User Interface of the X Configuration Tool

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Mon Jun 4 11:43:43 BST 2007

On May 30, 2007, at 6:12 AM, Sebastian Heinlein wrote:
> ...
> the new and shiny GTK frontend to displayconfig (the x configuration
> part of the KDE admin suite named guidance) has got some usability
> issues. I would like to start a discussion about this to get your input
> and comments.

So here's what the competition does:

> ...

According to this specification, there will be one UI 
(gnome-display-properties) for people who have one display, another UI 
(display-config-gtk) for people who have two displays, and yet another 
UI (hacking the X config files yourself) for people who have three or 
more displays. I think this is unfortunate and unnecessary.

Having discussed this with you on IRC, I understand that the current 
situation is:
*   we can't auto-detect the existence of displays, because of
     limitations in X;
*   we can't put a separate settings dialog on each display (like Mac OS
     X does), because we can't rely on the config on any given display
     being non-broken.

These make the interface more complex than it could be, but I still 
think we could have a single interface for any number of displays.

At the top center of the window could be an option menu listing the 
available displays (defaulting to the primary display), followed by a 
separator, then items for managing multiple displays. The rest of the 
window would show settings for the current display. For example:

              |(x)             Displays             (-)|
              |         ______________________         |
              |        |__LCD (Primary)_____:^|        |
              |                                        |
              |     (display-specific settings here)   |
              :                                        :

The menu when opened:
              |(x)            Displays              (-)|
              |         ______________________         |
              |        |/:LCD:(Primary):::::::|        |
              |________|  Canon LV-7575       |________|
              |        |  Unknown             |        |
              |        |----------------------|        |
              |        |  Graphics Card...    |        |
              |        |  Arrange Displays... |        |
              :         """"""""""""""""""""""         :

"Graphics Card..." and "Arrange Displays..." would both open separate 
dialogs, and would not be actual choices.

I agree with Corey and Mikko that the arrangement UI should use 
draggable thumbnails of each display. For accessibility, each thumbnail 
could be focusable and movable using the arrow keys.

Matthew Paul Thomas
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