No graphical way to tell what version of Ubuntu you're using

Reported by Matthew Paul Thomas on 2010-12-09
16
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
Undecided
Unassigned
Unity
Undecided
Unassigned
gnome-control-center (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

Binary package hint: unity

In UNE 10.10, and in Ubuntu Natty, there is no graphical way of telling what version of Ubuntu you're using. Knowing the version number is important for tech support. So, there needs to be a straightforward but out-of-the-way method of finding it.

In Windows, "Help" > "About" in an Explorer (or Program Manager) window has always shown an about box with the Windows version.
<http://www.guidebookgallery.org/pics/gui/interface/dialogs/aboutgui/win101.png>
<http://marlonpalmas.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/windows-7-about-box.png>

In Mac OS, the Apple menu has always contained an "About This Computer" or "About This Mac" menu item that opened an about box.
<http://www.guidebookgallery.org/pics/gui/interface/dialogs/aboutgui/macos11.png>
<http://www.guidebookgallery.org/pics/gui/interface/dialogs/aboutgui/macosx103.png>

In Ubuntu 10.10 and earlier, "System" > "About Ubuntu" has always opened a help page mentioning the Ubuntu version. This was nasty, but at least it existed.

The solution should not pretend that "About Ubuntu" is an "application" of any sort. <https://launchpad.net/about-window> has code for an About box, but the access point would still need to be designed.

Didier Roche (didrocks) wrote :

agreed mpt, adding a design task.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete

MPT, would a pane in a control center be an appropriate place for this?
I.e., would it be sufficient for us to design an entry point for the
master settings system? I think we're OK if that's the case, though not
for Natty.

Mark

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

This use-case is to me indicative of a more general issue.

Most of the existing documentation/help created thus far by the community (5 years worth) is going to become significantly less useful, and initially the proportion of "current stuff" is going to be low. The applications themselves are not changing, and the preference options people need to tweak aren't changing that much either, but the basic access methods to get to that stage /are/ going to differ; the wealth of instructions for System->About Ubuntu, or Applications->Accessories->Terminal, or System->Administration->Login Screen to get to the basic state of having a familiar login session, or getting up a terminal or start fixing, or just finding out the version of Ubuntu to know which section of the instructions to follow are not going to be there.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Rewriting the help is bug 600875.

I think using a settings panel for version numbers would be inappropriate for an OS used on notebook and desktop computers, because Ubuntu version numbers are not settings. When iOS and Android have version info in the Settings, they are preserving simplicity of the home screen (it's hard to see where else they'd put it) at the expense of coherence. That tradeoff is justifiable for a mobile OS. But it wouldn't be justifiable for Mac OS X or even Chrome OS to do the same thing, because they have a much broader landscape in which to put the info somewhere sensible.

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

OK, suggestions for good places to put it?

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Unity is only partly-implemented, and there's no overall design specification that I know of, so I can't tell where the most appropriate access point would be.

What I can suggest is that it be fairly close to the help, since those two functions are commonly found near each other in other systems. So, where is the Ubuntu Help going in Unity?

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

I just asked John and Calum about where the help is going. John said that for Natty, help will be presented as if it was an application, in the application lens of the Dash, but in the longer term it should go somewhere else. Neither John nor Calum knew where. But wherever it goes, maybe "About Ubuntu" should follow the same trajectory.

I suggest including, in the Unity specification, a map of access points in Gnome 2 and the equivalent access points in Unity, to check that nothing else has been forgotten. This should cover small system tasks like:
* accessing the OS version
* accessing the OS help
* closing a program that has stopped responding (this has always been too hard in Gnome 2)
* connecting to a new server (present in Nautilus's "File" menu, but should it also be somewhere in the Files lens?)
* taking a screenshot.

But the access point is only half the issue. The other half is what "About Ubuntu" should open -- the current help page, or something more sophisticated.

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

On 14/12/10 14:37, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> I suggest including, in the Unity specification, a map of access points in Gnome 2 and the equivalent access points in Unity, to check that nothing else has been forgotten. This should cover small system tasks like:
> * accessing the OS version
> * accessing the OS help
> * closing a program that has stopped responding (this has always been too hard in Gnome 2)
> * connecting to a new server (present in Nautilus's "File" menu, but should it also be somewhere in the Files lens?)
> * taking a screenshot.

That's a great suggestion, and starting list.

> But the access point is only half the issue. The other half is what
> "About Ubuntu" should open -- the current help page, or something more
> sophisticated.

For the moment, I'd like us to focus purely on functional information.
We'll for the moment put the system details - CPU, OS version etc in the
broader collection of settings and prefs, and separate from help. We can
review this later.

Mark

Ivanka Majic (ivanka) on 2011-04-18
tags: added: fitandfinish
Vish (vish) wrote :

Maybe Bug #764744 (System Settings) could also be considered while designing this.

Dmitry Shachnev (mitya57) wrote :

New Gnome-control-center (3.x) already has "System Info" entry containing GNOME version, maybe it's a good idea to put there Ubuntu version too?

Dmitry Shachnev (mitya57) wrote :

Done!

affects: unity (Ubuntu) → gnome-control-center (Ubuntu)
Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Fix Released
Changed in unity:
status: Incomplete → Invalid
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