Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Tue Feb 24 11:18:03 GMT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Matthew East wrote on 23/02/09 13:29:
> I wonder if it would be appropriate for inclusion of
> gnome-control-center to be considered again for Jaunty.
> I still think that the points made in my email below remain valid in
> Jaunty - for me the absence of a structured preferences menu is the
> main problem that stands out at me from Ubuntu's otherwise awesome
> desktop. There wasn't really a very comprehensive discussion of the
> issues when I raised this back in August 2008.

The problem with gnome-control-center is exactly the same now as it has
been for the past three years: it's faster to use if you don't know what
you're looking for, but slower if you do know -- because you have to
wait for, and close, two windows instead of one. It also takes up far
too much screen space, making it netbook-incompatible.

Meanwhile the Preferences and Administration menus have been getting
slightly worse over time, partly because of more stuff being added to
them (such as System Cleaner/Janitor and "Create a USB startup disk"),
and partly because PolicyKit is correctly beginning to allow
administrative and non-administrative changes in the same interface
(such as user account settings, and system-wide keyboard layout and
network proxy).

I have begun designing an interface that would fix the current problems
with gnome-control-center by embedding settings panels into the shell
window, as KDE and Mac OS X do, and as Windows Vista and Windows 7 are
moving towards. The design is still in the very early stages, though.

Independently, as Celeste mentioned in this thread, designers at Sun
have been doing user testing on categorization of settings panels. They
visited Celeste and myself at UDS in December to discuss their research,
and they plan to make it public, but have not done so yet.

- --
Matthew Paul Thomas
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