update-manager behaviour [was: Auto-launching of applications]

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at ubuntu.com
Fri Feb 20 12:21:13 GMT 2009

Bruce Cowan [2009-02-18 19:03 +0000]:
> update-manager is now set to auto-launch every 2 days. Even though I
> have disabled this, I think it is not the right thing to do.

That's in fact what I'm afraid of. An attempt to increase the
visibility of updates will have the very opposite effect and make
people disable it altogether, which is much worse!

I see a rationale for immediately opening it if security updates are
available, especially since there is an option for installing those by

But there is no urgency at all in installing bug fixes (*-updates).
The problem is that the window usually appears some minutes after
starting your computer and logging in, i. e. it's almost certain that
you started your day and have actual work to do. I never apply updates
at that time, since it is disruptive and also makes my computer slow,
and they also often require a session restart.

We should be *very* hesitant about auto-opening applications without
an user-triggered event (such as plugging in an USB device and
bringing up camera dialog or 3G connection setup), since they are IMHO
one of the most annoying things ever. Personally I don't consider the
availability of non-security package updates an urgent thing which
warrants interrupting the user's work.


 * Pop up update-manager automatically for security updates, and make
   it more obvious how to install them automatically.

 * Do not pop up u-m for non-security updates, and if possible, do not
   even show an indicator for it (a notification bubble would make me
   happy, though). Showing an indicator or not is certainly fodder for
   a long subjective bikeshedding discussion, I figure. :-)

If I want to install bug fix updates, I can easily go to System ->
Admin -> Update Manager at a time which is convenient to me.

I'd appreciate thoughts from our UI design experts on this. If I'm
just stubbornly used to old behaviour, and the new behaviour makes
sense in any objective way, I'm happy to be told so, but I'd like an
objective answer to above concerns.

Thanks a lot in advance!

Martin Pitt                        | http://www.piware.de
Ubuntu Developer (www.ubuntu.com)  | Debian Developer  (www.debian.org)
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