Lessons from XP

Daniel Stone daniel.stone at canonical.com
Thu Oct 7 06:23:50 CDT 2004

On Thu, Oct 07, 2004 at 01:12:12PM +0200, Erik B?gfors wrote:
> On Thu, 7 Oct 2004 02:19:23 -0700, Daniel Stone
> <daniel.stone at canonical.com> wrote:
> > Firstly, their installer is, visually, very nice; the total antithesis
> > to Anaconda.  The screen was very sparse and uncluttered, and I very
> > much appreciated being able to immediately spot what I needed to do.  Of
> > course, telling it whether I had a static/dynamic IP/DNS wasn't terribly
> > intuitive (and defaulted to static!), but that aside, the install
> > process wasn't too bad.  There was an incredibly annoying background
> > sound, so the first button I ever pressed after power was mute.
> > Multimedia keyboards do, it seems, have a use after all.
> You have to realize that XP is already pre-installed on IBM boxes. 
> All you go through is a short setup thingy and not an actuall install
> of the entire OS. That's quite some difference.

Yes, but my comments were on the style of the 'installer': very
minimalist style which draws attention to the items which need user
action (as opposed to having columns of text everywhere), and the music
was annoying as hell.  Installer or not, it's the first thing of Windows
XP you see.

> > However, there was one thing I did like about their networking: roaming
> > profiles.  I've been messing with the idea for a while, and got a
> > half-arsed Python script together a while ago that I've since lots.
> > Simply put, you tell it where you are, and you can specify everything
> > there: the wireless network to stick to, proxy/VPN settings, IPs, DNS,
> > everything.  As someone who requires a proxy at uni (and it can be one
> > of three, depending on where at uni I am; but they all require SSH
> > ProxyCommand loving and some tunnels), and sometimes SSH ProxyCommand
> > love, this feature was massively appreciated.  Sort of like OS X, except
> > a little more extensive, I suspect.
> > 
> > I would kill for this feature.
> Good because I agree
> Have any of you tried SuSE? It has a killer thing for this named SCPM.
>  I absolutely love and NEED this feature.  I wrote a mail to
> ubuntu-devel about it but it recived no answers.  You can check that
> mail here http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2004-September/000166.html

I tried SuSE, and I didn't like the visual style of YaST or any of its
configuration tools; the complete antithesis of everything that I've
liked so far in XP.  The visual style is far too cluttered -- from
popping up tens of thousands of windows, to having every window that is
popped up incredibly cluttered with buttons and options -- and I just
don't like it.  I struggled to do network configuration in SuSE.

> This program has a few very good ideas,
> 1) It works with the config files that already exists, which means you
> can use whatever config tool you like, or simply edit the files by
> hand if you like

Right -- this is the only plausible solution.

> 2) You can select exactly what resources you want to include in the
> profile management. You can have different network settings, ntp
> settings, X settings, apache settings (which may just be on or off), 
> firewall settings and so on.

Having a 'leave this one to fate' (i.e. don't mangle it) option would be
very good.

> 3) You can boot directly into a certain profile from grub

While this is very nice, I do believe that the consensus was that GRUB
should not be shown; I don't think there is any right answer to
selecting network profiles, as popping up a dialog box at boot (a la
laptop-net) isn't that great either.

> 4) It has a nice simple to use GUI.

See above.

> I started to try and port it but it is a big c++ crap thing and I
> thought that it would be a lot simpler to rewrite it into perl (or
> python) and started to do that.  It's almost done, nr 3 and 4 is still
> to do, and lot's of resource configuration of course.

Ubuntu's philosophy is Python everywhere, yes.

> I'm doing it totally in ubuntu and am willing to let other people try
> it as soon as possible.  I'm also willing to delete the whole thing
> and join anyone creating a new one.

Sounds good.  Do you have any sources anyone can look at?

Daniel Stone                                        <daniel.stone at canonical.com>
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