Quick brainstorming (long)

Ramon Acedo ramon at linux-labs.net
Tue Dec 7 10:52:29 CST 2004

Hi, I find Ubuntu a great distro and I have been recommending it to
users which don't have much experience with GNU/Linux. I'm GNU/Linux
teacher and I have prepared some Linux Desktop courses. As an
experienced user I don't have any problem to do the common tasks in
Ubuntu but teaching to average users which come from the MS Windows
world you learn a lot of what are the weak points in Linux at the
desktop (and the strengths as well ;-).

I have done a list of easy-to-implement things which could give more
acceptance among the new users who try Ubuntu for the first time.

Remember that at every point I'm thinking about making John Smith's life
with Ubuntu easier.

- Make Nautilus by default to navigate in the filesystem instead of
  opening a simple window in which when cliking on a folder opens
  another one and so on (that reminds the default behaviour of file
  exploring in W95). That's just activating an option in the view menu
  if my memory doesn't fail.

- Include, commented out, the multiversal repository in sources.list
  (the universe is already included but commented, isn't it?) so that
  being able to activate it easily with Synaptics.

- Include in Synaptics pre-configured filters to show packages in the
  multiversal, universal, with origin=Ubuntu, security updates, etc. in
  order to understand better the package system and to able to select
  them separately. Some users want to have just the security updates
  while others will be happy if they are able to find all the mp3, dvd
  and flash stuff. The name of the filters could identificate this.

- Don't start so many services by default. A normal desktop user don't
  need postfix, atd and so on.

- Something for managing the services in the menu. rcconf or
  sysv-rc-conf would be enough although having some gnome app would
  always be better, Red Hat has something called "Services Configuration
  Tool". Porting it to Ubuntu (and to Debian) may not be an
  easy-to-implement task ;-) (at least not a 10 minutes job).

- Put gdm at the very beggining of the boot up process, a desktop distro
  has to bee as quick as possible when booting up.

- Include some icons on the Desktop like Home, System, Network, Trash,

- Although I have checked this superficially I have the feeling that
  lsmod shows me lots of modules I don't need.

- Use a 1024x768 framebuffer (e.g: 791). This beautifies the boot up

- The same for the installation process.

- Include autocomplete by default in /etc/bash.bashrc (OK, that's not
  for John Smith but it makes our life at the shell easier ;-)

- Have you ever discussed about creating a monthly cd with security
  updates and put it available to download and for adding it with
  Synaptic to the repositories. The same for the universal and
  multiversal repositories (one or more cd's). There are lots of
  users all around the planet who don't have access to the Internet or
  are still connected with a 56K modem. This way they could get the cds
  in Linux magazines, at work, from  buddies, etc.

- I like the Ubuntu Calendar, why doesn't it come by default?

Well, that's my quick brainstorming after playing for one (whole ;-) day
with Ubuntu. Great job guys!



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