Menus revisited

Matthew Garrett mjg59 at
Wed Jan 11 18:05:22 GMT 2006

Note: This is not a thread about sensible defaults, or what the defaults 
should be. It's not about what settings you prefer. It's not a "Ubuntu 
is killing children by removing features" discussion. If you want to 
discuss any of these things, please do so elsewhere. If you do so here 
/anyway/, I'll be very upset at you.


1) The "Window behaviour" preference application has vanished from the 
menus by default. Most users probably don't care, but the users that 
/do/ care are the ones that write nice things about us online and write 
nice applications for us to use. Yes, they can run it from "run 
applications" or whatever, but it's an important group of people for us. 
We can't afford to be obviously worse than Fedora or Novell in that 
market, or we lose.

2) The "Session" preference application is in the menu, despite the fact 
that the only things it's good for are (a) saving a session, (b) 
removing broken things from a session or (c) starting non-session aware 
applications at login time.

(a) is an issue because we removed the tickbox from the logout dialog. 
It's also the strongest argument in favour of keeping the preferences. 
I'd argue that this suggests we should put the tickbox back and get rid 
of the preferences.

(b) can be done from the commandline, and it's a corner case. "We need 
this menu item to deal with other people's bugs" isn't a good argument.

(c) is a reasonable argument, except the session preferences make it 
awkward and nasty to do anyway. The Windows startup folder thing is much 
easier here, and I'd suggest that we implement something like that 

3) Preferred applications should only be there if the user has actually 
got more than one choice. By default, I don't think they have.

4) "Menus and toolbars? Come on.

5) Why is "Desktop background" not part of "Themes"?

6) Why is most of "Removable drives and media" not part of "Preferred 

("Automatically run a program when a USB mouse is connected"? Come on. 
This isn't stuff that should be user configurable, it should just work. 
It certainly shouldn't be under "Removable drives and media". Almost all 
of this preferences dialog contains impenetrable jargon for most users, 
and I think there's a much stronger argument for making this go away)

7) "Fonts" should arguably be part of "Theme" as well (which should 
really be a global "Appearance" thing)

These may not all be achievable for Dapper, but can we at least have the 
window preferences back? Please?

(If you're going to reply to this and say "Yes, please give the window 
preferences back", then please take it as read)

Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at

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