Menu name "Hardware Drivers" misleading

Bug #202267 reported by Cody A.W. Somerville on 2008-03-14
This bug report is a duplicate of:  Bug #409338: Change the name of "Hardware drivers". Edit Remove
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
jockey (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The current menu name for jockey, "Hardware Drivers", is misleading. It suggests that the application manages hardware when in fact it only manages restricted drivers and firmware.

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

It currently is;

_Name=Hardware Drivers
_Comment=Configure third-party and proprietary drivers

Granted, we do not yet have free third-party drivers yet, but we will eventually. So it does not claim to 'manage' your hardware. What would you propose as name or comment?

Changed in jockey:
status: New → Incomplete
Forlong (forlong) wrote :

What are " free third-party drivers"?

As for the name. if you don't want the "restricted" back in the name, how about "Additional Hardware Drivers"?
That would emphasize the fact that there are only special/optional drivers being installed/configured.

I too find the current name misleading, it sounds like it would list all the hardware drivers in use. Most people don't read the tooltips.

Martin Pitt (pitti) on 2008-04-15
Changed in jockey:
status: Incomplete → New
Sean Murphy (smurphy) wrote :

"Extra Drivers" would be short, intuitive and accurately describe the relationship between these drivers and Ubuntu.

"So-and-so doesn't work!"
"You need to enable your Extra Drivers."

Forlong (forlong) wrote :

I updated the original report and changed "Hardware manager" to the actual name.

Hope that's OK.

description: updated
Forlong (forlong) wrote :

Here's an example of a user being confused by the name:

Renaming it "Additional Hardware Drivers" still seems to be the sanest solution to me.

Tormod Volden (tormodvolden) wrote :

This is not nitpicking, because the misleading name fools people into installing proprietary drivers that they don't need. Especially when installing these drivers break the default open-source drivers (fglrx comes to mind) this causes a support nightmare.

Why not call it "Restricted drivers" ? The word restricted should give a hint that these drivers are not something you uncritically should install. And they are indeed restricted, so is it correct to hide this fact?

Changed in jockey:
status: New → Confirmed
Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

They are not restricted in all cases. The window heading text will explain if restricted ones are available or in use, but jockey also displays e. g. printer drivers from, which are (mostly) free software.

"Additional hardware drivers" sounds like a good compromise. Matthew, what do you think?

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Adding "Additional" or "Extra" might reduce that particular confusion, but I think it would add the separate confusion of people asking "additional to what?" and not getting an answer, and I think that would be worse.

To solve both problems, I think this interface needs to be reworked to focus on devices rather than drivers -- showing whether each major device (graphics card, wireless card, printer, etc) is using a free driver (regardless of provenance) or a proprietary one. And in the meantime, I think giving the window the third name in its history wouldn't really help.

Johan Walles (walles) wrote :

"Third party drivers."

That's what they are.

They aren't provided by neither the user (first party) nor Ubuntu (second party), but by a third party. It also avoids the "additional to what" confusion brought up by Matthew.

Tormod Volden (tormodvolden) wrote :

Additional to what? Additional to the default drivers, already installed to their system. I don't think this would create much confusion. Maybe for philosophers or nitpickers but not for most normal users.

The big problem now is that people think their "Hardware Drivers" _should_ be enabled. Descend into the world of users (the forums is a great way) and you'll see stories like "I went into Hardware Drivers and enabled the drivers for my ATI card and still it doesn't work" where it's clear that people do not ask themselves if these drivers are really necessary or can cause problems. In the example of the fglrx drivers, they are not "additional" or "extra", they are "instead of" and "fsck up" the default drivers that maybe work better for them.

"Third party drivers" is also good, because it indicates that now you're on your own if you install these.

I agree that an interface rework would be best, but I think it is too late for Intrepid. And meanwhile we should correct a bad name even if it replaced an even worse one. That's progress.

logari81 (logari81) wrote :

I would vote for "Third Party Drivers". It doesn't sound that negative like the initial description as "restricted" but on the other hand it informs the user about what he installs and why this software is not shipped with the installation CD, which also is quite important.

Anyway anyone of the suggestions made above would be better than the absolutely misleading "Hardware Drivers". I dislike "Additional Drivers" just because the word "additional" makes me thing about something that is not absolutely necessary but would have in any case a positive impact. Though this positive impact is not always guaranteed, like for example in case of fglrx.

From my experience in support forums I can say that the example of Bauermeister above is very characteristic. There are really people having Intel Graphic Cards which come and ask desperately why they don't find drivers for their cards in "Hardware Drivers". Is Intel bad not having drivers for linux? It sounds like a joke but it really happens. And the description "Hardware Drivers" doesn't help avoid that. Actually this is the point of view of the new user switching from windows to Ubuntu. This user has the mentality that every piece of hardware needs some kind of extra driver to work properly. Seeing his "Hardware Drivers" list empty he feels something like naked. He can't imagine that the normal case is to make the installation and everything should works.

I also think, as already suggested by other people (Matthew Paul Thomas for first) the app should be reworked, but I think not partially but completely.
In fact I should expect an app that we can call it "Hardware Devices" (at this time this app is not present in the default installations but you have to install additional software as hardinfo, or similar) that shows me the hardware devices of the PC and, for every device, among other info, it should lists the module in use (a good think could be to shows an info about the fact that the module is gpl compliant or it is a restricted driver). In the case in which a device uses a restricted driver we could be able to switch to a free gpl driver (as we can do now with "Hardware Drivers").

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

Marco, seeing an entire tree of all hardware devices and info about this isn't the purpose of jockey. If you want that, use gnome-device-manager.

Jockey is about installing third-party drivers, not a hardware browsing tool. It should be kept as simple as possible (UI-wise).

Martin, I think you may be right if we consider the problem of hardware drivers modules related to jockey. I think, as I described above, that the problem should be considered in a more general way (and I think jockey could be easily removed).
gnome-device-manager is today a useless app and I think should be reworked too (see bug #340062) but this is another issue.

About jockey, if we consider the problem related to this app, I think it should list all the modules used by the system with the info about the fact they are gpl compliant or third-party drivers.

Vish (vish) wrote :

This was fixed in Maverick in bug #409338 . Marking as dup

Tormod Volden (tormodvolden) wrote :

OMG glad to see this fixed after 2 1/2 year of denial and bike-shedding! Thanks to those who kept pushing!

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