Comment 464 for bug 332945

R. Steve McKown (rsmckown) wrote :

I recently upgraded from Kubuntu 10.10 to Ubuntu 10.10. I find the new update notification "window" method far inferior to the "icon" method (I update regularly and timely). I have seen the updater pop up one time so far, and that was over a week ago. Please read on.

1. The update window is disruptive to my workflow. Updates can cause system instability, so I don't do them until lunch, end of day, etc. The window offers me no benefit but costs me an interruption in my work.

2. I dismissed the update notifier window, but I received no future notification of updates being available! This over a week with the system shut down and powered up several times. So, I completely forgot about updates being available and didn't notice this condition until I interacted with Synaptic to install a new package.

3. Sometimes an update requires a reboot. I do hope this situation triggers an icon in the notification tray rather than the window approach used to initiate an update. The alternatives of having to reboot on the spot or remembering to do it later without any helpful prompt seem unreasonable.

While update notification may need some improvement, this step seems to be an obvious step in the wrong direction. E-mails don't automatically open upon receipt. Heck, my telephone doesn't automatically answer when it receives a call. I think the cure is worse than the disease.

My desktop is my point of interaction with all things virtual. I decide what thing is the most important to next interact with, and what interruption I take vs. which I defer to later. User unsolicited pop-up windows serve to do more harm than good in any workflow scenario I can think of. Please consider reverting this 'feature'. This is a slipperly slope that does not lead to a good place.

In reviewing this thread, I find the reasons why this change is bad to be generally reasonable. Additionally, I find the justifications for the change to be bordering on rationalization. I'd like to respond to this message: regarding the reasons as to why the pop-up window solution is a good idea.

*point* The basic reason is that it's more obvious: a 22*22-pixel icon in the
"notification area" could never convey the idea that there are software
updates available to a usefully large proportion of our users, no matter
how good the icon designer was. An actual sentence saying "Software
updates are available for this computer" can do a much better job

*response* This is uncomfortably shaky logic. A new user only has to figure this out once. We would never consider it a productivity benefit to have the e-mail client auto-open urgent messages. If notification behavior is changing because users aren't updating fast enough, the root cause has nothing to do with the fact that users don't know which icon to press.

*point* a notification bubble pointing atxthe icon... they disappear
           after a few seconds
*point* or they persist and get in the way of whatever else you're
           working on.
*point* if two of them happen to appear pointing at different
           icons simultaneously, the bubbles collide messily.
*point* To prevent these problems from recurring, Ubuntu's new
           notification system does not allow bubbles to point at icons
           ... new users would have been trying to click on the icon
           inside the bubble itself ...

*response* These are all issues with the notification system. Issues here affect not just the update notifier, but all users of the notification system. Solving update notification by avoiding the notification feature to do something unique is a double-bad: there are now variances in system behavior that are probably unnecessary, and time is spent 'fixing' one notifier that could have been invested in improving the facility for all. These strike me as rationalizations. My 'favorite' is saying that bubbles "get in the way". Surely an app window many times larger is worse! Or the window pops under and is hidden!

*point* ... it's less work for users.
Instead clicking a little icon in the panel then clicking an "Install"
button, you just click the "Install" button.

*response* IMO, the disruption in my use of the desktop by an unsolicited window open is far worse than having to make a second click!

*point* Even if you really don't
want to install updates just now, the close button for the updates
window is larger than the close button in the old bubble was.

*response* Not a point. Bubbles dismiss themselves.

*point* As Siegfried has described, if you don't want to use Update Manager at
all, you can turn off the automatic checking.

*response* The comment isn't related to the issue at hand. The point is not how to disable notifications, but how to improve them.

I think a better solution is to return to using the standard notification system, fixing whatever usability problems exist with it to the benefit of all notifiers. Frankly, I find 10.10 to be pretty decent in this regard, but I can see how improvements could be made. The update notifier app itself could provide for some customization in the behavior of update disposition, similar to the already existing feature that allows automatic installation of security updates.

As for me, I've hopefully returned to the previous behavior with the gconf command suggested in this thread. I hope the developers reconsider this issue. I'd like to say it again: user unsolicited window opens are a very bad precedent to set!