control center in Ubuntu/Kubuntu?

Jean-Remy Falleri jr.falleri at
Fri May 6 03:10:04 CDT 2005

By the way we can use
to configure the network. It's pretty usable but it's not debian specific.

2005/5/6, Abdullah Ramazanoglu <ar018 at>:
> Frederik Dannemare dedi ki:
> > On Wednesday 04 May 2005 12:18, Donatas wrote:
> >> Are there any plans in Ubuntu/Kubuntu of creating a control center
> >> for hardware tuning, something like Mandrake Control Center?
> >>
> >> Would you think this would be needed? I would strongly encourage
> >> that.
> >
> > For those of us not too familiar with Mandrake's Control Center what
> > does it offer for handling hardware devices?
> >
> > KDE Control Control can already set up these:
> >  - network interfaces (including wireless)
> >  - printers
> >  - display
> >  - digicams
> >  - mouse/keyboard/joystick
> >
> > What's missing then? Sound device configuration maybe?
> Once upon a time I had listed drakconf (Mdk Control Center) menu for some
> other distro. I'm pasting it here (long).
> ================================================================
> Here is what's covered by drakconf (of Mandrake 10.1) as a starting point.
> Mind you, these are all system-wide settings that need to be done by root.
> For instance mouse and keyboard settings are not the same as the ones in
> kcontrol. E.g. mouse settings affect X configuration (and depending on the
> mouse type, possibly the kernel modules loaded at boot time):
> K -> Sytem -> Configuration -> Configure your computer
> + [1] Boot
>   - [11] Autologin
>   - [12] Boot loader
>   - [13] Boot theme
> + [2] Hardware
>   - [21] Hardware
>   - [22] Monitor
>   - [23] Screen resolution
>   - [24] TV card
>   - [25] Keyboard
>   - [26] Mouse
>   - [27] Printers
>   - [28] Scanners
>   - [29] UPS
> + [3] Mount Points
>   - [31] Partitions
>   - [32] CD/DVD
>   - [33] Floppy drive
>   - [34] NFS mount points
>   - [35] Samba mount points
>   - [36] WebDAV mount points
>   - [37] Local disk sharing
> + [4] Network & Internet
>   - [41] New connection
>   - [42] Internet access
>   - [43] Manage connections
>   - [44] Monitor connections
>   - [45] Remove a connection
>   - [46] Proxy
>   - [47] Internet connection sharing
> + [5] Security
>   - [51] Level and checks
>   - [52] Permissions
>   - [53] Firewall
> + [6] System
>   - [61] Menus
>   - [62] Display manager
>   - [63] Services
>   - [64] Fonts
>   - [65] Date and time
>   - [66] Logs
>   - [67] Console
>   - [68] Users and groups
>   - [69] Backups
> + [7] Software Management
>   - [71] Install
>   - [72] Remove
>   - [73] Updates
>   - [74] Media manager
> + [8] Online Administration
>   - [81] Remote Control (Linux/Unix, Windows)
> All in all 43 entries distributed into 8 categories. As we will see below,
> they are mostly not great new tools but either the already available ones
> or their work-alikes. What makes drakconf great (to new users) is that
> they are categorized in tidy way and put into a single place. So, even a
> complete clueless new user can figure out how to manage his system. Not
> that Mandrake has done it perfect, though. For instance system-wide
> language setting is separate from drakconf. There are also several
> additional administrative utilities scattered here and there in the main
> "System" K-Menu entry, but they can be ignored for the time being. Now
> let's see what each of these entries do, and to what they correspond in
> Kanotix/Debian:
> [11] Autologin: To set up whether to automatically login to KDE as some
> user upon boot. Not essential.
> [12] Boot loader: Just a GUI front end to lilo/grub config.
> [13] Boot theme: Whether you want graphical boot screen, which background
> to be shown as splash screen, whether you want it also as a fade
> background in FB console sessions. Mere eye-candy.
> Sub Total: Only [#12] is essential, and there's already a KDE utility for
> this, although I never used it and don't know how successful it is.
> [21] Hardware: Basically a kinfocenter-alike with an addition of "Run
> config tool" and depending on the hardware, a "Configure module" button,
> which provides for entering kernel module parameters. Entry form is not
> generic. For each module, only the relevant module parameters are offered.
> I don't know whether they're already listed somewhere or Mandrake
> home-built a list for each and every device they support. As for the "Run
> config tool" button, it does the following depending on the device
> selected:
>   o Floppy and CD/DVD: A simple GUI dialog to set up fstab parameters. Same
> as [32] and [33].
>   o HDD: GUI partition editor. Same as [31].
>   Videocard: A GUI dialog to change the auto-detected VGA card and monitor
> manually, and to set resolution. Also a button to select between graphical
> or text UI on boot-up (inittab run level selector). An important feature
> is that it includes a "Test" button to test the xorg.conf with actually
> running X with it, and asking if alles OK before committing the changes.
>   o Sound card: Option to manually change the auto-detected sound card
> driver.
>   o Ethernet card: Same as [41]
>   o Mouse: Same as [26]
> [22] Monitor: Dialog to manually change the ddc-detected monitor settings.
>   o Custom: To enter hsync and vsync manually.
>   o Plug and Play: To sense it at each X start (AFAICS it didn't affect my
> xorg.conf, though).
>   o Vendor: A huge selection tree of each supported monitor categorized by
> their brand. Just a brand <-> hsync/vsync database. Too much of a burden
> to keep it updated for its little benefit, IMHO. The database contains
> mostly (if not all) the DDC capable monitors which don't need manual
> hsync/vsync entry. And it lacks those monitors where this database would
> be of value, i.e. the old non-ddc ones.
>   o Generic: A list of VESA standard resolution and refresh rates to select
> from.
> [23] Screen resolution: A dialog to select resolution and depth. With a
> pretty monitor picture that shows how it would look like with the selected
> resolution.
> [24] TV card: Dialog to select TV card settings. Already included, possibly
> a better one, in Kanotix. I don't have a TV card so I can't compare them.
> [25] Keyboard: Dialog to select keyboard (system-wide default). It affects
> both X and VCs.
> [26] Mouse: Dialog to change and test the auto-detected mouse (including
> wheel test).
> [27] Printers: A dialog to define/edit/test CUPS based printers (local and
> remote). It's got a huge database of printers/drivers (from other
> packages). One fine part of it is that it automatically decides whether a
> certain package (be it foomatic, gimp-print or anything related) is
> missing and it automatically triggers urpmi (apt-get) to install required
> ones. This "auto-install by the way" feature is found in most of drakconf.
> [28] Scanners: A dialog with 3 buttons: [Search for new scanners], [Add a
> scanner manually], and [Scanner sharing]. It also auto-installs required
> but missing packages such as sane.
> [29] UPS: Dialog to set up UPS. It doesn't work (it's got such a gaping bug
> in shutdown sequence for many versions, that I suspect they never test it.
> Otherwise they would know that it doesn't work). For several versions now,
> I've hacked their UPS handling in shutdown and set up my UPS manually.
> Sub Total: Except [29] they're all needed. Many of them are just tarted up
> (and offered as a separate dialog) versions of very basic settings. I
> don't know which one, if any, is missing from Debian repositories.
> [31] Partitions: Just a QtParted alike.
> [32] & [33] CD/DVD & Floppy drive: Very simple dialog to enter;
>   o Mount point (a local directory browser provided)
>   o Mount options (presented as a checkbox list of all relevant options)
>   o FS type (presented as a drop-down menu)
> [34] NFS mount points: Basically same as [32/33] with a button to [Search
> new servers] that is supposed to work. I guess it queries the mount daemon
> of prospective NFS servers, but I don't know how it guesses out which
> addresses to query in the first place. Either it should be possible to
> send a broadcast query to find out mount daemons (I don't know if nfs
> supports this), or it may be walking through all the subnet address range.
> Anyway, I had tried it on several occasions but I don't remember it
> finding the NFS servers in my LAN. If you already got it in your fstab,
> then it shows and allows to change the mount options. But no-thanks, once
> I place it manually in the fstab why change it through GUI? All in all, I
> regard this dialog as junk.
> [35] Samba mount points: Same as [34] but I guess with a better chance of
> finding SMB servers (via broadcast query). I don't remember having used
> it, though.
> [36] WebDAV mount points: I never used it. Tried now, but it starts by
> installation attempt of a missing pkg (davfs) so I cancelled it.
> [37] Local disk sharing: It says "...will permit users to simply click
> 'share' in Konqueror or Nautilus". IIRC it doesn't provide for network
> sharing, but provides for different users on the same machine sharing a
> directory. The /tmp (or some other 777 directory immune to auto-cleaning)
> could be used just as well. A dedicated directory (say "/share") coming in
> Kanotix by default would be nice (mostly rendering this dialog useless).
> Sub Total: A partition editor which Kanotix already got, several fstab
> editors which can be reduced to a single dialog/utility, and a disk-share
> dialog of doubtful use.
> [41] New connection: A GUI dialog walks you through setup of these:
>   o Modem
>   o ISDN
>   o ADSL
>   o Cable
>   o LAN
>   o Wireless
> Modem connection rather naively expects you to have a hard-modem.
> Nevertheless, it detects soft modems (grep through lspci for certain
> strings) and shows you the device identification string from lspci, with
> two options: Use this auto-detected modem, or set-up manually. You say
> "Hah! It found the thing!" You select the "auto-detected modem". And then
> the dialog says "Warning. It's not a supported modem. Please visit
>" ... Some humorous guys... LAN (eth card) setup
> works as in dpkg-reconfigure with usual questions-answers. I haven't tried
> others but I assume they should work except the wireless setup. Even
> though I've no wireless card installed I tried it nevertheless and it
> offered around 140 different chips to select from (I guess many of them
> using the same driver, so actual number of drivers could be much lower).
> No ndiswrapper solution offered AFAIK.
> [42] Internet access: resolv.conf and hosts parameters and internet
> connection testing (perhaps a single packet ping to their home site) and
> connection status reporting.
> [43] Manage connections: Basically editing of what is defined via [41].
> [44] Monitor connections: Graphical equivalent of a console based traffic
> monitoring utility (I forgot the name. It's either ntop or some other
> utility.) Additionally it's got a Connect/Disconnect button. Also they've
> got a sys-tray applet version which consolidates [43] and [44] (thru a
> right-click menu).
> [45] Remove a connection: Self explanatory.
> [46] Proxy: Accepts two parameters, http and ftp proxy, to be defined as
> system-wide proxy settings. Some applications and particularly Mandrake's
> internet facing tools (such as urpmi / auto update etc.) uses it.
> [47] Internet connection sharing: A single iptables masquerading rule
> tarted up as a complete dialog. Well, it also installs and sets up
> dhcp-server BTW.
> Sub Total: Only [41] is of real importance, which is already provided in
> Kanotix. Others are nice to have re-touches which should have alternatives
> already. (Mostly fancified GUI dialogs for very, very simple and
> superficial settings).
> [51] Security / Level & checks: This is a very useful tool to set up low
> level security details from a high level perspective. Very good indeed,
> but not essential regarding a novice user trying to tame his machine into
> productive condition. Fine tuning the security is a next level requirement
> in this sense. Here is what this tool offers: Four tabs,
>   o Basic Options: 5 levels of (Poor, Standard, High, Higher, Paranoid)
> predefined security levels. In the other tabs it is possible to tweak the
> details. But tweaking is usually unnecessary because the defaults are
> quite sensible and fine tuned.
>   o Network Options: Network related settings (pull-down menus of "yes",
> "no", "default", and "ignore") such as IP spoofing protection, etc.
>   o System Options: Numerous system-wide security settings, again as pull
> down menus, such as allowing remote login, X Authorization, allowing
> predefined hourly and daily security check-up (cron jobs) etc.
>   o Periodic checks: List of what to check for in hourly and daily cron
> jobs, ranging from running chkrootkit to check world-writable files to
> suid/sgid and other permission changes, etc.
> [52] Permissions: What files/directories to check in hourly check routine.
> An editable list.
> [53] Firewall: Just a check-box list of 8 most popular services to block,
> plus a free entry field to enter any other ports to block. Nothing more
> than a basic blocking-list. The fact that 47 and 53 is not combined might
> be due to emphasizing eye-candy over efficiency, or due to making system
> management more intuitive to new users. I think it's the second one.
> They've scattered iptables setup so that it is more intuitive to manage
> for a new user.
> Sub Total: 53 is rather basic and should be doable by means of numerous
> tools. 52 is an extension of 51, and 51 is a very cool utility but not
> essential for a client oriented distro. (Mandrake is targeting both client
> and server use, so such a utility is more relevant for them than Kanotix.)
> [61] Menus: Here we go. It is a menufile / update-menus editor replacing
> kmenuedit (which is installed but carefully avoided in K-Menu to route the
> unsuspecting users over to Mandrake's own menu editor). Having the luxury
> of providing their own software repository, Mandrake redesigned their own
> menu, thus made Gnome and KDE menus identical, and manages them thru a
> single menu editor (and update-menus). I don't know whether kmenuedit
> edits just K-Menu or capable to manage the menus through update-menus.
> They've solved their menu prettyfication and consolidation in this way.
> [62] Display manager: Just a radio button selection box between mdk-kdm (a
> crippled version of kdm) and gdm. If you've post-installed kdm, it also
> shows up in this list.
> [63] Services: A combined list of init.d *and* xinetd.d services, each
> entry containing;
>   o Service (file) name
>   o Its "status"
>   o An [Info] button displaying the "description:" entry in the file
>   o A check-box to run it during start-up (for init.d services) or to
> enable it as xinetd service.
>   o Two buttons to start and stop the service.
> [64] Fonts: List of installed fonts and in which applications (Ghostscript,
> OpenOffice, Abiword, Generic printers) to use them, options to uninstall
> and import them (including importing the MS fonts from the Windows
> partition in a dual boot machine).
> [65] Date and time: The same dialog when "adjust time" selected from the
> clock applet in KDE panel.
> [66] Logs: A utility to grep through various log files (of arbitrary
> dates).
> [67] Console: Plain old "sudo konsole"
> [68] Users and groups: A kuser workalike.
> [69] Backups: A GUI backup utility.
> Sub Total: All of them are either already included, or available around as
> OSS utilities.
> [71] & [72] & [73] & [74]: synaptic (or kynaptic) equivalents of apt-get
> install, remove, ugrade, and sources.list editor. All functionality is
> already provided by synaptic, plus more.
> [81] Remote Control: Remote rfb access (as a client or server) and client
> for Windows Terminal Services. Again, all of them are available as open
> source utilities. [[BTW I don't understand why people use rfb/vnc for
> local POSIX-to-POSIX (Linux and Unix) access while there is XDMCP?]]
> All in all, some of them are good utilities, but most of them are just
> mediocre ones already been floating around for a long time. What makes it
> valuable for an end user is that they are consolidated, and they've been
> careful to cater for the most needed management utilities, so that a
> novice user won't have to look elsewhere, but manage his system from
> drakconf for most-all things.
> ================================================================
> Best regards,
> --
> Abdullah Ramazanoglu
> aramazan �T myrealbox D0T c�m
> --
> kubuntu-devel mailing list
> kubuntu-devel at

Jean-Rémy Falleri
jr.falleri at

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