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Shuttleworth Proposes Overhaul of Desktop Notifications 306

Posted by timothy
from the activated-but-not-in-use dept.
Thelasko writes "Mark Shuttleworth is considering a controversial overhaul to the way Ubuntu manages notifications." I'm not thrilled with all of the changes proposed, which would mostly value simplicity over confusion at the expense of flexibility and permanence. But anything that would make more people read over and specifically approve the wording of error messages and other notifications is a good thing.
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Shuttleworth Proposes Overhaul of Desktop Notifications

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:48PM (#26212689)
    Can't I just dump a stack trace to stderr and be done with it?
  • KDE 4 anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:49PM (#26212709) Homepage

    This looks to me almost exactly the same way KDE 4 notifications work. Just a slight change in the bubble look.

    • Re:KDE 4 anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ndansmith (582590) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:54PM (#26212765)

      It also looks almost exactly like Growl [growl.info] for OS X.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Except with Growl the user can dismiss the notification, and (if specified) use the notification to go to the program/document that issued it.

    • Re:KDE 4 anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 3vi1 (544505) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:29PM (#26213271) Homepage Journal

      You're right. I'm running Kubuntu 9.04a2 right now, and this is how notifications are done - right down to the colors.

      I'm not saying it's a bad thing to add them to Gnome - it would probably even help when running KDE apps under Gnome and vice/versa as long as they have a standardized API.

      HOPEfully, Shuttleworth recognizes that this is *not* new and can make it play nice with KDE instead of having his guys create a completely different standard.

      • Re:KDE 4 anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

        by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @02:46PM (#26214297) Homepage Journal

        HOPEfully, Shuttleworth recognizes that this is *not* new and can make it play nice with KDE instead of having his guys create a completely different standard.

        In the article, Shuttleworth says they're working with KDE.

        • by vigour (846429) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @06:43PM (#26217133)

          HOPEfully, Shuttleworth recognizes that this is *not* new and can make it play nice with KDE instead of having his guys create a completely different standard.

          In the article, Shuttleworth says they're working with KDE.

          What? you actually RTF? I thought people stopped doing that here around 2004?

        • Re:KDE 4 anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by djcapelis (587616) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @09:07PM (#26218465) Homepage

          > In the article, Shuttleworth says they're working with KDE.

          Unfortunately their track record of actually doing this is very bad.

          So I expect them to do what they always do, which is notice a problem that exists in GNOME that KDE has had a sensible solution to for quite some time and then propose a GNOME-centric standard like libnotify (which is what they're doing) and encourage it's use everywhere. What's more annoying is that the solution they end up implementing often ends up being worse than what existed in KDE. Sometimes KDE then ends up adopting the now dominant cross-platform standard and has to do various tools to work around the braindamage that's been caused.

          (For instance, see how qdbus is the only thing that makes using dbus actually bearable because it basically provides a dcop like interface to dbus.)

          It is, to say the least, frustrating.

  • confiuration (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered@hotmai l . com> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:54PM (#26212771) Journal

    a little off topic, but some configuration tools would be nice. You know for the general public. until ubuntu can do that it's going to be no where near desktop ready for most people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nursie (632944)

      Umm, what are you having trouble with? Which bit is missing for you? (genuine question)

      Gnome on Ubuntu has a whole load of stuff accessible from the System menu. The only time I touch the text files at the back is when I'm experimenting with them. For ordinary users there already are a set of admin guis that are pretty consistent and powerful.

      • Re:confiuration (Score:4, Interesting)

        by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:15PM (#26213063)

        I've had a pain in the ass time doing dual monitors. Not to mention, one of my monitors can pivot (rotate) 90 degrees.. (its nice to see 2 whole pages of text when your typing on a "long screen", instead of a widescreen) but last time I looked, there is no easy way to adjust that either..

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:18PM (#26213113)

          No wonder you have a pain in your ass! Most people have a hard time shoving one monitor up there, never mind two! And then rotating it? You're hardcore.

        • Re:confiuration (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:27PM (#26213251)

          Dual monitor config can be a pain, it's true.

          The nvidia-settings app (which should be available from the systems menu) is the easiest way I've found to do this on nvidia systems. On intel chips I've had trouble too. If you want different resolutions on each you can be in for even more pain.

          Changing res without needing to restart X has definitely got better, but I'm not sure how you'd go about autodetecting and switching screen orientation on a screen like that.

          Agreed, this area needs work.

          • by PitaBred (632671)

            Thirded. That said, I have a custom ACPI script for my T61 that I use for the screen event that lets me do all kinds of nifty stuff with my Intel X3100 and xrandr, just using an xdialog prompt to select presentation or multi-monitor modes and such. Gotta make sure that there's a large enough virtual size, and force allocate more video memory, but it works alright.

        • Re:confiuration (Score:4, Informative)

          by windsurfer619 (958212) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:28PM (#26213261)

          Maybe you haven't used the latest version of Ubuntu, but Intrepid has got a very nice set up for configuring monitors. There's a rotation drop-down menu that lets you chose any orientation, and each monitor is labeled and freely positionable. It also gives you the option to mirror the screens if you want.

        • I've had a pain in the ass time doing dual monitors. Not to mention, one of my monitors can pivot (rotate) 90 degrees.. (its nice to see 2 whole pages of text when your typing on a "long screen", instead of a widescreen) but last time I looked, there is no easy way to adjust that either..

          For what it's worth, both 2nd monitor and rotation are easy GUI options in KDE. I haven't used Gnome in many years...

          Plugged a new monitor into my laptop and it just works.

        • by tylerni7 (944579)
          I know a lot of you are saying that the GUI tool works for multiple monitors on Ubuntu... but I'm guessing you haven't tried it, or at least not much.
          I currently have 3 monitors, all different sizes, and one of them rotated, each as an independent X screen. The automatic configurations can't come close to figuring that out.
          Two monitors on one graphics card can be set up, but all of the things I have tried doing just mess up configuration file.

          However, the OP said for ordinary users, there are GUIs to
          • Re:confiuration (Score:4, Insightful)

            by blincoln (592401) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @04:03PM (#26215397) Homepage Journal

            Also, it takes a bit of reading documentation, but editing the xorg.conf file by hand isn't that hard

            It's not editing it that's hard. It's figuring out what to put in it. Especially if it's broken your GUI so you can't use a web browser to search for the arcane settings that your monitor requires. No, lynx doesn't count.

            What surprises me is that there doesn't seem to be a utility/online database of various monitors and their specs. If the autodetection doesn't work, you're basically on your own and have to track down the horizontal sync and vertical refresh rate ranges, which is stupid.

    • I've been using Ubuntu for a year or so. Never edited a config file by hand (exept for /etc/hosts, but that was before I saw the gui for it). Some configuration stuff is not where I first went looking for it, but it all seems to be there.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mweather (1089505)
      That's not Ubuntu's job, it's Gnome's. Try KDE if you want more configuration tools.
  • lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sveard (1076275) * on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:55PM (#26212787) Homepage

    So the entire summary is Thelasko's opinion , with a one sentence description that links to shuttleworth's blog? Perhaps a true summary of proposed changes in Ubuntu desktop notifications would have been more informative.

    • Re:lame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @02:00PM (#26213689) Journal

      So the entire summary is Thelasko's opinion , with a one sentence description that links to shuttleworth's blog? Perhaps a true summary of proposed changes in Ubuntu desktop notifications would have been more informative.

      Well after years of posting long winded descriptions and never getting published, I started posting one sentence summaries. Of course, Murphy had to show up with his stupid law...

      Anyway, I originally found the bit about this being controversial here. [lifehacker.com] I decided to go straight to the source and post from Shuttleworth's blog, rather than a third party's.

      • by fm6 (162816)

        "Long winded" and "single sentence" are not your only choices. You'll notice that submissions are much longer than this one. One-sentence summaries are good, but a little additional explanation is helpful.

        If your prose makes people's eyes glaze over, it's probably not the word count as such, but the content-to-word ratio. Try working on that.

  • In favour (Score:5, Insightful)

    by invisiblerhino (1224028) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @12:58PM (#26212821)
    I like it. Maybe I'm alone here, but note in the article that Shuttleworth says that some notifications are important and should be treated differently (as "persistent panel indicators") - but there's no reason why you should have to click on "Wifi stopped working" and "Wifi started working", hence distracting you from what you're doing. Exploring new ideas is more important than whether they're good or bad, especially four months ahead of release.
    • With several or even dozens of components and programs all popping up notices about ephemeral events, the modern desktop can be a total mess, and really distracting. Anything that would put all the various notices into a single stream would be good. In general I agree that there should be no controls on the notification buttons, in general. Maybe there should be a way to click on it and it goes away. I mean, what if the notification is an IM from your lover "hey sweetie, meet at the usual spot at 5:30" and
      • Re:In favour (Score:5, Insightful)

        by uhmmmm (512629) <uhmmmmNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:25PM (#26213213) Homepage

        If you're concerned about your IMs being displayed as a notification, there's a reason there's an option to turn those off. They default to off in Pidgin, last I checked too.

        I disagree about not being able to interact with notifications. It's one feature I use all the time with Pidgin. It pops up a notification when a contact signs on, and the notification includes a button to open a conversation with them. Perfect for those times that the notification reminds me that I had wanted to talk to this person for some reason. The button it completely relevant to the message, and avoids a fair amount of work in figuring out where I put the buddy list window and digging through a lot of contacts to find the one that just happened to sign on.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fudoniten (918077)
          Yes, but, as he says in the blog, that could be handled differently.

          When I have notifications on in Pidgin, I have to disable most of them. Otherwise, people signing on, signing off, messaging me, etc, generate almost constant dings and pop-ups. I especially like the semi-transparent click-through-ability of the notifications on display. I hate it when I'm about to click 'close' (or on another desktop), and a popup appears at the last second, causing something entirely unexpected to occur.

          I'm in favo

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by somersault (912633)

        Maybe there should be a way to click on it and it goes away. I mean, what if the notification is an IM from your lover "hey sweetie, meet at the usual spot at 5:30" and your spouse walks in the room?

        Then perhaps you should disable desktop notifications in the preferences for VirtuaGirlfriend, or keep your mechanised Real Doll chained to the bed?

    • Yeah this kind of crap and lack of multiple desktops were the two main reasons I left Windows a few years ago. I later found Microsoft's TweakUI that lets you disable those stupid balloons that, in windows at least, never say anything useful ever, and another Microsoft addon that lets you do multiple desktops.

      As much as I am a linux fanboi, windows can be decently usable once you mod it to hell but I prefer the out of box experience of linux, 'cause frankly I think like the nerds who build it so it tends to

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jackb_guppy (204733)

      Use other system designs to help.

      Each message needs an importance. Say 0 to 100. 100 being really important. Let user pick how important to care about. BUT ALWAYS LOG THEM. Real important will show up and be clicked on to go ahead. Un-important will just be in the log.

      Don't place stupid things to "fly by".

  • Users read? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:03PM (#26212903) Homepage Journal
    But anything that would make more people read over and specifically approve the wording of error messages and other notifications is a good thing.

    People can't follow written instructions when dumbed down so far that a six year old can follow. What makes you think people would read what an update to an OS does?

    Case in point. We sent an email to everyone in our organization, including consultants, on Thursday afternoon (1:41 PM to be exact) specifically telling people to restart their machines, not turn them off, so Microsoft's critical update could be applied. We also told them in the same email that this procedure should be followed until further notice. Here is the relevant part:

    Microsoft has issued a critical security patch that corrects a vulnerability problem with Internet Explorer. Tonight, the Client Support group will start applying the patch to all desktops/laptops within the agency. Therefore, we are requiring that all users follow the recommended procedure of daily restarting workstations. Upon a successful restart of your workstation you will be at the Windows sign-on screen.

    Perform these steps before you leave each day.
    1) Close all open applications as you normally would.
    2) Click Start button\icon on the task bar at the bottom of your screen
    3) Select Shutdown from the available list of items
    4) Select Restart from the list of values - This is important - you must select "RESTART"
    5) Click OK - Your PC will reboot itself to the Welcome to Windows sign-on screen - from there we can apply the corrective solution


    On Monday, when I checked a log file, there were roughly 30 machines in my building alone that were turned off on Friday night rather than restarted. There were others in the field who had done the same thing.

    We know they restarted their machine on Thursday night as requested so for them to have their machines off would mean they had to physically change the value from Restart to Shutdown, completely ignoring the email that was sent to them 24 hours before.

    Only those who truly want to know what is going on will take the time to review updates. The rest will just click a button or not bother reading what is put in front of them.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      I took the statement - "anything that would make more people read over and specifically approve the wording of error messages and other notifications is a good thing" - to refer to distro quality control (akin to code reviews for error messages), rather than anything about end users. End users will not disrupt their work for computer maintainence until it is necessary for them to get something done.
    • by gQuigs (913879)

      And waste all that power over a weekend! Plus, your instructions are confusing :P. No really, I had to read them twice.

      Also, why can't they just logoff?

      • Re:Users read? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:30PM (#26213295) Homepage Journal
        Also, why can't they just logoff?

        They could log off at night but since these are Windows machines, updates and patches don't get applied until a machine restarts. The SMS package, as far as I know, doesn't force a restart after updates are applied.

        By having people restart every night it also prevents them from staying logged in so long that their password expires and then having them call the helpdesk to complain they can't get into anything. Two weeks before their password expires, they get a notification screen reminding when they do Ctrl-Alt-Del. If they never logged out, they would never know to change their password because they would never get the notification.
        • Re:Users read? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gQuigs (913879) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:44PM (#26213459) Homepage

          That's hilarious :).
          One of the reasons you make them restart is because the notification system just isn't good enough.

          BTW, I know I've seen Windows force restarts before.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IceCreamGuy (904648)
          Hah! I have the same problem. I actually have a Splunk search saved that I check every morning telling me if anyone's operating with an expired password. I call them up and usually ask "Have you noticed that you haven't been able to print anything for 24 hours? That you haven't been able to access any of the shares? No? Well, anyways, please logoff and log on again, Thanks!" People really would go for weeks without logging off, not being able to print or access network data and just not tell anyone about it
    • Re:Users read? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Windrip (303053) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:26PM (#26213223) Journal
      <cluebat>
      Other humans do what's important to them, not what's important to you.
      </cluebat>

      <description type="job">
      You don't control people, you control machines.
      You do your job so others can do theirs.
      </description>

      If it's that important to perform a remote restart, drop a widget on the machine that enables remote control.
      • Re:Users read? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @03:24PM (#26214861)

        <cluebat>
        Other humans do what's important to them, not what's important to you.
        </cluebat>

        <description type="job">
        You don't control people, you control machines.
        You do your job so others can do theirs.
        </description>

        More like "other humans assume that the IT department enjoys creating work for the hell of it and that smoothly running systems which can be maintained by following simple written instructions are somehow not in their interests". How is patronizing the GP like this supposed to remedy that? You can look at an undesirable or less-than-ideal situation (i.e. the apathy of users) and accept it as the reality of the situation and work with it without ever needing to make excuses for it or justify it. Personally I find that quite a bit more appealing than saying "know your role" or "you're just the help" as though this attitude is the only way to serve others. I'm not necessarily even saying that these things aren't true; I am merely questioning the need to place so much emphasis on them.

        If it's that important to perform a remote restart, drop a widget on the machine that enables remote control.

        This part is good constructive criticism. When I mentioned "accept the reality of the situation and work with it" above, this is more like what I was talking about. Why create avoidable problems by asking users to manually follow instructions (however simple) that can be automated? I think the actions we would take to deal with this situation would be quite similar; it's really your point of view (and yours is a common one) that I'm addressing. I would handle this in a remotely administered, automated fashion because it's a better solution, it's more reliable, and it doesn't create unnecessary friction, not because I'm worried about whether it's sufficiently humble for my station. In my opinion, that attitude is one of the more regrettable products of corporate culture.

    • Re:Users read? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nategoose (1004564) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:26PM (#26213233)
      So you wanted people to leave their computers on all weekend? You must hate the environment.
    • Since you know that they went out of their way to NOT restart, I would guess that they have had bad experiences with critical windows updates, and weren't going to be part of the experiment.

      Those are your knowledgeable users, who read and understood your message.

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      The email you sent is ambiguous at best. If I got that email, I would have done the shutdown as instructed on Thursday night, but I would have assumed that you would be done on Friday morning. From that point on, I would continue working as I always had. Powering off a PC that isn't going to be used for nearly 3 days sounds like a good way to save the company a pretty penny, and that is what I would have done.

      In short, your email sucked if the behavior you wanted was a restart shutdown EVERY night. It s

      • In short, your email sucked if the behavior you wanted was a restart shutdown EVERY night.

        What part of,

        Perform these steps before you leave each day.

        isn't clear? It tells the person to do this each day. Not just that one day, but every day.

        The only thing that could have made things more clear, and something I suggested but was of course rejected, would have been to say:

        Machines should not be turned off unless specifically told to do so.

        We, like every organization, have idiots
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by firewrought (36952)

        In short, your email sucked if the behavior you wanted was a restart shutdown EVERY night. It should have read something like, "From this point forward we are changing the recommended daily restart procedure to a requirement." Good communication is more than just saying something. It is about saying the right thing to get the appropriate response. In your case, you didn't actually ask for what you wanted.

        Amen! I would lead with:

        "Restart every night to protect your computer."

        Put your request/demand/qu

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It wasn't a matter of illiteracy, it was a matter of those thirty people simply ignoring you and your antienvironmental instructions, you wastrel.

      Leave the PC on all weekend? Wasteful madness. Some of us give a shit about global warming, yet you want us to leave our PC on ALL WEEKEND.

      Next time don't pick a Friday. Some of us care about the planet we're leaving our children. Better yet, don't have your users leave the PCs on at all; you can take a small productivity hit to patch the machines and save the pla

    • Re:Users read? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:40PM (#26213413)

      OK, where to start... I'll leave aside the wording of your email, seeing as most people will glaze over as soon as they see it's from IT in the first place.

      1. Your email is more than 5 lines long. IME, most people don't read beyond the first few lines so there's no point in bothering with any more than that.

      2. You expect your end users to jump through hoops for nobody's benefit but your own. Wake on LAN should deal with PCs that are turned off, if they're not turned off I leave setting up a remote reboot script to your imagination.

      3. Rewritten email:

      "We will be applying updates to your PC, part of which will involve remotely rebooting your system at 20:00 tonight. Please notify us if this is inconvenient".

      • by raddan (519638)
        I have a better one:

        "Please RESTART your computer before you go home. You read that right: restart, NOT shutdown."

        I'm all for removing users from the equation somehow. I don't mean in this case. I mean, in general.
    • by mweather (1089505)
      Why didn't you just have them log off? Besides, it's nothing that can't be fixed by WOL.
    • by _14k4 (5085)

      Your problem? You should admin the network so that these requirements can be forced. Lock it down, man!

    • or them to have their machines off would mean they had to physically change the value from Restart to Shutdown

      Or perhaps they just press the power button for ACPI shutdown instead of going into the menu?

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      The problem isn't that people don't understand your instructions. The problem is that they simply didn't care, or perhaps even delighted in not following your instructions.

      There were certainly times when I 'passed' on certain procedures sent out by IT; especially when practically every update slowed the machine, locked it down further, or upgraded software to more bloated and less useful versions. Of course, many patches were good, such as the mentioned security patches; but users get passive-aggressiv
  • WT...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:04PM (#26212915)
    FTA:

    Our hypothesis is that the existence of ANY action creates a weighty obligation to act, or to THINK ABOUT ACTING. That make notifications turn from play into work. That makes them heavy responsibilities. That makes them an interruption, not a notification. And interruptions are a bag of hurt when you have things to do.

    Then what, exactly, is the purpose of the notifications? If not to invoke immediate action, then just send an email summary at the end of the day of all the "notifications" that happened in the last 24 hours. Short of showing changes in a network state, what would be urgent enough to show immediately, on top of all other windows, but not important enough to want to address at the same time?

    "Your download is complete." I'll want to open the file.

    "You have new email." I'll want to read the email.

    "Your mom cried when she read your heartwarming birthday card." I'll want to pick up the phone.

    What are these mysterious notifications that won't invoke a desire to perform some sort of action from the user?

    • Re:WT...? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:33PM (#26213331) Journal

      What are these mysterious notifications that won't invoke a desire to perform some sort of action from the user?

      Microsoft's notifications [computer-vet.com] usually invoke a desire to throw the computer across the room.

    • Re:WT...? (Score:5, Funny)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:42PM (#26213431) Homepage Journal

      "You have unused icons on your desktop"

      • by PitaBred (632671)

        Which is why you choose your notifications wisely, and give power users the capability to disable certain classes of them if they want.

    • by cromar (1103585)
      Look, sometimes it's nice to know you have a new email or a file has downloaded, etc without being interrupted from your word processing or web browsing! I have to agree with the article here. For instance, Growl is awesome - it provides a way to know what is going on with my system while not having to interrupt my work by grabbing the mouse and clicking on a button just because I have a new email (which I may want to read now, in 10 minutes, in a couple hours, etc).

      It's pretty nice. There's an iTunes p
    • by bwalling (195998)

      What are these mysterious notifications that won't invoke a desire to perform some sort of action from the user?

      They're for the rest of us who are actually working on something and not waiting for the next distraction. It's nice to see the first few lines of an email for a second or two and be able to glance at it to decide whether it is worthy of interrupting what I'm working on. It's annoying that the notification is clickable because there are times when it appears directly under where I was about to c

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swillden (191260)

      What are these mysterious notifications that won't invoke a desire to perform some sort of action from the user?

      For me, all of the things you mentioned, and many more.

      Yes, I MAY want to open the file, read the e-mail, etc., but often I don't want to do that right now. I want to know that I could, but I don't want to stop what I'm doing.

      At first glance, this means that I should want a notification that I can click on to invoke the corresponding action if I want, and ignore if I don't. The problem with that is that it raises another question: When should the notification go away?

      If the answer is that it should

  • Old-school UNIX. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:05PM (#26212929) Journal

    Old-school programs often had a messages window which contained notifications. You could view or dismiss it at will, and it was unintrusive. Try running xfig for that old-school feeling. In some, it was even embedded in the main window, so it was always there.

    Or to get closer to the point, there's always xterm... Messages appear and scroll by eventually, but they have nothing except their existence oaasociated with them. No buttons, no links, no hideous, evil, modal dialogs and so on.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. For me, that's Eterm. It is started at login, has no borders for me to click on, does not show up when alt-tabbing (skip window list), is not resizable or movable, and its stacking is "below all windows".

      Basically, it turns a part of my desktop space into a terminal. And I always start with typing screen rtorrent. You gotta love Enlightenment for it to work, though...

  • by Radhruin (875377) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:05PM (#26212931)
    Having the notification bubbles disappear when you mouse over (well, under) them doesn't seem usable. The user will see the bubble and want to interact with it in some way. Mousing over should decrease opacity and allow the user to interact with the dialog, such as immediately remove it or click on it to bring up the application that spawned the notification. I'm very familiar with computers, and it still seems very strange to "mouse under" something.
  • That mockup looks like my desktop: OSX with Growl notifications for mail.
  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:12PM (#26213023) Homepage

    This is one case where I think that Microsoft has been the industry leader.

    White lettering on azure field, clearly states the information, and no user can ignore it or work past it.

    "A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer..."

  • I am quoting Mark Shuttleworth here, from the article:

    The most controversial part of the proposal is the idea that notifications should not have actions associated with them. In other words, no buttons, sliders, links, or even a dismissal [x]. When a notification pops up, you won't be able to click on it, you won't be able to make it go away, you won't be able to follow it to another window, or to a web page. Are you loving this freedom? Hmmm? Madness, on the face of it, but there is method in this madness.

    This goes with the "There should be no actions on notifications" bullet point from the article. This leaves the user with no recourse other than to kill the notification agent in case a notification becomes stuck. While this is only the display agent, there should always be an "exit" for the user.

    We want to make notifications truly ephemeral. They are there, and then they are gone, and that's life.
    [snip]
    If you miss it, that's OK. Notifications are only for things which you can safely ignore or miss out on.

    I left in the relevant text. At first glance, it may seem like the approach that they are going to take with all notifications, but the second point they make i

    • I gotta wonder what the point of an ignorable notification is though. If I can ignore it, how does knowing about it help?

  • It looks and acts like growl. Not that that's a bad thing - it'd be a great feature to have on Linux.

    What'd be cool is if they'd support growl's network protocol (or work with them implementing a common one). It'd be nice to have servers send me small status updates this way, rather than through emails or whatever.

  • I think what SABDFL said is just about perfect. While I can appreciate being able to click a notification to go to the instant message I receive, I'll be far more likely to alt-tab to it instead.

    I would like themes, though. I'm spoiled on Growl, check out my brainstorm idea... http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/15447/ [ubuntu.com]

  • by Atrox666 (957601) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:27PM (#26213257)
    Every so often the interface should generate a dialog box that says: "Are you an idiot Y/N" If the user consistently answers no then the dialog boxes disappear. If they just click yes on every box in front of them then the operating system trojanizes its self to save other people the effort.
  • I am cool with these notifications as long as there is a "disable all these annoying notifications" button somewhere.

    - Wireless on/off?, just change the little icon in the bar
    - Updates?, just show something I can hover to check

    I don't know you but, besides pulseaudio, annoying little notifications are the only thing I would like to rip off Ubuntu.

  • Update hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:41PM (#26213421) Homepage Journal

    In Windows land, it seems just about dang near every application you install has notification annoyances when you start the PC.
    1. Java Virtual machine seems to get an update every other day. This is just great, since I don't have enough java VM versions on my add/remove programs. Thanks!
    2. Windows Media Player will irritate you with a media update every day, it seems.
    3. Can't forget Itunes! What minor revision do you have now that doesn't seem to do much for me? Hey, what's all these extra applications you think I should install as well?
    4. Macromedia Flash, ahh, can't forget that one.
    5. HP Printer drivers. Just screams "me too".
    6. Probably Steam has an update too.

    And that's not even the usual update patches from Windows Update.

    Don't turn your computer on in over a week, and you'll be going through 20 minutes of updating stuff. There are times I wish software WASN'T updated so frequently.

    • Add to the list:
          - Network devices that have never been connected warn you they aren't connected.
          - Notifications of systems updates, even though you haven't been connected for the past week!?
         

    • I think this is just a side effect of the relatively fragmented nature of closed source software. Vendors don't work together or allow anyone to modify their products because of IP issues, which is why you don't see distro-like entities re-packaging existing apps so they'll work together nicely and upgrade nicely, as happens with open source.

      Also once something's installed, it's in the vendor's interests to be as in-your-face as possible to make sure you remember it's there. Hence all the loading-at-startu

  • Hover translucency is OK, I guess. I'd rather have my cursor to push an always-translucent notification away, or squish it against the side of the screen, or do something else that actually got it out of my way. And it should shake when it's something really important. And flash! Mandatory PC speaker sound effects! Rumble mouse support! A frowny face graphic that becomes more sinister as the problem becomes more severe! Insert the warning text into the music you're listening to as replacement lyrics! THOSE
  • Mystery Girl (Score:3, Insightful)

    by D Ninja (825055) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @01:48PM (#26213531)

    I love this remark from the article about notifications -

    They are gone like a mystery girl on the bus you didnâ(TM)t get on, and they enrich your life in exactly the same way!

    The first thing I thought of was, "So...they don't."

  • by SEWilco (27983) on Tuesday December 23, 2008 @02:58PM (#26214495) Journal
    There once was a file named mybest.gif
    whose owner wanted to replace it.
    That act it did not permit,
    the file did not have the write bit,
    and out this error did spit.
  • by Linegod (9952) <pasnak&warpedsystems,sk,ca> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @12:01AM (#26219539) Homepage Journal

    ... and I'm going to tell you about things that already exist, that other people are working on and make it sound like it's exclusive to Ubuntu.

    Thank you for your time.

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