update-manager window behavior is annoying

Bug #200127 reported by Martin Olsson on 2008-03-09
8
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
One Hundred Papercuts
Undecided
Unassigned
update-manager (Ubuntu)
Wishlist
Unassigned

Bug Description

When I get updates in Ubuntu it shows me a progress bar while download and then another one while installing. Basically, the UI for this operation of way too intrusive and assumes that it's the primary task I'm doing right now. Almost all the time when I'm installing updates I'm actually doing something else, I never actually sit and watch these progress bars. In WIndows for instance, it asks you if you want to install new updates and then the updater moves to the system tray and stays out of my way very efficiently. Once the updates are installed I get a small popup baloon telling me that everything went well, that's all.

It would be nice if the patch installer / updater in Ubuntu could just stay out of my way in a similar fashion.

Iulian Udrea (iulian) wrote :

Marked as wishlist and assigned to update-manager package. Although you can move it to the other workspace so in this case you won't see what is actually doing.

Steve Dodier-Lazaro (sidi) wrote :

This bug is a serious usability drawback and has been here for over a year. The fix is yet easy : just pop-up the new windows without focus, just above the update-manager window. I'm taking upon myself to link it to One Hundred Paper Cuts.

Steve, can you explain more? You don't want to progress bars to display while you are doing updates because you usually put the update window in the background? Why do you care what is displayed inside the window in that case? It doesn't sound like a "serious usability drawback" to show a progress bar, but I would like to hear more.

Jim Salter (jrssnet) wrote :

Personally, I like the way update-manager works... if you don't want to watch the progress, the dialog can easily be placed in the background, so no problem.

Perhaps making a configurable option somewhere to default minimize update-manager, for users who are particularly offended by the sight of technical things happening?

Steve Dodier-Lazaro (sidi) wrote :

The current behaviour is that, when I have update-manager opened, and Firefox opened over it, update-manager's pop-ups with progress bars appear over the Firefox window, which usually forces me to refocus the Firefox window (it happens when downloading the packages, then when installing, afair).

What I would expect is either that this information isn't displayed in popups but in the main update-manager window (needs to redesign the GUI), or at least that the popup appear above update-manager but below any other application that is above update-manager.

PS : it may be useful to state that i'm using Xubuntu, and not Ubuntu. Maybe the behaviour I described doesn't appear in GNOME.

Steve, is this a duplicate of bug #67476? If so, can you please mark it as such?

Sancho Panza (prashanthr) wrote :

Dave, I agree with Steve and it is not exactly a duplicate. Here's why:
Once the update manager has been instructed to "install updates", it almost all the
time does its job without requiring the users inputs at all. So I dont see any point
in having a separate window dedicated to update manager which keeps blinking when
it switches from downloading to installing files. An unobtrusive notification icon should
work well.

Also, once it is done successfully installing all updates, the only available
buttons for a user to push are "check for updates" and "close". If the system has
just finished updates, why would a user want to immediately check for more updates?
If so, why does it sit around waiting for me to just click the close button (there is
nothing else a user can do with that window)?

What I'm suggesting is once the user has clicked the "install updates" button, minimize
update managers to the notif area and if everything goes well, display a notif bubble for a coupla
seconds. Bother the user only if something has not gone right with the updates.

Loïc Martin (loic-martin3) wrote :

Hopefully we keep the old behavior, at least as an option. I'd hate it if it started behaving like in Windows, and hid me information I want to see.

I actually want to know when it's finished downloading (and if not yet how long it's going to take) so I can close the connection when I'm on pay-per-time, and I also want to know when the updates have been applied so I know when I can start one of the programs that have gotten an update. There's plenty of other reasons of course, depending on the kind of updates and what I'm doing.

markba (mark-baaijens) wrote :

I'm in the habit to send the progress window to the background. So far so good. But when I have preview in compiz enabled, it shows the main windiws (without the progress bar), so I cannot see what the actual progress is through the preview window. The solution can have two directions: solve the compiz bug (it is showing a window which is not in the foreground), or move the progress bar to the main window, actually getting rid of the progress window in question. I'm for the latter solution, combining the two windows into one.

Paul Hoell (hoellp) wrote :

I think some you still don't understand the issue here...
It's not about showing a progressbar or anything, it's about the current behaviour of update-manager's windows. They keep popping up in front of the active window without needing any attention. And after finishing, there is no hint that it's done.
They way I think'd be most usefull is: You start the updateprocess, which integrates the progressbar in the main window of update-manager. Then you can either watch it or send it in the background. If you choose the second option, update-manager stays there until the updates are finished, without fishing for attention for nothing and gives a window-manager hint for errors and when finished.

Loïc Martin (loic-martin3) wrote :

@Paul: the description of the bug clearly states:
"In WIndows for instance, it asks you if you want to install new updates and then the updater moves to the system tray and stays out of my way very efficiently. Once the updates are installed I get a small popup baloon telling me that everything went well, that's all."
Then go on suggesting the same should happen in Ubuntu. There was also Sancho's post just above mine:
"What I'm suggesting is once the user has clicked the "install updates" button, minimize
update managers to the notif area and if everything goes well, display a notif bubble for a coupla
seconds. Bother the user only if something has not gone right with the updates."

It would be nice if the wouldn't disregard any other experience than their own when they decide that if they don't use a functionality themselves the system must be wrong to offer it. And as far as the Windows example goes, they don't offer virtual desktops, it doesn't make them any less valuable on a decent OS.

As far as stealing the focus is concerned, it's indeed something that could be avoided if the progress bar was inside the main updater window (but that also means working on a solution for Synaptic, which has the same "steal the focus" problem).

I personally find metacity "functionality" to let everything but their mom steal the focus far more annoying than this specific case. I just consider I'm not alone on this planet, some people must value it, and I'm completely free to use another window manager.

Loïc Martin (loic-martin3) wrote :

As a side note, there's a pretty simple trick to not have update-manager steal your focus: just open it on a separate virtual desktop, and it's out of the way for good. Still good to prevent it to open successive windows if we can get the progress bar in the main window, but in the meantime that might be nice to know for "straight from Windows" first time Linux users. Often something that pester you can be made completely irrelevant when you learn a bit more about the new OS.

Sancho Panza (prashanthr) wrote :

Based on some of the comments, looks like some people might be quite interested in what the updater is
doing, especially people who'd like to disconnect the network as soon as the downloads are done, or if you'd
like to restart any of the programs.

I propose this: Add check box(es) in the update manager window that allow user to
(1) specify whether the update manager minimizes to notif area and does its thing quitely and
(2) also specify whether it should automatically close when all updates are successfully installed.

The update manager already uses the notif area to inform the user about updates so I'm hoping
that making the above changes should only involve minimal coding.

Paul Hoell (hoellp) wrote :

@Loic
I read the posts, but I'm quite unfamiliar with Windows, but from what I remember and I see at work where I have to use it, the last thing we should do is mimic that sorry thing of an os...

The problem with opening update-manager on another desktop is, that the "checking" progressbars still pop up above my active window on my active desktop not on the one where update-manager is running.
Don't get me wrong, I'd appreciate a function to minimize to tray during updates, but don't force it there.

What I meant before was, the progressbars wouldn't matter if they weren't so intrusive and you shouldn't be noticed by a running update-manager except it needs user intervention or is finished. Be it in the tray or on the active desktop

Sancho Panza (prashanthr) wrote :

Rephrased bug title to be more representative of the actual bug.

summary: - ubuntu incorrectly believes I enjoy staring at progress bars
+ update-manager window behavior is annoying
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