New spatial breaks browsing usablity

Bug #14838 reported by Corey Burger on 2005-04-01
108
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
nautilus (Ubuntu)
Medium
Sebastien Bacher

Bug Description

The new spatial method of closing windows creates a major usability nightmare.

1. Open Home
2. Go to $subfolder. Home then closes
3. Finish doing what you are doing with $subfolder. You now want to go back to
home, but there is no easy visual way
4. To now go back to Home, I have to go Places-->Home
5. Search for way to turn this "feature" off. Don't find one.

So I have 2 bugs here

1. The changed method sucks. It makes it really hard to move up and down the
tree. However, the old method wasn't the greatest either, but is more usable
than this
2. No way to change back to old way, or badly labelled option that actually
allows this

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

1. you can use the standard button to browse in the previous path folders and
backspace key on the keyboard
2. read the package changelog:

nautilus (2.10.0-0ubuntu7) hoary; urgency=low

  * debian/patches/02_ubuntuspatial.patch:
    - changes to the spatial mode. Close the folders by default while browsing.
      You can set "/apps/nautilus/preferences/no_ubuntu_spatial" to get the
      previous spatial behaviour.

If you don't like the changes feel free to ping Mark since he has taken the
decision to change that.

Brandon Hale (brandon) wrote :

Major changes to key desktop components at the last second for no good reason =
lame.

Kent Nyberg (nyberg-kent) wrote :
Download full text (3.1 KiB)

quote: "you can use the standard button to browse in the previous path folders and
backspace key on the keyboard"

Firstly, I dont understand what you meen with "[..] use the standard button to
browse in the previous path folders[..]".
which standard button? As far as I know, I can use the "open parent" function in
nautilus to reopen a folder, but thats very
unintuative, and probably even a bit idiotic. The expected thing when opening a
new folder is *not* for the already open one to close.
Is there some system on this planet that behave like that? Not that something
cant be created unless its already done by some one else, for me this very bad
and if no one else does it this way, I might suggest that its becaus its kind
of.. bad design. Its sort of as expected as introducing a dancing cow on the
bottom panel.
Introducing something like this is not the same as not having a treeview by
default in the filemanager (old nautilus vs spatial naut.). I like the spatial
view that has been in nautilus, its just this new "feature" that dont
make any sense at all.

And as for the backspace, even though im unsure of what you, Seb, meen by "[..]
to browse in the previous path folders and
backspace key on the keyboard"; do you think any new user would dare to use
backspace when handeling their private data?
For example, I have a large collection of photos taken by my digital camera.
First of all, I would not guess that backspace is for browsing folders, and
secondly, is it not so that some application uses it to erase, delete etc? It
might be some old memory of some old application, but still, thats what i
remember and thats why i *never* would use that key, not even if I read on
bugzilla, irc or whatever that I should. I meen, I actually dont understand what
you meen by using backspace to browse the previous folder. Any normal sane
person would rahter suspect the backspace to delete things, not to reopen the
folder they was supprised to see go away.

Another example of why this is bad:
I have a large collection of music. Given that I want to listen to some music,
and dont know which. Id like to browse the Music-folder to look for some files.
I would open /home/kent/Documents/Music (I have it in a bookmark in Places).
Then, as im in the mood for Nick Cave, I open the Nick Cave folder. The Music
(folder) window goes away. I dont find a file I like, reopens Music, Goes to
Nirvana, Music closes, etc.. etc, ad irritatum ;)
Browsing files gets irritating. *I* want to close a folder of choise and open
specific folders of choise. I cant understand why the parent should get closed
everytime a new folder is opened, it makes no sense. It makes even less sense,
since there is no exposed way of reopening the parent. I meen, "open parent" is
not a sentence that every one would understand (not minding this time the two
extra clicks and that its irritating). Its not obvius to all people that they
should relate to their folders on the harddrive as if it was their family and
that each folder is the parent to its subfolders. Its a terminology thats not so
intuative to understand. I figured it out, but Im not sure im so representive
for normal (and for the new) use...

Read more...

Corey Burger (corey.burger) wrote :

Another comment regarding drag and drop.

I frequently drag and drop files between folders. Usually this activity involves
me downloading something into my Home folder and then moving into a subfolder of
a subfolder. Under the current scheme, if I didn't know to keep a folder open, I
would lose the old window, thus making drag and drop completely useless to me.

Daniel Robitaille (robitaille) wrote :

*** Bug 14846 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

Thanks for the report and comments. There is certainly a bug in spatial mode,
that there is no obvious way to "go back", and the backspace key was a very poor
choice by upstream for that action. But the old behaviour, leaving windows open,
is irritating for the majority of use cases. While there are clearly specific
use cases where you want to leave a folder open and open a subfolder alongside
it, most navigation is with the intent to shift focus to the new directory, not
split focus between the current and the new directory.

For that reason I've asked that we use the new default behaviour on
double-clicking a folder.

You can retain the old behaviour using the pref Seb pointed out, or you can
shift-double-click the folder the leave the parent open while opening the folder.

I'll file a separate bug on a good UI for "going back".

Corey Burger (corey.burger) wrote :

Hey, this idea works for me

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

The new bug addressing this is 8548.

Ryan Lortie (desrt) wrote :

I just installed Ubuntu on my family's computer (formerly running gentoo).

Almost the first thing that both my sister and father noticed was how badly
messed up the new semantics of left/middle double clicking are. They've both
beed GNOME users for a number of years and don't think they should have to
readjust to the way it is (and I don't think they should either).

The GNOME project makes excellent usability decisions. More than that, though,
they know that the best thing from a usability standpoint is consistency. Due
to this last-minute change, Ubuntu has basically chosen to be inconsistent with
every other GNOME installation in the world in a very obvious and painful way.

This needs to be undone.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

*** Bug 14822 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

*** Bug 14893 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

The new behavior is better than the spatial craziness that is otherwise used by
default.

Gnome makes good UI design decisions, but it is simply the exception that proves
the rule.

Vincent Untz (vuntz) wrote :

Sébastien: don't hate me if I add more spam to your mailbox :-)

I'm not fond of the change, but I understand why it's done.

It's probably to late to add the setting in nautilus-file-management-properties
and to have it translated, but this should probably be documented in the help
with simple explanations on how to go back to upstream default for a user. It's
even possible to change the system default (for new users) with 'sudo
gconf-editor'. Maybe providing a script in /usr/share/nautilus/ to change this
would be okay...

The thing that worries me is how we'll be able to be compatible with this
setting in future ubuntu releases. Will we have to patch nautilus forever?

One last thing, about the behavior with this patch: Alt+Up and Alt+Down are not
consistent. I feel Alt+Up should close the previous window too.

Jorge Bernal (koke) wrote :

Created an attachment (id=1984)
adds GUI option to configure behaviour

There is more info at
http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-April/006462.html

Jon Delheimer (jon-norman) wrote :

Nautilus is a standard part of Gnome with expected standard behavior. It doesn't
matter if this change is an improvement or not. It should be made the option
while leaving the standard behavior as the default.

Mark, when you say "most navigation is with the intent to shift focus to the new
directory", you are already implying this intend with the use of the word
"navigation". The important mistake here is, that most file managment does _not_
equal navigation. The spatial paradigm allows you to work a lot more with your
folders than the navigator paradigm and this change essentially breaks it.
Double clicking a folder in a spatial context is not meant to be a navigational
action but a file managment action, akin to double clicking a document. Most of
the time I'm working with a base folder and constantly open sub folders
temporarily, I _never_ want the base folder to close in this case. Notice that
the current change also totally reverts the behavior of clicking on documents
and folders. This is very very bad.

The proper way to improve navigation in a spatial context isn't to break its
behavior, but to introduce alternative routes to directly jump to the required
location. One such alternative is the Ctrl+L dialog, which is very convenient if
you know the path. A good and usually agreed-upon GUI alternative is to provide
a tree-like list view mode, which would allow you to expand folders and then
directly open the one you want to move to. Mac OS Classic had a view like this
and AFAIK there are plans to add this to Nautilus, once someone gets around to
actually implement it. Here is a screenshot:
http://www.sapdesignguild.org/community/IMAGES/finder_list.gif

This change bothers me a lot, because there is nothing I care more about than
the usability of my working environment. I feel that this change is a big
mistake and carelessly damages the usability which the GNOME projects has
crafted so carefully.

(In reply to comment #16)
> This change bothers me a lot, because there is nothing I care more about than
> the usability of my working environment. I feel that this change is a big
> mistake and carelessly damages the usability which the GNOME projects has
> crafted so carefully.

Amazing how some people can write things which do not even start making sense,
and keep a straight face ;) Funny :)

Just another post to comment that I think the new behavior is totally wrong, and
I would like to have the previous option as the default (spatial mode).

Please, PLEASE, revert back to the previous default option.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

(In reply to comment #17)

> Amazing how some people can write things which do not even start making sense,
and keep a straight face ;) Funny :)

What is the interest of such comment ? Maybe you don't have the same opinion
than some other people, that's not a reason to start trolling here.

Robert Wittams (robert) wrote :

(In reply to comment #6)
> Thanks for the report and comments. There is certainly a bug in spatial mode,
> that there is no obvious way to "go back", and the backspace key was a very poor
> choice by upstream for that action. But the old behaviour, leaving windows open,
> is irritating for the majority of use cases. While there are clearly specific
> use cases where you want to leave a folder open and open a subfolder alongside
> it, most navigation is with the intent to shift focus to the new directory, not
> split focus between the current and the new directory.
>
> For that reason I've asked that we use the new default behaviour on
> double-clicking a folder.
>
> You can retain the old behaviour using the pref Seb pointed out, or you can
> shift-double-click the folder the leave the parent open while opening the folder.
>
> I'll file a separate bug on a good UI for "going back".
>

I think you might have to take the "benevolent" out of your title if this kind of
thing goes on a week before release. This is going to lose Ubuntu a huge amount
of credibility.

"I don't like spatial mode! So I will ruin it, and then complain that upstream
didn't predict
how I was going to break it and provide a fix."

This is a very odd decision so close to release. I honestly can't believe it.

rubinstein (rubinstein) wrote :

I still don't understand this controversial decision.
If we change the spatial mode now, we almost can be sure that it changes again
when releasing breezy. Why not leave it the standard way for hoary and
concentrate on making it better for breezy badger?
GNOME always tries to make the right decisions, even if it takes long (e.g. new
filechooser). Changes made in a hurry with no discussion a week before final
release don't make me feel very happy...

And no, I don't intend to be the one with the usual whining when something
changes. It is the last-minute-change that bugs me, but I also think it breaks
the concept of spatial mode.

Sanjeev Das (sanjeevdas) wrote :

> For that reason I've asked that we use the new default behaviour on
> double-clicking a folder.

shift-double-click does not work when the preferences are set to activate on a
single click (which I do). Should we open a new bug for this?

The new way of doing things is just plain wrong . we should revert back to the
old one. I completely agree with Daniel Borgmann's comment (#16) about the
spatial is used.

(In reply to comment #19)
> (In reply to comment #17)
>
> > Amazing how some people can write things which do not even start making sense,
> and keep a straight face ;) Funny :)
>
> What is the interest of such comment ? Maybe you don't have the same opinion
> than some other people, that's not a reason to start trolling here.

That's your opinion. Spatial Nautilus as defined in Gnome is broken. As for
Gnome being perfect and always right UI wise, one needs to look no further than
either spatial browsing (countless people disagree with Gnome developers
decision) or the menu editor issue. Fanboyism only goes so far (coming from a
Gnome fanboy ;) ).

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

Remy, please respect others opinions and posts, there's no need for a personal
attack. Other than that, I appreciate the discussion here.

This was a change requested some time ago, and it got dropped by accident,
apologies that it appeared on your radar just before the release. Still, I think
it's the right position and we'll stick with it.

(In reply to comment #24)
> Remy, please respect others opinions and posts, there's no need for a personal
> attack. Other than that, I appreciate the discussion here.

I apologize for the trouble.

Rob Caskey (rcaskey) wrote :

Mark, I'd really like to see this reverted and then reapplied for Breezy right
after release*. Time is tight and this is the subject of much debate. I fully
support the idea of Ubuntu doing what it thinks is best, even if it differs from
upstream, but a few things rub me a bit. Opening the Computer window and then
Filesystem results in two windows. It doesn't behave correctly for browse mode
either, but it's not been that big of a deal since the people using the Computer
window and the people using Browse mode probably have little overlap, but with a
default change it becomes an issue. Also, the need to use a menu or keyboard
shortcut to open a parent window means that many new users will take the long
way around in reversing inadvertant clicks and such. I see and support these
users every day, using a dropdown menu to find or knowing what a "parent"
requires special training for these folks. If it is decided that something must
be done, that Ubuntu needs to affect this change in operation, please consider
changing to the orthodox browse mode.

Submitted with much respect and sincerity,
--Rob Caskey

*Blessed is the peacemaker.

Matthew Garrett (mjg59) wrote :

While I have some sympathy with the idea behind this change, it's something that
should have happened at the start of a development cycle rather than at the end
of it. The option to revert to upstream behaviour is undocumented and doesn't
appear in any schema files - if it did, there's no time to translate it at this
stage. Is this change in behaviour really sufficiently necessary that we want to
make the change now rather than for Breezy?

Etienne Zannelli (ezannelli) wrote :

Are you sure you hack the right mode?
it would be better to set browse mode default and add a feature (double
middle-clic) to open folder in new window, possibly hide some bars and panels by
default (it can be add easily by users)
Here we lose the interest of window placement, we miss a way to go back (What
about back and parent buttons =)) : Finally, you just change spatial mode in
poor browse mode.

Sorry to add some kind of "me too", but the timing for this change is less than
perfect, ie given the schedule for hoary release, it doesn't let much time to
test it carefully and evaluate the ins and outs, nor to polish the potential
corner cases.
For my part, I feel that this change has the disadvantages of both worlds: it's
a disguised browser mode, with the added oddness of window "dancing" on your
screen when you double click on several folders in a row

Daniel Baber (danielb) wrote :

I just would like to echo the sentiments stated here that the recent change is
both *wrong* and done in poor timing. How can I turn this *feature* off? Please
reconsider this change.

(In reply to comment #30)
> How can I turn this *feature* off?

Is that asking too much to expect people to read the bug report before complaining ?
https://bugzilla.ubuntu.com/show_bug.cgi?id=8516#c1

I'm joigning the group of cons.

I don't really where is the improvement of this behaviour (Dancing windows that
makes me a bit lost).

I admit the spatial behaviour is not optimal, but remove each previous windows
after a click is very irritating;
Please work with Nautlus'developpers to improve the both modes if you find them
imcomplete (I share same toughts).

Then, I think the new behaviour should have been introduced some time ago during
the developpement timeframe. Now you could wait for the next developpement
release to introduce this major change; there is no doc or UI to change this.

Please reconsider this change.

tvelocity (tvelocity) wrote :

I really don't get it. How is a hybrid abomination of spatial and navigational
mode supposed to be better? Anyone is free to choose what he prefers, spatial or
navigational, this is only breaking things. It's like you are opening a fridget,
get a box with sandwiches, and when you open it, the fridge automatically
closes. Nobody is gonna get it at all. What's next? Opening multiple windows at
default in navigational mode? How about shutting down the computer when the user
closes all his applications?:P

Ubuntu has been such a success till now, not only because of it's capable team
of developers, but also because of it's excellent community of users. Please
don't stop listening to your users.

Scott Robinson (scott-ubuntu) wrote :

I too would like to request a reversion for the following reasons:

1) This change has occured at the end of the release process, and there are
already associated bugs as a result.
2) The gconf key to revert behavior is almost undocumented. A normal user
wouldn't look in the changelog to find out how to change the behavior.
3) Customizing the GNOME distribution is different than dramatically changing a
large useability decision they made. This makes Ubuntu different than every
other GNOME in the world.
4) The patch leaves Ubuntu in a non-spatial, non-browsing mode that isn't very
useful. I use Nautilus to manage and search for files - now it's usefulness for
both has been degraded.

Please revert?

Rob Caskey (rcaskey) wrote :

Folder does not close when Open Parent is selected from the pulldown menu.

Jan (debian-gepro) wrote :

(In reply to comment #34)
> Please revert?

Please do not.

Remember, spatial Nautilus itself was introduced as a last minute change, was
opposed by a majority of users and we had to wait 6 month before getting a
normal possibility to switch it off. It's GNOME way of doing things. Mark just
temporarily accepted their standards for a single case. (Menu editor will be
hopefully the next one.)

In reality spatial mode is crapy and every effort to "improve" it is hopeless.
This dirty fix at least helps naive users to avoid covering their desktop by an
unmanageable mesh of explorer windows. And for those who insist. Helding SHIFT
isn't that much effort, is it ?

Vincent Untz (vuntz) wrote :

(In reply to comment #36)
> Remember, spatial Nautilus itself was introduced as a last minute change, was
> opposed by a majority of users and we had to wait 6 month before getting a
> normal possibility to switch it off.

I don't want to argue again about the fact that this change is good or wrong,
but I can't let you say something wrong like "spatial Nautilus itself was
introduced as a last minute change". Spatial nautilus wasn't a last minute
change: it was announced in September 2003
(http://mail.gnome.org/archives/desktop-devel-list/2003-September/msg00446.html),
at the beginning of the development cycle for GNOME 2.6 (see
http://gnome.org/start/2.5/ for the GNOME 2.6 schedule) and it had been
discussed since September 2002.

tvelocity (tvelocity) wrote :

(In reply to comment #36)
> In reality spatial mode is crapy and every effort to "improve" it is hopeless.
> This dirty fix at least helps naive users to avoid covering their desktop by an
> unmanageable mesh of explorer windows. And for those who insist. Helding SHIFT
> isn't that much effort, is it ?

If you don't like spatial, don't use it, EOF. If you don't understand spatial,
don't claim things about it which don't make sense. Spatial behavior is the
expected operation from new users, each item in it's own window. Closing the
parent folder automatically when opening a subfolder, makes as much sense as
closing the parent folder when opening a containing file! If this change stays
the default, people will be totaly irritated by the *TERRIBLE* inconsistencies
it introduces.

If you don't understand spatial, please don't troll about it, and let the ones
who appreciate it to use it how it is supposed to work. If you have a problem
understanding the object oriented context it works in, then just don't use it,
it's that simple.

Gustavo Carneiro (gjc) wrote :

I must say that I also disagree with the recent change. I like spatial
nautilus. I also like navigational nautilus. What I don't like is this 3rd
mutant mode that you guys invented for nautilus. It is neither spatial nor
navigational, just a freak mode.

I wouldn't mind if ubuntu swtiched the default nautilus mode to be navigational.
 You wouldn't even need to patch nautilus, just change a gconf schema default,
and users would still be able to switch back to spatial if they wanted to. But
_this_ is just plain wrong and inconsitent with the previous ubuntu release.
You'll some users angry, especially since there is no obvious way (gconf is not
obvious to most users) to bring back the old behaviour, which is a pity
considering how good the distribution is overall.

I honestly don't see any advantage of this method over the standard navigational
browsing mode of nautilus.

Gustavo Carneiro (gjc) wrote :

And "/apps/nautilus/preferences/no_ubuntu_spatial" has no gconf schema, which
makes it almost impossible to change from gconf-edit... :|

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

(In reply to comment #40)
> And "/apps/nautilus/preferences/no_ubuntu_spatial" has no gconf schema, which
> makes it almost impossible to change from gconf-edit... :|

this is fixed since yesterday

Whether or not you/I like this new "spatiallity" I'd like to propose a better
solution than both the upstream and the Ubuntu one...

*Single left-click to close parent behind you. Double left-click to keep parent.*

Personally I dislike middle clicking, and I really don't want to use
shift/keybord at all, while mousing around. I know my proposal also breaks
cross-distro compatability but I really *really* think that it would be the
better option.

Cheers

Billy Charlton (billy) wrote :

IMHO, the main reason this new behavio(u)r seems so broken is because windows
now close without warning. Users expect windows to close when they click on
"close", "Exit", "okay", etc.

No other application I've used closes windows without warning. This really
breaks a basic understanding of how a windowing environment works. Windows
don't close in navigational mode; nor do they close in gEdit, OpenOffice,
Firefox, etc unless it's crash.

I don't see how tweaking the corner cases of this new mode (such as fixing all
of the bugs it causes, or adding to the documentation), can fix this fundamental
breakage of contract between user and window environment.

Thus I don't think adding GUI option for this behavio(u)r is the right way to
go. The right way to fix this bug is to remove this broken mode.

Lionel Dricot (ploum) wrote :

It's a nightmare ! How will I explain that for my mother ?

She uses Spatial Nautilus for a year now, and she likes it. How will I explain
the change ? Seriously, think about non-power users.

Dave Ahlswede (mightyquinn) wrote :

I wonder if any of those who dislike the normal spatial mode prefer the
dancing-window approach to browser mode-- It seems fairly clear that those who
like spatial don't like it, but it would be nice to see the other side of the
fence so to speak.

I personally very much prefer spatial, but I wouldn't mind if we defaulted to
Navigational mode-- that seems a much more sensible approach to the
window-flooding problem.

(In reply to comment #45)
> I wonder if any of those who dislike the normal spatial mode prefer the
> dancing-window approach to browser mode-- It seems fairly clear that those who
> like spatial don't like it, but it would be nice to see the other side of the
> fence so to speak.

Once you realize that, in regular spatial mode, the windows "dance" just as much
(as positions/sizes/etc are remembered, which is actually good), and also litter
the screen (taking one more mouseclick per navigation operation to clear the
mess), then you've made a first step. Another thing which could help is
accepting that Gnome developers may not make the best decision every single time.

Then the main issue is that there are a ton of people who apparently cannot
accept that what they like best isn't the default, which is actually quite
funny. Personally, I like this Ubuntu-spatial, which clears up the spatial
nonsense in a positive way (keeping the advantages of spatial), but I will not
make a fuss if I have to click on one checkbox in gconf to enable it. Grow up.

Simos Xenitellis (simosx) wrote :

I would like to request from people to tone down this discussion.

I feel all requests are acceptable, as long as they do not pass as obnoxious.

For some insight, please see
http://micke.hallendal.net/archives/2005/04/im_sorry_to_hea.html

Dave Ahlswede (mightyquinn) wrote :

I apologize for creating a stir-- I know this is emotional for a lot of people.

I'd like to assure Remy that, at least for me, my objection is not that my
favorite mode is being made non-default. I'm perfectly happy with a one-window
solution being default, provided the window stays in the same place.

My question was mainly whether those who prefer a single-window solution like
the window to change shape or stay the same. (Pretending for the sake of
argument that the multi-window approach didn't exist)

lexual (lexhider) wrote :

I'm against this last minute change.

The main reason is that it makes Ubuntu's Gnome desktop behave differently from
all other Gnome desktops. This is really bad for Joe User who may sit down at at
different Gnome desktop and not get a consistent behaviour.

The place for such a *MAJOR* change is upstream IMHO.

If it were up to me I wouldn't make this change but I am an advanced enough user
to be able to use the middle-click behaviour. My main concern is consistency,
especially between Warty and Hoary and the possibility of another change between
Hoary and Breezy. I was very confused at the change of behaviour and I am an
advanced user.

Please revert this [post-freeze] change and strive for a properly considered fix
for Breezy.

Rob Caskey (rcaskey) wrote :

*** Bug 14870 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Trent Lloyd (lathiat) wrote :

I am against this change for a number clear-cut reasons

a) This was a last minute change, these kind of major usability changes at the
last minute are bad, at the very least this should be considered in breezy.
b) The current patch is incomplete and confusing, for example the backspace key
doesn't close behind, which is the reverse behavior.
c) This makes the ubuntu desktop differ from the GNOME desktop, which is bad.
d) There is no easy way to change back to the normal behavior

I propose that, if you are totally convinced you should have something like this
in the release (as MSW has said, having lots of windows is confusing, and i
agree on that point, as most normal users won't middle-click), that we should
switch to nautilus browser mode by default, because.
a) This is a standard GNOME option that people are aware of
b) It is clearly user-configurable
c) It is far less usably broken because, because
   a) it features a toolbar with back/up buttons
   b) It's interface is not inconsistent.

Please reconsider, browser mode is far more usable and less confusing, and would
appear to new users as some kind of "new feature" rather than something thats
broken and confusingly changed since last release.

Xan Lopez (xan) wrote :

Others have commented before, but anyway:
This change is, IMHO, severely broken in form and content. It's broken in form
because it was introduced in the last minute with a quite questionable rationale
behind it. It's broken in content because it completely ignores a basically
immutable user interface design principle, windows do *not* close without user
interaction, and because it forces users to form a mental map of their directory
hierarchy with a tool less than ideal to do so, a spatial window.

My 5c for the revert of this change.

It's April 6th, 15:56 UTC, and there's no response for the Ubuntu team about
this *serious* problem.

And Hoary releases on April 8th.

What's the matter? Is the bug remain in the final stable Hoary release?

Why the bug isn't resolved? And why Ubuntu team continues with this silence?

A rather disconsolated Ubuntu user :(

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

Ricardo - please read the bug comments. As far as the Ubuntu team goes the buck
stops here.

Billy Charlton (billy) wrote :

(In reply to comment #54)
> Ricardo - please read the bug comments. As far as the Ubuntu team goes the buck
> stops here.

I'm glad the high ups are reading these comments -- makes me glad to keep
evangelizing Ubuntu and contributing in my small ways!

I just reread the whole thread. Surely the sheer number of comments to this
bug, almost all of which describe specific reasons for reversing the change --
including use cases, ancillary bugs, and major usability issues -- will sway the
team to reconsider. ;-)

(In reply to comment #54)
> Ricardo - please read the bug comments. As far as the Ubuntu team goes the buck
> stops here.

Thanks for your answer. I'm happy to see the Ubuntu team is listening to us.

I'm sure you and the rest of the Ubuntu team will do the best for the Ubuntu
community.

And sorry for my very bad English :)

Ryan Lortie (desrt) wrote :

As I see it: if you're a normal Ubuntu user at this point, there are only two
nautilus modes:

1) Traditional GNOME 'browser' mode.
2) Ubuntu-spatial.

You can pick between these options in a fully-translated ready-to-go preference
box that has existed for a couple of years. For all intents and purposes, to
the normal user, traditional GNOME spatial does not exist. It's also reasonable
to assume that not everyone will find the neat tricks to open separate windows
in the new spatial mode (either middle-double-click or shift-click).

Now -- that being said: The choice between browser and spatial mode, up to this
point, has basically been a simple one. If you like having lots of separate
windows open you pick spatial. If you prefer to have one window open, you go
browser. You have a choice. Under to the new system, there is no choice. You
are forced to always have a single window open. The people who like having
separate folders open are given the shaft (unless they know about the gconf magic).

Another way of looking at this: if you want only one window open then why don't
you just use browser mode? It's far more powerful anyway.

Furthermore, as stated (many times) above, the change makes Ubuntu fundamentally
different from GNOME boxes everywhere. Coming to an Ubuntu box from any other
GNOME distribution (even from Warty!), I'd find myself wondering why Nautilus
was so unstable that the parent crashed every time I opened a new folder. I
didn't tell it to quit in any way (either by pressing the close button, or
selecting a 'quit' menu item). It just closed on its own. I seem to recall
that one time I had trouble with my word processor and it would suddenly close
on its own like this. How annoying.

All of these reasons aside, the new mode itself is fundamentally flawed in a lot
of ways:

1) In spatial, everything on the system is supposed to be an object. Opening an
image object opens an image viewer. Opening a folder object opens a folder
viewer. Why is it that the window stays open when I open one type of object (an
image) but not another (a folder). In vanilla spatial, left click has always
meant "this window stays open" and middle has always meant "this window will
close now". Please make this behaviour consistent either one way or the other
in the new mode.

2) Why doesn't the desktop close when I open a folder off of it? (admittedly, a
bit nit-picky).

3) If you're navigating a deep hierarchy of folders and you click on a folder to
which you don't have access, then you're screwed. In addition to the new folder
not opening, the original one is now gone too. Very frustrating.

These strange problem cases always occur when big changes are made this late in
the game. There probably exist a lot more that I haven't even thought of.

Many people on this bug have made quite a case for why this shouldn't be in
Hoary. At the very least, please postpone this change until Breezy so that it
can be better thought out.

Paul Drain (pd) wrote :

Adding a me-too to the "Please think about this a bit more..."

As a physically handicapped user of the GNOME desktop (I can use two fingers
from ten total) -- this change just made my browsing experience a whole lot harder.

Usually to access the 'parent window' function in GNOME, I have to rest a book
on the ALT key, so that the two available fingers can press the shift and left
brace key (the combination of which, makes an up arrow on this particular
variant of keyboard) -- sometimes, this can get very frustrating (the book falls
off, my hand locks up, etc), so I forget it and use the folder option in the
bottom left-hand corner to pick the directories I need to navigate through, pin
the windows to the desktop and use the touchpad with the accessibility options
turned on to drag and drop files to where I need them.

With the new behaviour (sans-gconf change, I wanted to keep my machines as
vanilla as possible), it's impossible for me to move files around on the
desktop, because I can no longer use the "On Top" command to pin the windows,
and shifting between directories using the folder dropdown makes the existing
folder vanish anyway, which means my choices are limited to right-click
copy-and-pasting, which takes a lot of work for someone who needs to push the
mouse around with the same finger they are required to click with.

As for the change itself, I can see how it means less desktop real estate is
taken up -- always good on an 800x600 laptop monitor, but that's about the only
positive I can get out of it. [1]

[1] ...and if desktop panel space is at a premium, using the 'Always Group
Windows' option in the Window List Preferences would probably have been a better
way to go.

Vincent Untz (vuntz) wrote :

Mark: is there some rationale somewhere for this change? I think it'd be worth
having a link that explains why this change was made, why this is the right
decision, etc.

I'm also wondering why you did not choose to make nautilus default to the
browser mode, with the sidebar and the location bar hidden. This really looks
like what I understand you want (which can be different from what you really want).

(In reply to comment #57)
> As I see it: if you're a normal Ubuntu user at this point, there are only two
> nautilus modes:
>
> 1) Traditional GNOME 'browser' mode.
> 2) Ubuntu-spatial.
3) Regular Gnome spatial.

Normal spatial is a few mouse clicks away. In gconf -> apps/nautilus/preferences
and check the "no_ubuntu_spatial" box. It took you about one minute to fix this
horrible (it's-the-)end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it issue. Your redundant message
probably too you far longer to write, BTW ;)

Corey Burger (corey.burger) wrote :

I don't really think the last message was really in the best of spirits, but
regardless, a gconf key is not really an answer on its own. Your average user is
never going to want to change that, even if they discover it, which is unlikely.

(In reply to comment #60)
> (In reply to comment #57)
> > As I see it: if you're a normal Ubuntu user at this point, there are only two
> > nautilus modes:
> >
> > 1) Traditional GNOME 'browser' mode.
> > 2) Ubuntu-spatial.
> 3) Regular Gnome spatial.
>
> Normal spatial is a few mouse clicks away. In gconf -> apps/nautilus/preferences
> and check the "no_ubuntu_spatial" box. It took you about one minute to fix this
> horrible (it's-the-)end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it issue. Your redundant message
> probably too you far longer to write, BTW ;)

Yes, but you must admit that it's not the best solution for the newbies. Ubuntu
is a desktop-oriented distro, AFAIK, and I think we must to tend the new
(probably newbie) users.

I think apps/nautilus/preferences/no_ubuntu_spatial must be checked by default.
Those users who wants Ubuntu-spatial, has it a few mouse clicks away :)

(In reply to comment #62)
> I think apps/nautilus/preferences/no_ubuntu_spatial must be checked by default.
> Those users who wants Ubuntu-spatial, has it a few mouse clicks away :)

This is completely fine by me, as I would completely accept spending 1 minute to
change it.

The problem here is people who cannot accept that what they prefer (I still have
problems accepting people actually like default spatial Gnome behavior, but it's
another story) was not choosen as the default setting by developers. Most
posters didn't even bother researching the issue, as the gconf key was mentioned
quite a few times already. This shows lack of respect for the developers work.

Besides, could people could stop the "newbie" argument ? Newbies get their stuff
setup for them by a more experienced friend / their admin. This person can
probably manage to check the appropriate box, or is it still too difficult ?
Isn't getting MP3/DVDs/3D/etc working actually somewhat harder, or do you thing
Mr Newbie will want to accept something which cannot do MP3/DVDs/3D/etc like his
Windows did ?

If this is still a problem for you, I think it might be time to choose another
distribution, as Mark has stated many times that this will not be fixed.

Corey Burger (corey.burger) wrote :

A couple of notes:
1.Remy, I find your tone to be a little hostile, but that may not be your intent.
2. In any case, most new users do not have somebody to set them up. And in any
case, we should be choosing a good default so that they don't need someone to
set them up.
3. As for the setting up other things, feel free to come help us out at the
Documentation Team to get people set up with things that Ubuntu cannot legally
distribute.
4. Mark has stated how he feels about it, but has never stated that he will not
change it.

(In reply to comment #63)
> (In reply to comment #62)
> > I think apps/nautilus/preferences/no_ubuntu_spatial must be checked by default.
> > Those users who wants Ubuntu-spatial, has it a few mouse clicks away :)
>
> This is completely fine by me, as I would completely accept spending 1 minute to
> change it.

I can accept this time spend, too. But I don't talk for me, but for those who
can't/don't know how to do it. Maybe the (partial) solution could be simply to
add an option in Nautilus preferences dialog box, which could be easier than to
change gconf keys.

> The problem here is people who cannot accept that what they prefer (I still have
> problems accepting people actually like default spatial Gnome behavior, but it's
> another story) was not choosen as the default setting by developers. Most
> posters didn't even bother researching the issue, as the gconf key was mentioned
> quite a few times already. This shows lack of respect for the developers work.
>
> Besides, could people could stop the "newbie" argument ? Newbies get their stuff
> setup for them by a more experienced friend / their admin.

Not always, IMO.

> Isn't getting MP3/DVDs/3D/etc working actually somewhat harder, or do you thing
> Mr Newbie will want to accept something which cannot do MP3/DVDs/3D/etc like his
> Windows did ?

Navigating across the filesystem is a more basic thing than do MP3/DVDs/3D, IMO.
Not all people wants/needs MP3, but anyone (probably) wants to navigate across
their folders/files.

> If this is still a problem for you, I think it might be time to choose another
> distribution, as Mark has stated many times that this will not be fixed.

Yes, sadly, you could be right, but I think this matters are that makes free
software so wonderful, besides I remains an Ubuntu user or not.

Peace.

James Henstridge (jamesh) wrote :

(In reply to comment #42)
> Whether or not you/I like this new "spatiallity" I'd like to propose a better
> solution than both the upstream and the Ubuntu one...
>
> *Single left-click to close parent behind you. Double left-click to keep parent.*

This solution is not workable, since the single click action conflicts with the
double click action. Remember that a double click is composed of two single
clicks, so the parent window would disapear half way through the double-click.
There would be similar problems if you reversed the actions, if the subfolder
window opened over the parent folder window.

The normal single click selects / double click activates set up doesn't suffer
from this, since the select action does not interfere with the activate action.

It is possible to assign conflicting actions to single click and double click,
but it has some usability problems (as well as being unexpected). You can't
perform the single click action until either the maximum double click time
interval is reached, or the mouse is moved far enough for the next click not to
register as a double click. This results in the single click action seeming
sluggish.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

> Besides, could people could stop the "newbie" argument ? Newbies get their
> stuff setup for them by a more experienced friend / their admin.

That solution doesn't scale past a few tens of millions of users, up to
non-geeks buying computers with Ubuntu preinstalled and no "admin" in sight. It
doesn't even work right now, since the average geek admin likely prefers browse
mode anyway, and doesn't realize that non-geeks better understand a system in
which objects stay where you left them.

> Isn't getting MP3/DVDs/3D/etc working actually somewhat harder, or do you
> thing Mr Newbie will want to accept something which cannot do
> MP3/DVDs/3D/etc like his Windows did ?

Think positively: Providing a system that, by default, discourages non-expert
use is one way of preventing MP3/DVD inaccessibility from ever becoming a major
issue.

(In reply to comment #66)
> (In reply to comment #42)
> > Whether or not you/I like this new "spatiallity" I'd like to propose a better
> > solution than both the upstream and the Ubuntu one...
> >
> > *Single left-click to close parent behind you. Double left-click to keep
parent.*
>
> This solution is not workable...

I am aware of problems with this, but I think it would be implementable (is that
a word?). The parent should not close after the doubleclick time had been
exeeded. One could also opt to reverse the functionality of single and double
clicks. The first click pops up the folder while another one closes it. But I
know there's usbalility issues still.

I've been thinking more about this. Maybe single click browser mode without
borders, where double click brings up a spatial window would be even better...
This doesn't close windows unexpectedly at least.

Point being: If we are to deviate from upstream, then we might as well be more
ingenious than the current solution.

tvelocity (tvelocity) wrote :

I just updated my system... first thing i wanted to do, was to check if the bugs
introduced by this new ubuntu-spatial mode had been fixed. Guess what: they have
been not. From the loads of bugs known, i could track just ONE fixed bug. So i
wonder, if these *lots* of bugs didn't get fixed till now, will the ubuntu
developers have time to fix all of them until release, *tomorow*? Is this really
for the best of ubuntu?

Symbol (asarpeshkar) wrote :

Just upgraded to the final. Ubuntu-spatial is still the default, and it's still
inconsistent/buggy/hackish. Ex: The computer window follows old spatial
behaviour (double left click=open in new window, double middle click=close old
window, open new window), while the rest of the filesystem doesn't. This is a
really bad idea for new users and shows a lack of polish.

Nicolas da Luz Duque (hot-boy) wrote :

(In reply to comment #51)
> I am against this change for a number clear-cut reasons
>
> a) This was a last minute change, these kind of major usability changes at the
> last minute are bad, at the very least this should be considered in breezy.
> b) The current patch is incomplete and confusing, for example the backspace key
> doesn't close behind, which is the reverse behavior.
> c) This makes the ubuntu desktop differ from the GNOME desktop, which is bad.
> d) There is no easy way to change back to the normal behavior

I totally agree on that, but I'd like to hear the ubuntu deciders' point of
view. How can we be convinced that it is indeed the best solution when we don't
hear any arguments? Maybe the developpers have very good reasons for it to be
the default nautilus behaviour, but for now I don't see them.

(In reply to comment #63)
> The problem here is people who cannot accept that what they prefer was not
choosen as the default setting by developers.

This has norhing to do with what we prefer. I admit I prefer the Gnome behaviour
for nautilus, but the workaround works fine and I had it settled in 30 seconds.
It's not a problem FOR ME, it can be a problem for other ubuntu users. If I post
here, it's not to "bitch" about ubuntu or something. (I love ubuntu and
evangelize it as much as I can.) So if I post here, it is also for me a way to
contribute to ubuntu, to (try to) make it more user friendly, the same way one
would make a bug report.

> Besides, could people could stop the "newbie" argument ? Newbies get their stuff
> setup for them by a more experienced friend / their admin. This person can
> probably manage to check the appropriate box, or is it still too difficult ?

Maybe it is the case now, but ubuntu shouldn't rely on that. I believe one of
ubuntu's goals is to make it easy for the end-user, not more difficult.

> Isn't getting MP3/DVDs/3D/etc working actually somewhat harder, or do you thing
> Mr Newbie will want to accept something which cannot do MP3/DVDs/3D/etc like his
> Windows did ?
>

It is indeed more difficult. But unfortunately ubuntu can't do anything about it
because of the patents.
We are here talking about an issue about which ubuntu _can_ do something, and I
think they should.

Thanks again to all the developpers' team for their incredible work and to Mark
Shuttleworth without who none of this would be possible. You're doing a great
work and this minor issue is really nothing compared to all the terrific
features in ubuntu. I find the "you can install another distro" reaction
excessive! I just feel a little sorry for the users who'll encounter problems
because of this.

John McCutchan (ttb) wrote :

I'd like to see some justification (rational, usability testing, etc) for this
change. I don't understand how such a huge change could be made without having
any of the research to backup the decision.

Dave Neary (dneary) wrote :

As an alternative to the current behaviour, it might be better to ship Ubuntu
with Nautilus defaulting to standard browser mode, with spatial as an option?
This would appear to address most of the complaints about deviation from
standards, as well as addressing Mark's concern that spatial mode is annoying to
most users.

Dave.

Please, take a look at http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2005/04/11/ubuntu ("My first 48
hours enduring Ubuntu 5.04").

It's a Canonical employee's blog, who works as an interface designer, and in
this blog entry, he looks for 69 usability flaws.

Please, look at usability flaw #37.

Mårten Woxberg (maxmc) wrote :

Thank you Ricardo Peréz López, I was just about to post that myself, how come the interface designer of the company
NOT have been asked before such a change is done, and then Mark says that he belives HE has done the right choice and that
WE (as in Ubuntu team) will stick with it.

They have proven no research at all for breaking the spatial-way. If you open your drawer and take out one box of
chocolates does the drawer close by itself? NO! It stays open until you close it.

What they should provide though is a small button that closes all parent windows so that you can do this if you don't want
to double-middleclick or shift-click on a folder.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Simple answer: I am not "the interface designer of the company". I was hired to
work on Launchpad, not Ubuntu. We disagree on this issue, but it's really none
of my business.

Mårten Woxberg (maxmc) wrote :

Ok, sorry for the mixup. I still think you are right :)

John C Barstow (jbowtie) wrote :

Hi, everybody. Soory if I'm late to the party but I've only just figured out
that this is the source of my problems. This bug has caused major pain for me,
and lost me several users I had just converted from Windows.

I have several issues with this change.

1) Users cannot use drag-and-drop file management anymore. I switched back to
the command line.
2) The change was made without documentation. I had at least one user convinced
that this was a virus screwing with his "more secure" Linux system. He has gone
back to Windows.
3) There is no UI to get back the original funtionality.
4) I've seen several usability studies done on spatial mode. I have seen none
regarding the new functionality.
5) The change was made to existing systems as a result of an upgrade. This is
breaking functionality for existing users without warning (as opposed to new
systems where people may not be used to a way of doing things. Again, the lack
of documentation or discussion greatly exaggerated the pain.

If Canonical cannot supply any data justifying this change, they should back
down and revert the default. If they *can* show data, they should at least
supply documentation and a GUI option before I lose more recent converts. In the
meantime I will be advising people against using this distribution.

Ben Roe (ben-ubuntu-benroe) wrote :

I hadn't realised this was an intentional change - I upgrade around April 1st,
so thought it was just an April Fool's joke about all the spatial nautilus
argument initially. Please revert it: it combines the worst of the browser and
spatial modes. Great blog entry from Matthew Thomas, by the way.

Sean Middleditch (elanthis) wrote :

The Ubuntu spatial mode offers not a single advantage over browser mode, and
makes actual spatial usage extremely difficult. I'd go so far as to argue that
this change breaks the spatial metaphor; new windows position in _relation_ to
parent windows provides a lot of the context that makes spatial mode work. I
myself am a browser-mode user. As someone who switched away from spatial mode
because of the excessive window opening, I still find your ill-conceived spatial
mode hack to be even MORE difficult to use - it took the only advantage spatial
mode had and threw it out the window, while still not being as easy to browse
with as browser mode.

Mark, if you dislike spatial mode, why have your developers waste time
maintaining a patch that spatial users don't like and that browser users will
still shun in favor of real browser mode? Make the Ubuntu Nautilus default to
browser mode instead of breaking spatial mode.

Joey Reid (jreid) wrote :

This change makes Ubuntu really broken - new users will find this confusing,
because not only is it the wrong bechaviour, but it is like no other file
manager/shell they may have ever used. I had been telling everyone that I know
that was going to "try linux" to use Ubuntu, but now I can't do that unless I am
willing to help them install it so I can "fix" it immediate. This was poor, poor
judgement.

Sorry for the "me too" post, but this is the only way I know of to let the
Ubuntu team know how bad this is.

John Meuser (meuserj) wrote :

I"m going to post a me-too post as well.. I really think this issue needs to be
addressed. I am a spatial mode convert. While I first was annoyed by the idea,
I forced myself to use in order to better judge it and now see how easy it makes
many tasks. I know that a lot of people prefer browser mode, and that's fine.
But this abomination combines problems of both spatial and browser mode. If you
really think users are too annoyed by the window problem of spatial, then use
browser as default, and spatial fans can switch it if they wish. I am the
author of http://gnomejournal.org/article/13/the-liberal-arts-major-test and
when I upgraded her to Hoary, that was the first thing she complained about.
Providing a gui option to turn it off is not good enough. It should be off by
default.. either use the browser paradigm or the spatial paradigm, this
bastardization is completely unusable. I have been an Ubuntu user since before
Warty was released and I am discusted by the fact that this change was snuck
into Hoary just as it was released. This is a major UI change and you didn't
even give the community a chance to provide feedback before the release. I feel
that one of Ubuntu's advantages over Debian is the fact that the developers are
much more in touch with their users, and provided a much more welcoming
community, please keep it that way and stop doing stunts like this.

"Me too".

The original behaviour allows everyone to do everything, though users who don't know about the magic shift key will
clutter their screen more than necessary.
With the new behaviour, novice users will have a hard time copying/moving files between different folders.

Glen Stampoultzis (gstamp) wrote :

Really don't like the new way of doing things. Seems that most people don't
either. Please change it back to the default in the next release.

Dave Neary (dneary) wrote :

Re: comment #84

That's a non sequitur ("does not follow"). While I also don't like the new way,
it is reasonable to think that those who *do* like it would not comment on this
bug. It's possible that Canonical have had lots of feedback we haven't heard
about praising them for this change.

Yeah, I too think this is the wrong decision, for most of the reasons listed above.
I'd like to add (and I really did read all those posts so as not to dup) a
detail: for many new users, the right and middle buttons don't exist --
especially the middle button (on most mice, it's a _scroll wheel_, which only
happys to also act like a button).
Picture a user with a one-button mouse (i.e. with ubuntu on mac hardware, or
just a newbie who never uses the other two buttons). With the old behavior, they
are faced with two many windows. They can close the extra windows by dragging
their mouse the big X in the upper right and closing it. They might be annoyed,
but they would know what to do.
With the new ubuntu-mode, a user who wants to have a parent and child open at
the same time has no recourse. Or rather, the only recourse they have is to open
the child, and then open the parent by using the little un-button-like button in
the lower left-hand corner. In other words, they don't really have a way to have
parent and child open at the same time.
As stated countless times, this undoes the main advantage of spatial browsing.
Anyway, I just installed ubuntu for a brand new computer user (who will be
taught to use a computer by a daughter familiar with Mac OS), not having
realized this change had been made. I'm disappointed to realize his browsing
will be complicated by default (and I'm not at all confident I can explain to
the daughter how to navigate gconf and change the default).
I would love to see this changed back. I'd also like to hear what this
advantages ubuntu-spatial offers over browser-mode.

See PC-World article at
http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,120520,00.asp. Look at "You Know
What They Say About Every Rose...". There is another "me too" post :)

Mike Feeney (graue) wrote :

Hi, I'm a relatively new GNU/Linux user, who just picked up Ubuntu last month...
I'd like to add another "me too" post. Reading over the past comments it seems
to me that there are two use cases:

1. Dragging and dropping a file (move, copy)
2. Finding a file

The spatial mode is best for #1 and the browser mode is best for #2. So... why
add a third mode that makes #1 impossible and #2 less convenient? I don't get
it. I think either the browser mode or the normal spatial mode should be the
default.

Also I've never used "gconf" before, didn't know how it was organized or how to
use it, and the help file tells me that since I'm not an experienced user I
shouldn't try to use it. If I hadn't happened to see this bug page, it would
have taken much more than a few mouse clicks to find and fix it. Thanks :)

Matt Zimmerman (mdz) wrote :

*** Bug 17603 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

This upload fixes this issue, thanks to Mark :)

nautilus (2.11.4-0ubuntu2) breezy; urgency=low

  * debian/patches/02_ubuntuspatial.patch:
    - default spatial mode is upstream one.
  * debian/patches/05_defaultsettings.patch:
    - rename from 05_desktop_icons.patch, default mode is browser now.

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