[ubuntu-studio-devel] Next cycle

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Thu Apr 13 23:38:28 UTC 2017

On Fri, 14 Apr 2017, eylul wrote:

> Len thanks for this. A lot of interesting thoughts here. Opinions, etc
> ahead. :)

I have tried to make sure that people know many tings I say here are 
either opinion or based on my very specific work flow.

>> Auto mounting - we used to make sure there was no auto mounting of USB

> Yes, it is best for design/art people to have automount (its already
> hard to bring design/art people to unfamiliar ground, more intuitive
> behavior, the better), turning it off could be a good addition to the
> -controls through if it is feasible? If not I think it is worth
> discussing pros and cons and more details on what the problem is. If it
> is seriously hindering audio creators, I'll take not hindering one side
> in price of being a bit less intuitive to other side.

Hmm, I looked at settings. It is possible to have a selection of panel 
(menubar) setups, or saved sessions. Neither seem to include totally 
different window manager settings. Also, I don't think desktop settings 
should be something we try and micro manage anyway. These are user 
preferences where we try to set sane defaults but the user sets them 
exact. Documentation of which desktop settings may be helpful to different 
workflows may be a better solution.

>> Auto updating - same as above. But to add to it, I noticed that
> considering autoupdates fixes security issues among other things I would
> go with they need to stay. In terms of the kernel issue, I do use efi, I
> never ran out of space in that manner until now, but still filing a bug
> about this could be useful?

Can you check how big and how full this is? how many kernels are in there?

>> whisker menu - I still hate it :) But if we are going to keep it (I
>> always go back to the system menu on my systems) can we at least
>> resize it so that the menu categories are all visible by default...

> My personal disagreement with this aside (I actually use the search bar
> to launch a program often) :D I would caution against hover in
> particular as it is a gesture that is inaccessible to touchscreens
> (which are becoming more and more common on laptops). I assume this is
> why whisker went with this approach actually.

I think my first point still stands. The user should be able to see all 
the categories without having to scroll down. The current whisker window 
size means System and the Ubuntu Studio submenu are not visible (maybe 
office too) The user adding new sw (a web page editor for example or wine) 
will add yet more categories. The point is, I was looking for system and 
couldn't find it. Also scroll bars as narrow as what we have are not easy 
to deal with on a tablet anyway.

>> Can we change the default theme to Moheli or similar? There are two
>> things I like in a theme:
>>     The window with focus stands out - menu bar is a different colour
>>     The border needs to be wide enough to be easy to grab
>> More than one workpace by default - I understand that I may work a bit

>> I understand that xubuntu is aimed at mainstream either browsing or
>> one other app fullscreen use and so the desktop we end up with
>> reflects that. As content creators, how do the rest of us set up their
>> desktops? Should changes be made? or am I really the odd one out?
> for me as an artists its usually only one, or two windows (e.g. drawing
> + reference image), and often 2 windows means 2 screens if possible. (at

Even with two large apps in two windows, I personally, would like to know 
at a glance which window is active (has focus).

Studio is not a mainstream distro, it is aimed at profesional use, it is 
really a development flow. The look may be "old fashioned" to some, but 
that is because "fashion" in DEs has followed use. In the 90s, computers 
were used to do work. They were designed for the office, either clerk or 
engineer, and the design reflects that. We have moved since then towards 
the computer as an entertainment centre where the screen may be the TV 
(only one window please with no border) or a tablet... I'm so small I 
can't afford to have anything but one app(let) at a time on my screen. 
However, Studio is not made for that use, it is made to get work done. We 
do not need a "beautiful desktop" (to quote one top Ubuntu head), we need 
a work horse with obvious marking where needed even if it makes things 
less pleasing to the eye. BTW I am not knocking Mark's statement about 
making a beautiful desktop. I think he knows his audience, lets know ours 

> window etc. :) Usually through if I have 20 windows up, it is because I
> have been getting distracted and doing 3 things at once (for which now I

Yes I often do three or four things at once... I have one workspace 
dedicated to conunication (like this and browsing). Then I have the main 
development workspace... but to run Ardour I need a full workspace. That 
makes two for one project. Then I often need to merge someone elses PR and 
it is nice to have space to do that without stopping everything I am 
doing. Working on -controls alone is probably a 5 window at least project 
so I can adjust things in in the gui editor, edit the file, look at code, 
have a file manager around and run the app. I often leave a terminal open 
just to run grep in...

> aspect is not critical for me in either direction but hard to grab
> borders are an issue regardless of how many windows one work with tbh.
> (I have been using my own window styling in XFCE for a while now so I
> didn't realize this was still a problem) TLDR, wouldn't oppose switching
> themes if it will improve usability.

I think we just ran out of time on that. With the work spaces, where we 
have in the past had 4, I would suggest just two. My reason is that this 
forces us to put a workspace switcher in the panel so that those who need 
them don't have to figure out how to do that. If they right click on the 
workspace switcher they have instant access to the workspace settings 

> I am going to side track here, and say, combined with the previous
> point, it might be a good idea for us to discuss how EXACTLY we use our
> desktop and share experiences at some point and even reach out to our
> users if we get the chance. That way we can hopefully find out what are
> bottlenecks for a lot of people in terms of efficiency and what are
> diverging personal choices. :)

Right, that is partly why I have explained my particular needs and asked 
if I make sense. Because I know I don't do things like everyone.

>> Also in the world of themes. Are there any high DPI or better variable
>> DPI centric themes available? While I do not use a high DPI monitor

> I have been using a laptop with HiDPI screen for past few months and I
> had to quit XFCE altogether, icons and themes aren't the only problem,
> app scaling is also an issue and while some desktop environments are
> better than others about this, none that I have seen has full support of
> HiDPI, so this is somewhat of a difficult problem to solve. That being


> said, a theme that doesn't require a magnifier to see the icons would
> still be a nice step forward through :)

I would have to try such a monitor, but I can set different icon sizes at 
least in the panel and menu... text is harder.

>> I am thinking of a left monitor BG that is complete in itself for
>> single monitor users. Then a second BG that looks like an extension of
>> the left but with no logo etc. It may even seem blank or just continue

> this is something I can help with on design/art side (not that it
> excludes anybody else from doing the same), :) its certainly more in my
> area of focus than trying to learn packaging or do backend development
> and have been already thinking on some background ideas. :D I like the
> idea of an extended monitor layout.

Good. Yes we all change our BG pretty soon after install, but a good look 
for the live session would be nice. I notice that it defaults to side by 
side now (nice) rather than mirror.

>> -controls

> possibly silly question, would this still allow a change of settings
> when it is needful to record the pulseaudio output? because it would be
> nice to not lose that option?

Pulse will still be there and usable. It should be possible to record to 
or from a pulse app if desired

> in terms of controls, I'd like us to have time to take a very critical
> look at the UI once you are done with the features, so that it is

Yup, I agree.

Len Ovens

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