Logout dialog

Tristan Wibberley maihem at maihem.org
Tue Feb 28 23:56:11 GMT 2006


Sorry to lose the references and stop threading from working, but I've
only just subscribed to this mailing list.

I happened to post a comment on ubuntu-devel regarding my fathers
trouble with understanding what "switch user" means and when it should
be used and was directed here. Since I notice from the archives that
there was a recent short discussion about the logout dialog I'm using
that subject.

My Dad frequently stumbles over choosing between plain "log out" and
"switch user", especially when somebody else happens to want to use the
computer as he has finished.

Since locking the screen already has switch user functionality and
switching users already has locking the screen functionality, wouldn't
it make sense to merge switch user into the "Lock Screen" item in the
System menu?

On a related note, I think the Lock Screen item ought to change its
name, since it is not actually locking the screen (as the user
understands it), it is just locking their own session (of course, in X
Window System terms that *is* the screen, but most users don't know
about that). Most novice computer users think of "Screen" being either
the whole console (denial of service), or of the active dialog box or
web page (none of which are what is meant). I'm pretty certain of the
novice understanding of the word "screen" since my parents both use the
word "screen" in the manner I described and I used to work in an
office/labourer's depot full to the brim with computer novices and
nearly all of them used the word "screen" in the same way when 
discussion computer actions.

I propose that the Lock Screen menu item be renamed to something along
the lines of "Lock Session (or Begin New)", and remove "Switch User"
from the logout dialog. So everything after System->Log Out user...
really *does* log that user out.

After doing this, it would leave "Logout", "Restart", "Sleep",
"Hibernate", and "Shut Down" in the logout dialog. Only one of those
affects just that user session, so I think it should be on its own -
that would mean that System->Logout could just log the user out
immediately, and System->Shut Down could present "Restart", "Sleep",
"Hibernate", and "Shut Down". That would reduce the size of the big
dialog to a manageable level (enough to have only one row, which would
reduce confusion a lot).

As even an advanced user, I was stumped as to what the difference was
between "Sleep" and "Hibernate" before I googled. Could "Hibernate" be
renamed to "Power Down (hibernate)", "Sleep" to "Standby (sleep)", and 
"Shut Down" to "Full System Shut Down". Or something like that? Users 
should normally just hibernate, and I think this name change would make 
that obvious.

Something else I just thought of... Should "Sleep" be available if there
is no battery backup? It would risk dataloss if somebody pulls the mains
plug. I propose letting the admin set a configuration option if they
have the computer on a UPS to enable "Sleep", and let laptops which
Ubuntu can detect batteries in enable "Sleep" automatically. Obviously 
too late to do that one for Dapper.

What do you folks think of these things?

Tristan Wibberley

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