[Nautilus-list] GNOME user environment brainstorming

(I'm not normally on this list, but I happened to notice this message
while walking through the archives. I'd like to say, though, that if
this's the general quality of nautilus-list messages, I'll be
subscribing to it soon. :)


>A problem with the current desktop is that there's no clear "center" to
>it where you can find important information such as the control
>center, help browser, etc. We work around this a bit by adding
>shortcuts to the panel, but other than that you have to dive in to the
>forbidding and totally unusable Programs menu. If you change your
>panel icons, suddenly you can't find important stuff.
>The general picture of the desktop we have in mind is:

I agree that this central start area is pretty good. Also, the start
area might also fit on the "Menu Panel", which I've taken a liking to,
and which I feel could be pretty useful with some work. I feel this
would be ESPECIALLY true if there could be a global "Favorites" menu
that could combine program favorites, Nautilus favorites, Galeon
favorites, NS+Moz favorites, etc.

> - non-dotfile Home directory is where documents and user data are
>   stored. You don't really need a My Documents, since Home is for
>   that purpose.

> - desktop is for:
>    - user shortcuts to programs, etc.
>    - showing removable devices
>    - Trash, Home, Start Here icons

Hrm. I think the desktop is a terrible places to keep program icons,
given the panel. Why? Because windows cover my desktop! It's hard to get
to the desktop, which is the lowest level, when I've got a few windows

> - panel is for navigation of tasks/desktop, and for info applets such
>   as clock, etc. It also has the foot menu, which probably needs some 
>   rethinking on what it contains.

I think the panel is a great place for program shortcuts, as well. the
panel is on top, flush to the edge, and is independant of the
no-desktop/Nautilus/GMC choice.

>There's some possible confusion about shortcut buttons on panel vs. on
>desktop, especially since panel icons require single-click, desktop

This's an issue I'm concerned about, as well. IMO, the panel and the
desktop should behave quite similarly when it comes to shortcuts.

>Random appearance tweaks we were playing with
>- Remove the beveled frame from Clock applet

I suppose

>- Remove the arrow next to the Desk Guide (already configurable)

It's hard to get to the configuration menu if you do that, but yes.

>- Remove hide/show arrows on panel

Sure, the space saved by hiding the panels are minimal, anyhow.

>- Nautilus mini-icon in task list looks like a cheese puff; fix it


>- GNOME theme in Nautilus by default

you mean icons? Then yes, but I think some of the GNOME icons could use
a redraw.

>- GNOME theme in Mozilla by default

Sounds cool, but Galeon would be better, because Mozilla can't integrate
with GNOME. ;)

>- Remove bevels from desk guide, use a more "flat" appearance

I think that would be visually confusing.

>Possible panel/applet enhancements
>- fix configuration/preferences; extremely confusing right now.  All
>  settings should probably be do-able via dialogs, rather than menus.
>  Lots of usability enhancements come to mind for simplifying panel
>  config, just needs some good thought.


>- foot menu rationalization:
>    - probably remove Applets, KDE menus, and Panel submenus here at

Don't remove the KDE menus, IMO, because there's no other good way to
get to those programs, if you use them.

>    - s/Run.../Run Program.../


>    - make either Programs or Favorites be in the main menu instead 
>      of a submenu, probably Favorites is right for that
>    - add Start Here menu item to open Start Here


>- with Panel submenu removed from main menu, the right-click menu on
>  the panel should contain Properties... for customizing the panel,
>  right now the right-click matches the foot menu, I don't think
>  that's right - right-click is supposed to be a context menu.

I'm so sure this used to be the case, but I just tried it now and it
worked as you described... I have no idea when this changed.

>- make Run Program dialog have a browser CList that shows all known
>  programs, with icons if any, and ability to sort by executable name, 
>  human-readable name, by clicking headers. Probably not a tree, just
>  an alphabetic list.

Hrm... I think I agree, but only if there isn't a speed penalty. If this
would mean it takes 15 seconds to pop up the run dialog, then I'm
against it.

>- have check button in Run Program dialog for "Add to Favorites"?
>  So when you run the program you can then add it to the panel menu.
>  (In general, making Run Program... into a useful thing for all
>   users, rather than a mysterious hacker feature as it is on Windows)

Hmmm... yes

>- Kill task menu on desk guide, the menu is confusing and the arrow is 
>  cluttered-looking


>- fix the default clock; remove the bevel so it isn't ugly, remove
>  all "Copy to selection..." menu items and replace with just "Copy" 
>  which copies to clipboard, show UNIX time features only in Advanced
>  user level

I like the bevel, but I'm using the panel clock right now anyhow. Side
note: I'd appreciate if the panel clock worked in the same way as the
regular GNOME clock.

>- delete all the non-default clock applets

Errrr.......... yes

>- Remove or configurably remove folder heading things from Programs
>  menu, based on Calum's usability test

? I don't understand.

>- Programs menu hierarchy and program names need a lot of help, George 
>  is working on making this easier to tweak

Yes! What annoys me especially is that I don't have permission to edit
the program menu, unless I am root (unless this was recently fixed).

>- Desk guide: allow dragging windows between desktops, show tooltips
>  identifying the window you're hovering over.

I can currently drag windows using the middle mouse button, which I
think works well. I agree with the tooltips idea, maybe even fill in the
icon for the program, if possible.

>My Identity
>- have control panel in user prefs folder to do "chfn" sort of stuff:
>   - give your full name
>   - give your phone number, office, address, etc.
>   - lets you set your GDM face (right now we have a separate tool for
>     this, should maybe be in a general "Identity" control panel)


>- On desktop, perhaps show "Havoc Pennington's Home" instead of 
>  "hp's Home"

Yes, except make sure that whereever else this's used, it doesn't
stretch out the view.

>- For user prefs folder, use full name also, "Havoc Pennington's
>  Preferences"

May as well

>Default prefs
>- disable tearoff menus by default


>- disable tearoff menubars by default


>- disable in-place menu accelerator changing by default

I think I'd prefer teaching the user some way to do this, rather than
just hiding it.

>- Start Here folder replacing ~/Nautilus; maybe implemented as
>  ~/Nautilus, or maybe it should be implemented as special start:
>  URI, don't know

Start Here should replace ~/Nautilus, I agree.

>- Turn off text for toolbar icons by default?

Huh? No! The icons aren't always recognizable to the user, and they
won't always want to use tooltips. Plus, the current icons are tiny and
are small targets, the text helps to make then into large targets.

>- Throbber in GNOME theme is making the toolbar a lot bigger 
>  if text is off, consider shrinking throbber (or removing it 
>  for efficiency/clutter reasons even)

I suppose.

>- Downplay web browser aspect; Mozilla/Galeon encouraged for real
>  browsing. (Alternative: follow Galeon and try to be a full web
>  browser, but seems like it would cause a lot of clutter.)


>- Revive RPM view

I don't know exactly what this refers to, but if this lets me easily
install RPMs from in Nautilus, then yes.

>- Add support for the System Settings, User Preferences, Programs,
>  etc. folders in Start Here; these are maybe gnome-vfs modules, dunno

Hmmm... lots more work needs to be done before this's a good
suggestions. Implementing this before it's ready will cause it to be
really flat.

>- Possible side panel with Favorites, displaying the same Favorites
>  as the panel and in the Start Here "Favorites" folder?

Errrr... yes, but I worry that this decreases the intuitiveness of the
sidebar in general (News and help sidebars do the same thing, IMO). The
sidebar should be relevant to what's in the neighboring view. If there
were some sort of "Screen sidebar" or similar GNOME contraption, then I
think this favorites panel would be great!

>These would all be converted to standalone dialogs, rather than
>sitting in a control center. They'd be launched from the various
>folders in Start Here.

I don't agree. While I agree they should be detachable, I think forcing
them to detach ruins the "grouping" aspect of the gnomecc.

>General theme of needed changes: capplets should not reflect the
>implementation technology. Should not have Sawfish capplet, Themes
>capplet, etc. Should first decide what prefs dialogs to have, then
>have dialog interact with necessary technology to implement the
>dialog. This is made far, far easier through the use of GConf.
>Also, probably the Try/Revert/Apply complication can be removed 
>in the process. And the tree hierarchy can also go away, since we just
>have a flat folder containing User Preferences.


>Other theme of course is that we can use user level to change what's
>in the dialogs, or even which dialogs appear.
>- Theme Selector is revealed by Calum's testing to be a bad name;
>  change to "Colors & Fonts" or "Appearance." Have it 
>  transparently handle Sawfish theme as well. Do lots of user testing
>  to get this dialog right.


>- Panel capplet should have far fewer options in Beginner level

Hmm... yes.

>- Panel capplet should let you do things such as add applets, etc.
>  and do the non-global prefs (may require a little "pick the panel 
>  to edit" widget, or a drag-and-drop approach)

I think I like this idea, but I need more explaination, possible
pictures, about how you think this should be inplemented.

>- Window Manager capplet is for advanced user level, other users
>  should be locked into Sawfish


>- Default Editor capplet should just die; redundant with text/plain
>  MIME type handler

Is it? If so, I agree.

>- URL handlers - should die, replaced by File Types


>- Look and Feel - needs lots of enhancement to e.g. show previews of
>  what the settings mean. Probably should be comprehensively reworked
>  in light of GTK 2 xsettings and the Colors & Fonts dialog.


>- Sound - "sound server startup" option is advanced


>- Sawfish - needs rationalizing/integrating, so users don't need to 
>  know what "Sawfish window manager" is, and so e.g. there aren't
>  two places to configure things like Sound, Fonts, etc.

Sure, just remember to keep this "seperatable" for Advnaced users.

>- all capplets: user testing and enhancement to make them really easy
>We need a list of what capplets make sense for User Preferences and
>for System Settings.

System settings should be/might be/is what Ximian Setup Tools is for,

>- destroy gnome-help-browser, use Mozilla/Nautilus/something always

The only problem is that Mozzie and Naut are very slow to start up, the
last thing I want when I need help.

>- unlock screen dialog from xscreensaver is ugly and doesn't look 
>  integrated, and the entry won't be accessible, use the standard
>  key shortcuts, etc. So we need a GTK-ized xscreensaver unlock dialog.
>  This will get jwz flaming left and right, and requires some
>  nontrivial engineering due to suid issues, but such is life.

I agree for consistancy's, but I must admit I kinda like that screen.

>- make the Print Screen key take a screenshot

When "Print Screen" doesn't print the screen always befuddled me.  I
don't screenshotting ever made sense. It's not like we can put a tooltip
on the printscreen button, either.

>- help system 

Yes! Lots of troubleshooting stuff is something GNOME definitely needs.

>- get session management to work really really well and have a nice UI
  for it

>I think great session management could be a number one feature for any
>desktop environment. Too too much to expand here, if I see another
>thread about it somewhere on the GNOME lists, though, I'll be sure to
>post my thoughts.

>- GConf editor tool, with pervasive GConf use (with schemas!) 
>  so the editor is useful

Um, I don't really know how GConf works, but I think relying on a GConf
editor tool might make us lazy in creating user friendly preference
editors. Not a bad advanced tool, though.

>... enough for today ;-)

Thank the Lord! I'd be late for class if I posted any longer. :D By the
way, I made what IMO is a pretty cool (if a little mean to Eazelites)
post about integrating Nautilus with the rest of GNOME:



If you don't mind me asking, what nationality is Havoc? I'm very sorry
but I've wondered this for a long time, and being an X-Men/X-Force fan
and not knowing where the name comes from, I always think of the comic


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