open it up, and it prompts to insert a new CD and then provides some additional instructions for getting it installed and setup, perhaps even give an option to print out a PDF of those instructions? The executable would also provide additional information that this proposal is suggesting be recorded.

Identifying Local Users and Groups
This would be really slick. After you put in your location( integrated into the Time Zone selection), during the installation (or post-install) you would be presented with information regarding your local LoCo team and other local resources, such as a Linux User Group in your area. I’ve never been to a LUG or LoCo meeting, perhaps because I needed to seek them out… getting a prompt every reinstall might be annoying, but it would be a good reminder that they exist.

Packaging Section On The Forum
There’s a hidden packaging section (http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=44) on the Ubuntu forums that needs to be better utilized. It is not a very active section in the forum, it either needs to be added to the main list of forums and promoted, or simply deleted.

Make screencasts available on the desktop
A Help->Tutorial Videos browser menu? This is a fantastic idea!

Forum Content Certification
Sometimes instructions provided in the forums just don’t work. Often, I’ll find a howto on installing some software for an old version of Ubuntu, and this would create a new forum team that would check the validity of instructions, approve the post, promote the information in the forums, wiki, and elsewhere, and finally involve re-checking the posts after new releases.

Getting teacher input to shape our education offering
This one implies that Edubuntu does not specifically solicit input from teachers, nor do users have a mailing list, forum, etc to voice their complaints. If this is the case, definitely a good idea to reach out and get feedback and suggestions from the people who actually use the OS, right?

Automatic bug reporting
This is certainly an interesting idea, but due to privacy concerns I don’t really want to see this make it into the release. Why emulate Windows here? It can be REALLY annoying to get MORE error popups when things crash.

Ubuntu Mobile Browser
The Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded Project proposes to add a Firefox-based browser which would be completely reworked from the ground up. I’m personally very interested in this, the following quote gave me chills: “Ideally we would get a solution that would be embraced by the Mozilla community and eventually adopted as the “Firefox Mobile” solution.”

Of course, I saved the best for last….

Installing Ubuntu from within Windows
ubuntu-install.exe… nuff said… might not make it though… it is listed as ‘dangling’ which means it can’t be scheduled or has circular dependancies… no idea why it can’t be made to work.

Which ideas do you want to see make it into Hardy Heron? Do you disagree with any of these I’ve listed? Got more to add?

123 replies on “In-Depth Roadmap Analysis For Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04”

Just a quick note.
I upgraded from feisty to gutsy. For some reason my video driver crapped out and wouldn’t work, but it never died and went to the command line. (which actually made it more difficult for me) It defaulted back to a 640×480 mode and went on with business. After trying to reinstall nvidia drivers and messing with it for quite some time, I deleted the xorg.conf file completely and restarted the xorg server. Only then did it use vesa with 1280×1024 resolution. It didn’t rewrite the xorg.conf though. It wasn’t there at all, yet it went into a very useable graphic mode. I’d say it’s implemented quite well, except for the horrendous 640×480 mode. To actually get the nvidia driver working, I reinstalled fresh, and it worked perfect.

Nice post as usual. Lately, it seems that I have been getting a lot of my Ubunutu news from you. Thanks Wayne.

@Happy:
I tried an upgrade at first too. It pretty much borked everything. Reinstall made it nice and smooth.

This looks like a great feature set.

3 features catch my eye:
Third party apt
Automatix collaboration
Install on existing system without overwriting /home

I tend to mess around installing new distros and 3rd party apps so this looks promising.

Hmm,

i think Ubuntu should try to come up with an easy backup solution like time machine. Something like that is such an important feature.
Everything else listed here are just minor little tweaks compared to an easy backup solution that “everybody” can/would use.

2 x Hmm,

i think Ubuntu should try to come up with an easy backup solution like time machine. Something like that is such an important feature.
Everything else listed here are just minor little tweaks compared to an easy backup solution that “everybody” can/would use.

While not exactly an UBUNTU issue, it is part of the UBUNTU community … I’d like an UBUNTU colinux product similar to topologilinux. one that is ISO-downloadable, reliable, and works.

Integrated hamachi at the service level would be a real time saver, also.

Cheers to all from here in San Antonio!

RE: Install on existing system without overwriting /home

I’m pretty novice in Linux, but is it not possible for the installer to remove all directories in root except home and install Ubuntu – maybe with fsck run?

I think that getting network authentication into the feature list is a MUST. If Ubuntu is going to make any inroads in business it needs to be able to authenticate to a network server.

This can be done currently but it is no easy installation/configuration

I don’t understand what keeps people from creating a separate /home partition, or why the installer defaults to putting everything in 1 partition. It allocates a swap partition, whats the big deal in creating /home separately. Then, upon reinstall, don’t format it and mount it as /home.

The average user doesn’t reinstall their machine constantly, if ever. The user who does reinstall a lot and try different distros should learn how to use the partitioning tool.

I hope they implement proper fakeraid support. I want to get Ubuntu on my machine, but my Linux experience is not vast. Definitely not enough to feel comfortable attempting the fakeraid guides out there.

‘killall gksudo: Stop running GTK as root!’

I can see your point, but I disagree. I think that rather than completing, say, a big, dirty form/process the user will then be confronted/rejected by it.

I understand that there’s a lot of code involved just to bring up the initial prompt, however I think this is an issue that requires slimming down gksu, rather than change its method. Just my 2 pence…

Improved bluetooth support!

Getting devices such as bluetooth mice and keyboards setup is quite a pain and involved several command line interactions and all this is often lost over boots or suspend/hibernates and resumes.

What would be great is an interface to detect and manage bluetooth devices and help to automate setting these up and detecting when they come and go.

Good idea about the network install and the install from windows options. However, if possible, I think it would make a ton of people happy if 2 additional install options were directly and fully supported:

1) Install to USB hard drive (that at least guides the process)
2) LiveCD on USB flash images (with setting savings feature)

There are of course how-to’s available but they seem to change just a bit with each release and require some experimentation… plus they can be complicated, especially if things go wrong.

Boot from USB drive is becoming common and a lot of folks are hesitant to muck about with their primary OS drive.

Do keep in mind the main focus of LTS relases are to fix bugs not add features so small tweaks and lots of bug fixes are what is planned.

Solution to home problem.

/dev/sda1 as / (sane default)
/dev/sda2 as swap (sane default)
/dev/sda3 as /home (rest of disk)

Do not format /home

If you choose a username that already exists in the home folder it wont delete it. Settings files and all are intact!

Here two more suggests:

1. NX/FreeNX: public-key auth – wizard
2. Kerberos: system wide logins for users – wizard

Btw: booting and decryption at startup via USB is a great idea.

I happen to be the author of this:
“Split out the configuration from /etc/network/interfaces into one file per (logical) interface.”

“This is not a great idea, it’s a pain in the ass already to edit this and maintain correct syntax, why make it so that there are multiple files?”

Did it perhaps occur to you that I proposed this change so that it would be easier to maintain? If your in-depth analysis says this is not the case, could you perhaps be a bit more specific and help make the suggestion better?

From an enterprise desktop users point of view there should be an easy way from the GUI to join a windows AD domain and share folders out to other users on the same domain.

The ‘killall gksudo’ specification is not complaining about the gksudo application itself, the complaint is that (for example) synaptic and such are running as root and _that_ is a lot of code running as root that doesn’t need to be. The only parts of synaptic that should use root are changing sources.list, reloading the package list, and installing/removing packages. Having the whole app run as root just makes it that much easier to exploit.

@Soren Hansen:

Thanks for the response, Soren.

I’ve reordered interfaces on a router running Linux in the past, and with only one file needed to be edited very carefully to get it right, it wasn’t the easiest exercise I’ve ever performed.

This is what I see proposed – and if I’m wrong, please correct me. Say I’ve got 2 logical interfaces, eth0 and wlan0. The relatively simple /etc/network/interfaces becomes three or four different files?

Why is this smart? Why is this needed? There’s only one explanation I can see, and that’s for network administrator who has 10 logical and a thousand virtual interfaces on a machine.

If that single network admin has an easier job at the expense of a thousand different people being confused by the unexpected change to /etc/network/interfaces when their network is down and broken, that’s simply NOT the way to do things as I see it.

I could imagine making the change for Ubuntu Server, but that is the ONLY place it remotely makes sense.

The “data center”-centric thinking I see demonstrated by this idea is not conducive to an end user being able to figure out what is what when they see this for the first time.

-Wayne

I’ve been using linux for 10 years now, and whenever i “upgrade” or change distros i just re-install and have had no problem keeping my /home safe. just put it in its own partition. The problem is that when Ubuntu installs, the default partitioning scheme it picks is a little crazy. Maybe if they fixed that then we wouldn’t need a special “don’t delete /home rule”

I like a lot of those ideas, accept two…

1. Creating a automatic installer like windows’ “setup.exe” would be a HUGE mistake. It would be a huge security issue, opening the doors for new linux viruses, malware, spyware, etc… Plus, it would ruin the integrity of the repository system. The repository ensures that only legit software gets into your system and that is what should be improved upon…

2. Creating in executable Ubuntu for Windows is A MEGA FREAKIN’ HUGE ASS BAD IDEA! Windows is full of bugs, it is a resource hog, and it is infinitely insecure! So why run Ubuntu through Windows??? It will only make Linux look bad!

Open source is going to straighten out companies like Microsoft whether they like it or not. If these huge companies don’t begin to change, the people will continue to write code superior to theirs until finally, there software has been stolen so much that they can’t sustain themselves in the business market any longer and they crumble…

So the point is, the open source movement should continue to do what it does, and Ubuntu is a huge beacon for the open source movement… It should give NO similarity to ANY Microsoft product, as Microsoft does not deserve such a boast. Instead, code developers should continue to be innovative and leave the Microsofts in the dust…

blah blah blah

I digress…

> I’ve reordered interfaces on a router running Linux in the past, and with only one file needed to be edited very carefully to get it right, it wasn’t the easiest exercise I’ve ever performed.

Ubuntu has at least since Dapper made sure that once an interface got its name it would never change again. You can add additional interfaces, remove all of them, shuffle them, and put them back in. It’ll still be named the same. It maintains a mapping between MAC address and the interface name. I don’t know which Linux distro you’ve used, but please realise that network device naming is completely orthogonal to the configuration of said interfaces.

> This is what I see proposed – and if I’m wrong, please correct me. Say I’ve got 2 logical interfaces, eth0 and wlan0.

Those are physical interfaces.

> The relatively simple /etc/network/interfaces becomes three or four different files?

It’s important to point out that at this point, it’s merely a suggestion. Not only that, it’s also an incomplete one. What is on the wiki (which you appear to have not read, though) is not final, and it’s not even sure it’s going to happen at all.

Now, to answer your question: It depends on your configuration.

As the proposal is now, if you had:
iface eth0 inet dhcp

That would become a file on its own, called /etc/network/interfaces.d/eth0
with the following contents:
family inet
method dhcp

That’s it.
If your ath0 was configured statically:
iface ath0 inet static
address 192.168.1.1
network 192.168.1.0
broadcast 192.168.1.255
netmask 255.255.255.0
gateway 192.168.1.254

That would become at file on its own, called /etc/network/interfaces.d/ath0 with this contents:
family inet
method static
address 192.168.1.1
network 192.168.1.0
broadcast 192.168.1.255
netmask 255.255.255.0
gateway 192.168.1.254

You see? Not really a lot changed.. This is all described on the wiki (linked from the spec page on launchpad)

> Why is this smart?

Two reasons:
a) it’s easier to parse and alter programmatically than the current /etc/network/interfaces.
b) Messing up the configuration of one interface will not be able to affect the configuration of other interfaces.

> Why is this needed?

Several reasons:
To make editing the network configuration easier for other programs (such as various system configuration frontends and so on) without running much of a risk of messing up the users current config.

Also, if you should happen to make a mistake in one of the files, it will only break one interface, rather than your entire network configuration. If you’ve ever managed a server with multiple interfaces remotely (say, several thousand miles away), you’ll appreciate this.

> There’s only one explanation I can see, and that’s for network administrator who has 10 logical and a thousand virtual interfaces on a machine.

Why would this be any more benificial to him/her than anyone else?

> If that single network admin has an easier job at the expense of a thousand different people being confused by the unexpected change to /etc/network/interfaces when their network is down and broken, that’s simply NOT the way to do things as I see it.

I imagine the migration will parse the current network config, write new config using this new syntax, and put a friendly notice in /etc/network/interface telling the user where to look for his network config.

I don’t believe in the use case, you’re presenting.
a) Switching to a one-file-per-iface approach will make broken network configuration a lot less common, because the syntax has been slightly simplified, and you can only ruin the config of one iface at a time.
b) If you’ve managed to break it anyhow, you’ve already located the appropriate file to fix it in (because that’s the one you broke, right?).
c) If you haven’t the skills to resurrect a broken network configuration, you shouldn’t have had to edit it anyway. There should be configuration frontends for that sort of thing, and this change is proposed with the explicit purpose of making it easier for such frontends to do the right thing without messing up your configuration.

> I could imagine making the change for Ubuntu Server, but that is the ONLY place it remotely makes sense.

I disagree. Quite the contrary, actually. From the desktop’s perspective, you ought to be completely agnostic as the technicalities of how your network configuration is stored and effectuated. If this is not the case, it means the tools provided to make this process more user friendly are not good enough. Making this change will make the authors of said tools able to spend more time on getting the fancy things right, and less time worrying about parsing and rewriting your /etc/network/interfaces properly.

> The “data center”-centric thinking I see demonstrated by this idea is not conducive to an end user being able to figure out what is what when they see this for the first time.

Again: End users who are not technically inclined enough to understand something as simple as “Your network configuration has moved to /etc/network/interfaces.d” are not likely to have had even the slightest chance of being able to fix /etc/network/interfaces anyway.

Hey man

Thx for a very interesting article!!!! Good stuff.

I think Sorens Hansens idea makes perfect sense, and is a very beautiful structure.

The discussion is reminding me a about the whole “is-coding-by-convention-a-good-thing?” talk regarding frameworks.

For me this is a convention i would like the os to make for me!

But different moves and different grooves 🙂

Ciao
Rune

I put in a feature request a few weeks ago to have Hardy use a seperate /home partition set noexec by default. Not only would this make upgrades simpler (part of another proposal I made), but it would increase security by limiting executable viruses and worms to the system area, which is more difficult to get access to, and allow easy reistallation if something in the system were hosed.

Cheers,

Daeng Bo
http://ibeentoubuntu.blogspot.com

8.04 is supposed to be an LTS. So, fix those outstanding bugs and forget adding a bunch of new features that will be broken. –AC

Soren:
>Ubuntu has at least since Dapper made sure that once an interface got its name it would never change again.
I was not aware of this, but certainly good information. I’m curious here, where is the MAC to interface list kept? What happens with interfaces that currently are not detected with a hard MAC?

>Those are physical interfaces.
As soon as I posted my reply I knew I reversed it in my head… and I actually did read the read the proposal in full, including the little bit where it says “Before ranting[…]” and I just did the opposite. Whoops!

>What is on the wiki (which you appear to have not read, though) is not final, and it’s not even sure it’s going to happen at all.
I understand that the entire list is a suggestion/idea/proposal and use those terms liberally in the article. That said, they’ve already been through an initial approval process and more likely than not will make it in, as long as they are feasible.

>You see? Not really a lot changed.
I see. The way I read it in the wiki last night was a bit confusing. Also I do not beleive that the Migration plan was posted last night. I appreciate you clearing this up.

>Two reasons[…]
Both of these make sense.

>To make editing the network configuration easier for other programs (such as various system configuration frontends and so on) without running much of a risk of messing up the users current config.
I’ve had an upgrade (not Ubuntu) go ballistic and destroy the interfaces file, adding a few dozen non-printable characters instead of newlines, so again, it makes sense to make it easier for the developers.

>Why would this be any more benificial to him/her than anyone else?
I don’t agree with the rationality of adding additional complexity to a file that is usually under 5 lines long for a single user machine. If a fictional administrator has a interfaces file that is 2000 lines long, and often makes mistakes when making changes, I can see the reason.
Let’s step back to reality for a moment. How many installations have more than 2 interfaces? How difficult is it to parse and alter a file with two interfaces? I don’t think it’s THAT HARD that it requires the change.

>I imagine the migration will parse the current network config, write new config using this new syntax, and put a friendly notice in /etc/network/interface telling the user where to look for his network config.
Was this migration section just updated in the last 24 hours with this information? I don’t recall reading it previously.

>a) Switching to a one-file-per-iface approach will make broken network configuration a lot less common, because the syntax has been slightly simplified, and you can only ruin the config of one iface at a time.
>b) If you’ve managed to break it anyhow, you’ve already located the appropriate file to fix it in (because that’s the one you broke, right?).
>c) If you haven’t the skills to resurrect a broken network configuration, you shouldn’t have had to edit it anyway. There should be configuration frontends for that sort of thing, and this change is proposed with the explicit purpose of making it easier for such frontends to do the right thing without messing up your configuration.
>From the desktop’s perspective, you ought to be completely agnostic as the technicalities of how your network configuration is stored and effectuated. If this is not the case, it means the tools provided to make this process more user friendly are not good enough. Making this change will make the authors of said tools able to spend more time on getting the fancy things right, and less time worrying about parsing and rewriting your /etc/network/interfaces properly.

All good points. I stand corrected.

Let’s hope Hardy Heron restores the ability to use USB flash drives. If you upgrade from 7.04 to 7.10, you may find that your USB flash drives cannot be mounted, not even using “mount” at the command line. This problem doesn’t seem to exist for fresh installs, only upgrades. If you’ve stored lots of your important files on USB flash drives and upgrade from 7.04 to 7.10, you’re screwed.

They need better Theme Support – So many different themes to choose from, so many places to install, they should create a theme browser that goes online and finds the themes and then displays a standardised theme preview, and an easy way to download the theme and use it.

Think Plus for Windows 98 Easy, the end user is really that dumb, and cool transparent windows and window effects will sell them. Glitter does work.

Trust me, i’m a website developer, they just eat up flashy shit

A ZFS install option would be a great addition… I know its not GPL but a little disclaimer and your set. Then they really could do an OSX timemachine application with ease!!!

The “3rd party APT” and “Single click install” seems a bit overkill; I already can install applications by clicking on a deb file. And installing a deb file does not require a extra APT source.
I would love the failsafe X, I needed it last month :D.

Hi Soren,

we’re running a data center with 40 Debian machines which are running tomcat and apache servers which all listen to their own interface. Our packages install a new interface file when they are installed. We have written our own update-interfaces script which just generates /etc/network/interfaces from the files in interfaces.d.

The benefit is the same as for all the other *.d directories like /etc/cron.d or /etc/init.d or /etc/default for example. You make it possible for packages to install their own config files and for tools to manage a small piece of information instead of a single big one.

As Ubuntu is moving towards hiding everything behind a graphical UI anyway its only logical to make the configuration easier for the tool. The normal end user shouldn’t have to mess with this anyway.

I’m not so sure if you really need a different syntax. One file per interface which are then merged together works pretty well for us.

Cheers
Frank

To follow my earlier post, is there any reason not to be able to leave the /home on the same partition without deleting it when installing?

> 8.04 is supposed to be an LTS. So, fix those
> outstanding bugs and forget adding a bunch of new
> features that will be broken. –AC

Overall, the thrust will be stabilising the components and ensuring LTS-to-LTS upgrade ease. However, there will be significant new versions (e.g., Linux 2.6.24 as a base) of some components – it seems many people are in favour, and backporting features becomes incredibly difficult – and simply bringing in those versions inevitably introduces bugs. We all know that ironing out bugs is non-trivial. If you’re not already involved, feel free to jump in – the water’s fine (start at https://bugs.launchpad.net/+login)!

I agree that this article is really interesting. thanks. I’ve wanted many of these answers to what will be available Hardy Heron.

However I choose to differ (but only in part) with your opinion of Automatic Bug Reporting.

> Automatic bug reporting
>
> This is certainly an interesting idea, but due to
> privacy concerns I don’t really want to see this make
> it into the release. Why emulate Windows here? It
> can be REALLY annoying to get MORE error popups when > things crash.

Firstly, yes, it is very annoying. So why not do it better than Wind**s? (Imagine that hey? :-))

For example, similarly to the User Statistics option in the Software Sources configuration utility, Ubuntu’s designers can allow us to elect for automatic bug reports (even on a per app basis, protecting privacy options etc) with a view to borrowing a feature from Wind**s automatic bug reporting that I do like.

Reporting solutions that may be known to a person that falls victim to a known bug. (Or connects you to an appropriate Community Forum?)

And while development is underway for this, why not make support for this an open API and promote it to other distros and Open Source projects?

(Maybe this is already underway, and if so just ignore what I’m saying and forward that info to whomsoever it needs to get to, please. :-))

One thing missing for ordinary people is Chat client, with video and audio. I recently installed Ubuntu for one of my client and he is computer illiterate, he had no problem using it. But when it came to chatting applications, I had to install XP so he can talk to his family overseas. Now that is a bummer!

I’d like to see an Ubuntu/GoboLinux cross.

A time machine feature that saves stuff on an external hard drive doesn’t strike me as a very good idea. External drives don’t last very long. Not nearly as long as internal drives. But a easy to use backup application that can save on network drive or (why not) a second internal hard drive would be nice. It doesn’t have to be as flashy as the the OS X Time Machine though. 🙂

I would suggest

-an easy backup solution (perhaps improve ‘simple backup’ which doesn’t even work most of the times i’ve tried it)
-fix nautilus list view columns and drag & drop. Nautilus seems to have regressed from feisty to gutsy.
-provide better support, right now an irc channel is the top listed support option. An irc channel.
-better webcam support (3rd party app thing, not ubuntu)
-how about a shutdown button that doesn’t dance around the top bar from boot to boot
-fix all the reports gutsy bugs with wireless & suspend support
-Better support for external displays. Do you know that about the only way to use a projector is to restart gnome or the computer? nvidia-settings crashes the machine.
-support Wubi. If you really want to increase market share, you need an install that doesn’t require partitioning or even figuring out how to boot to a CD.

RAY as saying :

# Ray | November 1st, 2007 at 7:10 am

One thing missing for ordinary people is Chat client, with video and audio. I recently installed Ubuntu for one of my client and he is computer illiterate, he had no problem using it. But when it came to chatting applications, I had to install XP so he can talk to his family overseas. Now that is a bummer!

=-=-=-
Hi ray, there is a lot of apps that do that without having the need to install win apps/os. As an example you can use aMSN which as almost the same fonctionality as MSN messenger in windows. there is also skype, pidgin, and lots of others, just browse in the Applications menu under add/remove in linux Ubuntu.

@Daniel T Chen

Hi Daniel- Thanks for your reply. Yes, I’ve reported 7 bugs to launchpad since 6.06 was released; 5 were given medium or better ratings. To date, none have been fixed. During this time new features have been pushed forward (some, with their own bugs). From this, I must conclude that there is more interest in adding new features than fixing old bugs. In my view, this tread must be reversed for an LTS release. Regards, AC

There are two pieces of Microsoft software I currently rely on, for which there is no Linux substitute:
1) SharedView — This software enables me and a collaborator to share view and control of either an individual application or our entire desktops. The way this works is fantastic. The most recent release (SharedView is still Beta) has been a big performance advance. I use this program to help non-techies solve problems and to show them how to do stuff.
2) The Windows Live Messenger Beta has support for “sharing folders.” These are folders that get synchronized between me and a person I chat with. When the two of us are both online, the software synchronizes the files between us so that we both have copies of the latest work. There is support for keeping multiple versions when there is a change conflict. While there is room for improvement in the change management, I find this functionality invaluable. The integration of SharedView and Windows Live Messenger is also very useful.

I would be thrilled to see a Linux alternative. Of course, I wish it would interoperate with the Microsoft stuff, but that is just a pipe dream.

The other thing tying me to Microsoft currently is Office 2007. There are some nice optimizations to the content creation process. I just can’t create presentations in OO.org that look as good.

Miles

– remote support (maybe ala msn but in pidgin, or see shared view, netviewer, …), with remote support invitations, firewall/routers safe

– easy and effective backup tool

– better multi monitor support (laptop + external monitor on the fly)

– easy AD support (MS domains)

– easy and working network switcher (config locations [home,work,hotel,…], set default printer, homepage, dns, AD (domains), …)

– improve bluetooth devices (handsfree)

… and if possible…
– collaborate with mobile phone producer to deliver a sync tool.

SlickBoot-

According to the wiki this is very USplash centric. Why? There are options that are much better than USplash that do not require the users to know the C programming language in order to modify. I’m all about making the boot screen “prettier” but come on, USplash? ugh! Upower or Splashy is much better. Even the old bootsplash that ran in kernelspace is far superior to USplash.

I agree with the Bug fixing, but one bug that really bugs me is that GRUB bug with combo of IDE and SATA drives.
I understand that GRUB has to fix their bugs (or somone who knows the details), but they don’t and I don’t know how.
Maybe Ubuntu can look at another boot manager that can work ?

I hope someone harvests this thread and submits key suggestions into Launchpad. Sorry, I am swamped right now or I would do it.

>> SharedView — This software enables me and a collaborator to share view and control of either an individual application or our entire desktops. The way this works is fantastic. The most recent release (SharedView is still Beta) has been a big performance advance. I use this program to help non-techies solve problems and to show them how to do stuff.

Hmmm, that didn’t work very well. I was trying to say that vnc sounds like SharedView and that works across all platforms. Comes with Mandriva as standard, so I’m sure *buntu will be able to run it.

One suggestion I’m surprised I haven’t seen is the default install including NDIS wrapper and wireless networking tools to use it easily. I was not in a position to easily plug into my network, and having the tools residing on the initial install would have made things a lot easier than dragging my hardware to where my cable-modem was.

> Hi Daniel- Thanks for your reply. Yes, I’ve reported
> 7 bugs to launchpad since 6.06 was released; 5 were
> given medium or better ratings. To date, none have
> been fixed. During this time new features have been
> pushed forward (some, with their own bugs). From
> this, I must conclude that there is more interest in
> adding new features than fixing old bugs. In my
> view, this tread must be reversed for an LTS
> release. Regards, AC

I empathize with the bug triaging problem. There are additional triagers recently employed by Canonical to alleviate and/or address the “firehose” problem (I discussed a set of issues with two such employees at UDS-Boston), and of course, community participation is invaluable (that was my capacity).

[…] “Mal saiu a nova versão do Ubuntu e o trabalho já está a mil com novas idéias, sugestões e projetos para a nova versão. Instalação via Internet com um único clique do mouse, melhorias na integração com repositórios de terceiros, colaboração com os desenvolvedores do Automatix, Slickboot, instalação em filesystem existente sem sobrescrever o /home, e mais. Veja mais no fsckin.” […]

Any improvements on search in apt, aptitude or synaptic? The search there today is good enough if you know a package, even if you don’t know the name. But for exploring you need to be able to search for i.e: foo AND bar. Synaptic should have some GUI-stuff to ease the pain trying to use boolean operators.

Hi

I’v Been considering Ubuntu and other desktop targeted distros like Pclinux, Xsandros etc. I use XP SP2 and could not be considered a geek of any sort. For someone like me who has heard of Ubuntu and is sure Ubuntu has better things to offer him than his current choice of OS – there is one major obstacle:

All the features you detail here are very nifty.In Fact much niftier than any win OS has to offer.But what keeps me from installing Ubuntu, or any other distro for that matter, is the the fact that I use an EMU 1212M sound card. A semi professional card that is not supported by Linux, and that creative is not going to issue a Linux driver for. That, of course, makes Linux irrelevant for me.
In my view the big players of the Linux scene, including Ubunto, should now be putting their effort to creating an updated open set of drivers, or try as much as they can to push the hardware manufacturers into issuing Linux drivers regularly.
Linux, in my view, is already a better desktop option than Linux but more nifty features will not take Ubuntu Linux much further: Drivers availability, and maybe open formats that will work the same in Ms office and Open Office, is what will take Linux and Ubunto to the next level.

Sorry
“Linux, in my view, is already a better desktop option than Linux”=”Linux, in my view, is already a better desktop option than Ms Windows”

(An A.D.D rises it’s ugly head)

I love Ubuntu. I use it on three laptops and a desktop. I even dual-boot my Macs with it. I’ve been using it since 5.04 and it works like a champ.

I just really wish they hadn’t decided 8.04 will promptly be called “Hairy Hardon” by *everyone*. That’s what we call “the opposite of marketing.”

“Automatic bug reporting” I think this is a must-have if you want to nail bugs down dramatically. As these bug reports are done anonymously and the content is about software usage and error messages, I have no idea why some people would be concerned about privacy abuse.

Mike: The separate /home partition will let you reinstall without overwriting it.

Jerry: Opt-in is probably the best choice.

As far as privacy goes… It got removed from bugzilla… but still worth a laugh.

———– .xsession-errors (843 sec old) ———————
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/hamster lick anal fist parrot *****.movstarting
xterm -e mplayer $URL$
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/fat infected tummy tuck surgury marklar group *****.movstarting
xterm -e mplayer $URL$
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/masturbating menstruating pikachu foot-detach-self-*****.mpgstarting
xterm -e mplayer $URL$
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/OVER 9000!!!!! gangbang 1 chick stadium xterm -e mpla
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/underage necrophelia + resuscitation reverse oral ***** .mpgstarting xterm -e mplayer $URL$
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/dog on cow milk suck *****.mpgstarting xterm -e mplayer
$URL$
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/I’m Chris Hanson, why don’t you sit down over there.mpgstarting xterm -e
mplayer $URL$
xterm -e mplayer /home/tom/Video/MAILBOX!!!!.mpegstarting xterm -e mplayer $URL$

You don’t appreciate privacy until it is violated.
-Wayne

I reinstalled Ubuntu many times in a row (with a occasional debian etch install too), and never had any data loss with /home. just made it into another partition, and chose not to format it during installation, both graphical and text mode installs.

I have read a few comments that mention about some sort of time machine.

There is a package manager called Conary which runs on Foresight Linux (official distro for gnome and so always is first to have newest gnome), and apparently it is superior to all package managers. Im not sure if thats true, but it allows for the user to rollback therir system to a desired date, and also to easily create their own packages using rbuilder. and handles dependencies better. I am very new to linux in terms of how much time i have actually played around with a ny distro. But from what I have read, Conary has many things that you all seem to want.

Maybe in the future Ubuntu can use Conary (im keeping my eye on it, as it seems interesting as opposed to most linux news of another piece of crap distro that is slightly different from another)

How about a nice font manager. Or at least a font uninstaller. Or even a font re-namer. Do you ever get tired of scrolling past forty ae_this and ae_that entries at the beginning of the list to get to the font you’re looking for?

How about full disk encryption? This is becoming increasingly important for everyone and especially corporations. Setting it up manually is a real pain and from what I understand it is still not possible with the regular Gutsy installer but only with the installer of the Gutsy alternate desktop CD. This is a must feature for Hardy!

I agree that disk encryption is one of the most important features that are still missing in Gutsy. Hopefully someone will implement it in the new installer.

Wow, Alot of wonderful ideas. It makes me want to test-drive Hardy Heron right now! I wanted to say that 2 ideas in particular stand out for me. One is the one about informing the user that he/she is running out of disk space. I watch my systems monitor alot, but this idea is great for everybody including veteran linux users.
The other one that impressed me alot was the one about preventing the overwrite of /home. I’m sure the veterans have their special ways of avoiding this, but it still can happen once in a while, and if your latest backup is not recent … then you see how important this can be. There were many other good ideas, too many for me to comment on right now, I hope most of these good ones survive alpha and beta, and get into the final release.
Thanks for the article.

Just make the wireless connection work automatically without needing a web connection to grab fwcutter or any other utility. And while I’m complaining, fix the ATI bug that stops the sleep/resume working. Very important on a laptop…

Less (not at all?) requirement for command line is something vital for a desktop OS. Option to use it yes, but no requirement. OpenSUSE has done a good job on this. For example, it would be nice to have a graphical configuration tool for the boot manager (essential on dual-boot systems!). Also a graphical way to edit default application associations is missing.

Broader and better device support! (I know an IT specialist who abandoned ubuntu because he did could not afford the time to go through numerous forum posts just to make his laptop’s wireless card work). Also, monitor detection does not always work right.

New login in window should appear scaled down by default (just like in OpenSUSE) instead of utilising the full screen size in a non-resizable window. Detail, but makes the feature practically useless, since it is not “in a window” but rather “in a fullscreen non-resizable window”.

Support for easy setup of Active Directory authentication integration of this with the login screen.

An application-aware firewall would be a good one to have. Tough one though.

“Other ideas are to look for key files on USB sticks and other media, instead of just using a password.”

it’s a very very usefull thing

When will Ubuntu and the rest of the Linux camp realize we need real native support for wireless networking. Everything is a workaround and it always seems to get glossed over. NDISwrapper is a lame excuse for something we’ve been using for years.

Lack of wireless support is the primary reason I haven’t entirely converted to Linux.

Of all the features you mentioned, I think the third party apt and single click install will be the most important for getting people to adopt Ubuntu. I am barely above clueless when it comes to linux and when I switched from XP to Ubuntu 7.10 one of the more confusing things for me to learn was how to install programs that weren’t in Synaptic/the official repositories.

I’d also like to say that Ubuntu has it right in that each distro runs faster than the previous. Definitely looking forward to April.

Small item but I’d like to see web-links to work from Ubuntu tools. For example in apt manager there is often links to project home pages in package descriptions. Now have to copy and paste them into firefox.

Maybe I’m missing something, but is there a graphical tool to configure xorg.conf? I mean, I know nvidia-settings will write it for you if you have an nvidia card, and there are other tools as well, but from the point of view of a new Ubuntu user who wants to use compiz-fusion, for example, it’s a rather intimidating prospect to have to add things like
Option=”AddARGBGLXVisuals” “TRUE”
not to mention making sure all the right modules are loaded. If there were GUI tool that would allow us to simply check all the right boxes, that would be great. Also, I’ve helped a lot of people who tried to enable the extra desktop effects and failed, only to find that emerald and emerald-plugins (or even compiz itself) weren’t installed. I’m not saying they should be installed by default with every installation, but when someone checks that box they expect it to make everything work, period. I know there are several different options here, and that they’re not of vital importance to most of us, but it’s a simple truth that a good percentage of people who try Ubuntu (or other Linuxes for that matter) do so because they want the big shimmery cube with the fish swimming inside 🙂 Again, I’m not sure if I’m missing something here (after all, I’ve been a Kubuntu user since Dapper, so I myself haven’t yet had the convenience of simply checking the box, and I’m not completely familiar with the way everything works in Gnome), but from what I’ve seen these might be good things to consider.

~Evan

P.S. Great thread!

Nice. I’m impressed by the Ubuntu’s improvements. Though here is something: “Improve Handling of Full Disks”. There it stands: “In some cases, you can end up booting into text mode, with a read-only root partition.”
I did this foolish thing with the free space several times on Slackware, and I was able to login in always, whatever happened. I mean, in text mode at least, ofcourse the KDE didn’t started up, because there was no space in the /tmp. I suggest you, to take a close look to this problem and avoid the _need_ of writing too many files to the harddisk before run level 4. So, at least you can get a text login and delete some files.

What about OpenJDK support in Ubuntu? any word on integrating the IcedTea fork by RedHat into the distribution? Any other enhancements on the Java front? Or .NET for that matter?

How about allowing one to install printers shared by a remote CUPS server. That way we can just point to the server’s IP and all its printers are instantly available. This is currently very well done by Mandriva, if you want to take a peak.

Also, better WPA2 support would be great. I currently can’t connect with Ubuntu to our WPA2 network at the office.

Finally, can someone please implement the ability to rename files and folders withing a File Save/Open dialog box?

The java script on your front page is freezing Firefox whenever I try to load it, thus making it necessary for me to reboot Ubuntu. I think you should check all those videos you posted for errors in scripting.

Some of us, possibly more than you think, can only install using the alternate installation. The graphic installer gives resolution options, but our monitors cannot use them for some reason. Low resolution prevents our reaching the bottom of the page and entering choices.

This is not a big thing, but your graphic install CD might mention the problem and suggest the alternative. It takes some of us a long time to figure it out.

Very nice article and ideas.

When I install a software which I found to be not what I expected, It would be nice if by “completely uninstalling” it from Synaptic I also uninstall the dependencies that got installed with it.
If this feature is already there, excuse me and advise. I’m a noob…

I would also like the network manager to support static ips for vpn connections.

I’d love the functionality of Finder from OSX, where the menu from each application in focus goes to the top of the desktop, where the hand’s “memory” is (in time) trained to quickly find and click the menus (or should this be a feature request for Gnome/GTK/Xfce?)

Thanks for striving to keep things simple and intuitive.

Hey great post,
i think there is more than that
Missing good dvd burning software k3b is better,
tv tuner,exaile like player,Tweak utility cause ill usually use
ubuntu tweak to do little tweaking.

Hey guys,

There are some really promissing things in this. Let me say, however, that I’ve been a newby at Linux for the last 10 years. Why? Because I haven’t come across a single distro that works “straight out of the box”. Who’s got the time to search thousands of threads to try to find the answer? And as for fragments code and commands… say no more.
I refer to another contributor’s remark about Windows being full of bugs. I’ve never, in Windows, not been able to connect to the internet, not been able to set up a printer, not been able to set up a wireless network, not been able to print to a printer connected to another machine, etc.
My last attempt was Gutsy, just recently. Samba is broken and unless one is an expert, the forums tell me bugger all.
How about something like: boot, log on, hey look there’s a wireless network, hey look there are some machines on the network, hey look one of them is a Windows XP machine, hey look there’s a Canon printer connected to it, etc, all without any (or very limited) input from the user (AKA me).

Good luck with the new distro.
Regards,
Steve

Just thought that I’d add that I agree with the comments about manual partitions on install for /home directories. I learned early on that having a /home partition is not just an advisable idea, but practically mandatory for anyone who reinstalls their OS even once or twice. It saves an ENORMOUS amount of trouble. They should add a separate home partition to the guided install menu.

Just FYI.

If you actually follow the links in this article you’ll see that most of the more notable features listed here are still drafts or proposals, so don’t get your hopes up too high for Hardy.

id just be happy if they fix the bug that causes ubuntu (multi distro’s) to go into screen saver mode while watching a video.

when i say fix i mean so it goes away completly without changing it to 20 minutes and without editing the xconf file so it stays on ALL the time.

This may be already implemented. I would not only like to see the /home fully protected – different partition maybe – but also some form of applications list automatically created and updated in the /home folder that allows simple recreation of the user data AND the supporting apps in the case of some form of OS meltdown.

Hey,

Sounds pretty much great. Just hope new features will not bring more bugs. Bugs is what is stopping me using Ubuntu in a fun (media/game) system. For servers it’s more than GREAT.

Fix the bugs/issues FIRST, then go on is my opinion.

you are in reality a good webmaster. The site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have done a magnificent activity on this subject!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *