Comment 106 for bug 332945

Strange, I sent a reply to this via email several hours ago, and it's not in the bug report.
Does replying to a bug via email work? I'll post it through the web, and my apologies
(and permission to delete one) if it shows up twice.

On Thu, 2 Apr 2009, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:

> John, one benefit of Ubuntu's package management system is that things
> like new virus definitions, new Java versions and so on can be combined
> into the single updates-available window, rather than appearing as
> separate windows.

Point taken, but 1 or N, it's still confusing to the user to be presented
with an application window that is not the direct result of an action
they've taken, or part an application they're currently running (and even
that's dubious).

> No, we have no plans to put up frequent reminders for restarting.
> <>

Good! Glad to hear it.

> "What's so wrong" with the updates-available icon is that it's not
> obvious.
> <>
> The e-mail analogy fails because the envelope icon is much more obvious.
> <>

So the real problem is that the bubble mechanism caused some people to click
on the bubble, and that there can never be a perfect icon. I don't
necessarily agree with that. By your appriach, any time the OS needs to
notify you of anything else besides mail: (how many other 'icons' are
universally acceptable? what's the one for web browser, for example? a
globe? a firefox logo?) would need to launch the full application as a pop
under to tell you whats going on.

People have been trained by using other OS's that if they don't understand
an icon, they hover over it, and a tooltip tells them what it means. If
you're willing to accept the training received from other OS's that the
envelope icon always means mail, then why is it so hard to accept other
things learned from those OS's.

> You make a good point about asking people to update when they are
> disconnected from the Internet. However, I don't know how we would
> distinguish between disconnected and unable to connect right now, and
> disconnected but able to connect if asked. If you have particular ideas
> about how that could be done, please report that as a separate bug.

It's an un-knowable. Even if the user has connectivity, perhaps they don't
want to update because they're on a metered line (3G modem, at a friends
house who has time warner cable modems, etc..). You can't know it, and
popping up the full application to the user when you can't know if it's a
good time or not does not make sense to me.

I'll note that the above post(s) don't really address the main thrusts of my
argument (I don't blame you, I shouldn't write rambling posts while going to

- That having a full, user-interactive application start up when the user
didn't ask it to (even minimised), is downright confusing and freightening
to the user, as they don't feel they have control over their own computer.
If we thought people were confused by notification bubbles, just wait until
full apps start popping up. Yes, update manager always ran before, but it
ran in the background, without requiring user interaction. u-m-n was
confined to a 22x22 pixel and was clearly

- The lack of persistance. I know you claim that having update manager open
is a persistent notification. I disagree. You can close update manager,
and have no visual queue/reminder that you have updates.

This conflation of 'notification' and 'action' may seem like a more
efficient idea on the surface, but I disagree that it's a good idea in this

Lets walk through some use cases, that might be constructive:

1) I want to know if there are updates ready for my computer:

   - Intrepid: 0 clicks, I check the notification area and can
                tell immediately if there are:
                - No updates, no icon
                - Non-critical updates, normal icon
                - Critical updates, red icon

                Total time: less than 1 second.

   - Jaunty: Mouse movement + 3 clicks + Desktop realestate. I grab
                my mouse, move it to the menus, click on
                System->Administration->Update manager. I then wait for
                UM to load, let it take up a third of my 1440x900 screen,
                just to see if the box is empty or not. I now have to
                move my mouse again to close the window.

                Total time on my fast box: 5 seconds

Case 1 assumes that my desire to look for updates doesn't align with the
time ubuntu thinks I should look for updates. It's also the worst case
scenario in this paradigm shift, as it assumes that the user is proactively
interested in updates. I would have assumed that the user saying during
install that they didn't want updates installed autmatically would have
indicated that, but perhaps not.

2) New updates are available, and update manager wants to tell me:

   - Intrepid: 0 clicks. Notification, and transient/slightly annoying
                bubble is on the screen for a short time. Mouse movement
                and 1 click to get rid of bubble sooner if desired.

   - Jaunty: If the updates are non critical, don't bother telling the
                user until some later time. Possibly saving up a lot of
                updates to make the actual install time a much longer

                If the updates are critical (or interval expired):
                0 clicks, update manager is started as a pop under window
                (or minimized window) with an urgent window hint so it
                pulses or something in my task bar. (will there also be a
                black box notification? I don't know). Mouse movement
                and 1 or 2 clicks close app if you want your screen
                real-estate back.

                Note also I don't run my apps full screen most of the
                time, so a 'pop-under' window might effect my normal
                work flow as it will disturb my screen real estate.

3) I want to install the new updates I've just been told about:

   - Intrepid: Mouse movement, 3 clicks (click on icon to start UM, click
                click on Update, click on close when done).

   - Jaunty: Mouse movement, 4+ clicks, (One or two mouse clicks to
                bring UM to the foreground, one click on scrollbar to see
                if there were any critical updates, one click on Update,
                one click to close.

                (I would also add in 'confusion time' of a second or two
                here as it would take me a moment or two to figure out why
                there's a window open on my desktop that I didn't ask to
                be there.)

4) There are updates, but I don't want to install them right now:

   - Intrepid: 0 clicks. 22x22pixel icon continues to remind me to do it
                at some point.

   - Jaunty: Either 0 clicks, because I don't know if there are updates
                or not because interval is not up.

                Or mouse movement, 2 clicks (bring UM to the front, then
                close it). I then have to remember, even on critical
                security updates, to go up and do use case one at some
                point in the future. Or, if my wife or kid is using
                my account at that time, and closes it and forgets to tell
                me, I'm still back at Case 1.

Yes, I'm biased here, as I think the jaunty way doesn't make a lot of sense.
But I think I'm pretty much on the mark with these use cases. I would
welcome someone's counter argument to them.