Computer Janitor message doesn't help user decide whether to continue

Bug #371918 reported by Laura Cowen on 2009-05-04
10
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
computer-janitor (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

Binary package hint: computer-janitor-gtk

The 'Really clean up?' message in Computer Janitor needs to be more helpful to the user in deciding whether to continue.

I ran Computer Janitor for the first time (on Jaunty) and it displayed 18 .deb files that it could remove. When I asked it to Clean Up, it popped up a message.

The message says:

Really clean up?
You are removing 18 .deb packages. This may break your system, if you need them. Do you want to continue?
No/Yes

This message didn't help me at all in making the decision of whether to continue. Yes, the removal of .deb packages from the system *might* cause problems, but you can't expect me to make an informed judgement about that (I had no idea whether the removal of those .deb packages would break my system; I could only trust that Computer Janitor was showing me packages that could be safely removed). CJ shouldn't list packages that *might* cause problems if removed; it needs to be absolutely sure that it won't break my computer. The message needs to help me decide what to do.

All the message provides at the moment is:
a) doubt and uncertainty in the user as to whether the Computer Janitor will in fact do what it says it will do (or whether it will just break their computer), and
b) an impression in the user that the developer isn't confident that their code will in fact do what it's meant to do

Neither of which, IMHO, is a good thing (for either the user or for Ubuntu).

If Computer Janitor is not going to do what it's meant to do, it shouldn't be in the release. If it will work as designed (it's so far worked fine for me - but then I've not rebooted yet... ;-) ), why confuse the user?

You could warn the user of the potential impact of running Computer Janitor up front (if you really think that's necessary). You could provide a brief intro in the app itself (ie after CJ starts but before the user has chance to do anything with it); for example, at the top of the window, or even on a message that has to be OK'd before the main CJ window opens (though that might put anyone off using it...). Even then, though, provide useful information that helps the user make an informed decision, like:

"Computer Janitor removes unused packages from your computer. It is possible, if the package has not been used in a while [or whatever reason CJ might be mistaken] that Computer Janitor will remove packages that are needed by your system. If that happens, you can reinstall the packages [or whatever action the user has to take to rectify the damage] by...[or link to instructions of how to rectify the damage]."

On a separate note, is it not possible for this clean-up to be done invisibly as part of the upgrade process? I always assumed it would be and was surprised that I got an increasingly long list of kernels during startup.

Laura Cowen (lauracowen) on 2009-05-04
summary: - Computer Janitor message refuses to take responsibility
+ Computer Janitor message doesn't help user decide whether to continue
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