Some thoughts

Ivan Krstic krstic at
Tue Dec 14 23:01:39 CST 2004

As an early adopter and full-time Ubuntu user on a HP nc4010 laptop, 
I've gathered some additional thoughts I wanted to share with the 
development community.

- Being a dual-head user, configuring the displays properly to actually 
extend the screen as opposed to simply mirroring it was a nightmare. 
Scott Remnant was kind enough to share with me his XF86Config; ideally, 
this would be solved in the future with an applet as opposed to a 
120-minute edit conf-restart X-retry sequence.

- In the same vein, the one thing I miss sorely are menu items, when 
right-clicking on any application's title bar, that say "Move to monitor 
1" and "Move to next monitor", etc. These already exist for workspaces - 
adding them for monitors would be very useful.

- I was happy to see discussion about out-of-the-box home directory 
encryption. Even if this is halted until we get a nice, 
dynamically-sizable solution ala FiST, one thing that could be made 
available immediately is "Empty trash securely" as an option, or even a 
default, for the Trash. I recently heard Simson Garfinkel [1] speak on 
his experiences with used hard drives. Apparently, after reporting his 
findings to Apple, Apple immediately implemented 'Secure empty trash'. 
We can probably do the same easily by using 'wipe' or a similar utility 
in the background when the menu item is called.

Combining a secure wipe utility with out of the box homedir encryption 
and some extra kernel security (read below) would add a great deal of 
value to Ubuntu particularly to laptop and corporate users, at virtually 
no cost.

- Staying on the topic of security, has any consideration been given to 
grsec ( Selective incorporation of parts of 
grsec into the Ubuntu kernel would make it much more secure by default 
(this can be done with essentially no userland breakage - only certain 
parts of the grsec patch would have to be disabled). SELinux is a mess, 
and should in my opinion by no means be available by default. With 
grsec, it's quite the opposite.

- Of very low importance, it would be neat if the 'change desktop 
background' applet was multimonitor aware, letting one pick a wallpaper 
for each individual monitor.

I will gladly elaborate on any of these if they're unclear.


[1] - very good read.

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