second worst dialog I saw during a recent Ubuntu upgrade

This dialog gets points for being graphical, and loses many, many, many points for presenting no information that any reasonable user could possibly get any use from unless they already previously understand (1) what FUSE is (2) how to get FUSE plugins (3) who the ‘first user’ is (4) what the ‘fuse group’ is and (5) how to add users to the ‘fuse group.’ And if you know all those things, you didn’t need the dialog, so kudos for being both useless and intimidating.

The worst dialog was actually a terminal wrapped in the upgrader GUI which stalled my entire upgrade in order to ask me what my terminal encoding was, helpfully presenting a list of 28 possible encodings, of which UTF-8 was 27th and the default was some obscure encoding I’d never previously heard of. (The other times the upgrader stalled the upgrade to ask for input it told me I’d modified config files I’d never previously heard of, much less modified, but at least those had basically the same useful-ish debian config file dialog I’ve been used to for ages.)

Linux has come a long way (the upgrader helpfully offered to do a partial upgrade instead of complaining and dying like previous debian/ubuntu upgrades), but still has a long way to go too.

(These weren’t the only problems I saw; Gerv has a good list of some of the other ones, though I didn’t see all of the ones he did.)

7 thoughts on “second worst dialog I saw during a recent Ubuntu upgrade”

  1. That looks like a debconf note, and like the problems Gerv lists (conffile handling) show Ubuntu is a just thin wrapper around Debian, maintained by an organisation that doesn’t have enough manpower to create a coherent distribution. See also the cargo-culted stable update procedures that push the work of integrating stable versions and bugfixes onto the upstream developer (eg Abiword) instead of doing what a real distro does and managing it themselves.

  2. […] This blog post was brought to you by the huge time required to link WebKit (I want gold as the default linker!) Source: PlanetGNOME Categories: GNOME People 10:00 Luis Villa: second worst dialog I saw during a recent Ubuntu upgrade […]

  3. James: your characterisation of the Abiword situation is a bit off. Without any input from the Abiword developers, the latest release as of the Ubuntu beta release would have been included.

    The Abiword developers wanted a new major version in the release instead (a major version that they only decided to make after Ubuntu’s feature freeze: not the sort of thing that could be planned for). Having them take responsibility for some of the QA was an option that gave them what they wanted. It also appears to be the reason Fedora picked up the new release at such a late stage in its release schedule too.

  4. Add a third dialog to it – I’ve just seen orca open a terminal after logging into my Hardy, asking me about various settings…

  5. My personal favorite comes from kernel upgrades. (Sorry for the horrible image hosting; my web server is being moved across the country right now. For future reference, in case ImageShack takes it down, it’s usually here.)

    The reason it’s popping up this dialog is that it’s afraid my GRUB configuration isn’t prepared to handle an initrd, as it will so helpfully inform you if you click the “Help” button. In fact, my GRUB configuration *is* prepared to handle that; I’m not sure why debconf hasn’t caught on. I’m ashamed to admit it never occurred to me to report this as a bug…

  6. […] thing is, people designing for more than just UNIX experts thinks that displaying stuff like this a big mistake. Not […]

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