Providing a less dramatic upgrade for LTS-users.

Jo-Erlend Schinstad joerlend.schinstad at
Thu Dec 15 11:20:06 UTC 2011

I have been thinking about the LTS upgrade that is ahead of us. It seems 
to me that a lot of the users who are sticking to LTS releases will be 
users who are only interested in getting things done, and not interested 
in the computer itself. These can be "you have to show me exactly where 
to click"-type users, or it can be corporations that has basic desktop 
needs, and doesn't want to spend time educating the users in a new 

Many of these users will be presented with a "New distribution 
available" upgrade for the very first time. It is likely that many will 
just go right ahead and install the upgrade. When they reboot, they will 
log into a completely new environment. As we've seen, this can upset 
people when they don't expect the change. These have mostly been 
experienced users, and they still get upset. I think we should learn 
from this for the LTS upgrade.

My proposal is that users who _upgrade_ from 10.04 should be presented 
with a Gnome Panel desktop, kept as close to the setup in 10.04 as 
possible. This should be very easy since most of the stuff on the panel 
has been converted to indicators in any case, and the indicator applet 
has been upgraded to Gnome Panel 3, along with the default applets. At 
the first login after the upgrade, the user should be presented with a 
dialog that tells the user about the new desktop and that you can open a 
guest session to try it without any consequences. Or perhaps a "Try it 
now"-button in the dialog to a user that will automatically switch back 
to your own user account when you log out. When they come back, they can 
choose to switch to Unity, or keep the classic session.

I think this creates a more smooth and friendly transition, and this can 
be very important for certain users. It is easy to do and it requires 
very little extra download. We should not loose sight of the fact that 
there are a lot of users who are downright intimidated by technology, 
and actively avoids any kind of exploration. We should respect that -- 
particularly for LTS releases which, for obvious reasons, should be 
recommended to this user group. This is also a special situation. 
Hopefully, the Unity experience will be stable enough that the 
transition between 12.04 and 14.04 will be less dramatic.

The only issue I can think of that might require a little work, is panel 
applets compatibility. Some will not have been upgraded and therefore 
not available. It would be nice to have something similar to what 
Firefox has for its extensions.


Jo-Erlend Schinstad

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