Re: [Utopia] Roadmap to Utopia

On Thu, 2004-04-22 at 00:07, John (J5) Palmieri wrote:
> >  1. How is installed hardware discovered by users? How is it used?
> >     And how does the user tweak settings on hardware, if at all
> >     deemed a good thing?
> A couple of options here that I can think of:  
> * the classic icon on the desktop
> * have a special v-folder called "Devices"
> * Have the notification applet actually be useful and display icons for
> the state of plugged in devices.  This can be used alone or in
> conjunction with the above two.

Yeah, I think a smooth combination of these three along with the
file-selector and a hal-device-manager like applications is key.

Another important thing is eye-candy. No, seriously - I think most
people enjoy eyecandy. To elaborate, I mean having precise icons, like a
picture of a memory stick or CF card for the device instead of a boring
grey drive-icon.

> >     For an example of tweaking hardware settings, consider storage
> >     devices; one popular OS allows the user to specify whether
> >     the OS should use write-caching or not - this is a trade off 
> >     between performance (faster writes) or usability/convenience (user
> >     can yank out the device without clicking a button on the desktop)
> I thought Gnome was about not giving the user these options.  Hardware
> should just work.  For the 1% who cares we can provide a "power tools"
> collection of apps without worrying about integration.  In your example
> I would like to just say fixed devices get performance boosts and
> removable media opts for safety.
> Some options may lie in a more gray area.  I think that needs to be
> decided on a device class basis.

Right - this could be tweaked in a hal-device-manager like application.

> >  2. What happens during insertion of new hardware? Does it 'just work'?
> >     If it needs to be configured, how does this happen? What if the user
> >     inserts the hardware when GNOME is not running and it needs to be
> >     configured? How is the user notified, if at all?
> If at all possible it should just work.  This would solve the whole
> GNOME running/not running issue.  However this is not a perfect world so
> not all devices can just work.  In general does the user need to be
> notified?  Depends on the hardware in my view.  If I plugged in an ipod
> I pretty much know I plugged it in.  If it doesn't show up where I
> expected it to then I assume something went wrong (e.g. other end isn't
> plugged in, wire broken, etc.).  Of course having the notification
> applet here would be nice because the user can see that the device has
> indeed been plugged in and if it has been detected and configured
> properly (through the state of the icon).  

Maybe it's just me, but I feel comfort and more secure when I see that
the computer says "Yeah pal, your device XYZ is configured and ready for
use" - maybe I just need to trust computers more :-)

This can be achieved with subtle hints like the glowing icon Robert
mentioned and a simple tooltip that times out.

> Notification when not in GNOME might just be a console beep which I
> believe the hotplug stuff does when you plug in a pcmcia card.  It would
> be quite annoying if I were typing a command to use the device and a
> message flew up on the console.  

What I was thinking was really along this use case: I turn off my PC and
plug in a PCI-based TV receiver card and subsequently reboot my
computer. This device needs to be configured with user input like tuner
model, frequency range etc - stuff the system cannot figure out itself -

Now, when is this done? During the boot process (OS-level e.g. kudzu),
when a user logs in (GNOME-level) or when an application needs to use
the device (app-level)? The smoothest experience IMO is when the user
logs in, e.g. GNOME-level.

Even if the device doesn't require manual intervention a subtle hint
(like the comfort-section above) can be given.

> >  6. Corner cases; what happens when there is no driver for a device?
> >                   etc etc etc.
> It is hard to say how this will all work.  A device database of sorts? 
> Corner cases will most likely have to be delt with when they come up and
> after we have the common case working somewhat well.

Right - Windows for instance put up an, annoying at times I might add,
dialog box to search for drivers etc. Mac OS X doesn't really do

I think that with HAL we will be able to easily detect if a device
doesn't have a driver (user- or kernel-space) attached and put up a
dialog box up either asking the user what she just plugged in or find a
driver, device information file or something.

Another interesting point is that usb-storage based cameras and
usb-storage based mp3 players are normally just detected as storage
devices. The thinking was to use device information files (.fdi-files)
to correctly identify these devices (so the computer:/// can show a
camera or music-player icon instead etc.) - but of course we can't match
all devices. We should probably in a hal-device-manager like application
allow the power user to manually tweak such settings. Maybe...


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