update-notifier inappropriately uses an indicator menu if xubuntu-desktop is installed

Bug #947008 reported by Matthew Paul Thomas on 2012-03-05
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
update-notifier (Ubuntu)
Brian Murray

Bug Description

update-notifier 0.118.1ubuntu1, apport 1.93-0ubuntu2, Ubuntu 12.04 beta 1

1. Install xubuntu-desktop (for example, for someone else to use on the same computer).
2. Log in to a Unity session.
3. Trigger a crash (e.g. at a terminal, "sh -c 'kill -SEGV $$'").
4. Wait for software updates to become available.

What happens:
3. A red explosion menu appears, and a notification bubble saying "An application has crashed on your system (now or in the past). Click on the notification icon to display details."
4. An orange starburst menu appears, with miscapitalized items "Show updates", "Install all updates", etc.

What's wrong with this:
* There's no point in showing a menu that contains only an item to open an alert box, instead of just opening the alert box.
* No, it wasn't an application that crashed, it was a terminal command.
* "(now or in the past)" is awkward.
* "Click on the notification icon"? What's a "notification icon"?
* We know that a tiny orange starburst isn't enough to get people to install updates promptly.
* It doesn't follow the design specification in either case.

This bug has two causes. First, there exists a dconf key com.ubuntu.update-notifier.auto-launch, and update-notifier goes off the reservation if the key is set to false. And second, xubuntu-desktop installs a /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/20_xubuntu-default-settings.gschema.override that sets auto-launch=false, even if you aren't using a Xubuntu session yourself.

This is an example of the cost of implementing settings that shouldn't exist. Dealing with errors, showing updates, installing updates, and accessing the update settings are all the same number of clicks from the respective dialog as they are from the menus, if any other windows are in front of the dialog when it opens, or even fewer clicks if no windows are in front of it.

The indicator menus and the com.ubuntu.update-notifier.auto-launch setting should be removed. If the Xubuntu developers want different behavior, they should implement their own notifier. Fixing this would also resolve bug 249367, bug 263513, bug 280387, bug 322238, bug 752017, bug 891421, bug 906826, bug 917200, and bug 934517; and probably also bug 414202, bug 654553, and bug 987202.

Related branches

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :
Jason Conti (jconti) wrote :

Please do not remove com.ubuntu.update-notifier.auto-launch, it is terribly annoying to have a dialog pop up when you are working on other tasks. The icon is nice in that it alerts that new updates are available, and I should install them as soon as I get a chance.

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
flamma (flamma-member) wrote :

I agree with Jason. The update manager dialog is annoying and slows my system. I prefer to launch it when I think it's a good moment.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

If a dialog pops up when you are working on other tasks, that is a bug that should be fixed in the window manager, not something that should be worked around with a hidden configuration key in every one of the many programs that need to open windows unprompted. Not only would that be gratuitously inefficient, it wouldn't even help most of the people experiencing the problem, because they wouldn't know the key exists. And that the Update Manager dialog is currently slow is similarly a bug that exists regardless of when it opens.

description: updated
summary: - update-notifier inappropriately uses an indicator menu
+ update-notifier inappropriately uses an indicator menu if xubuntu-
+ desktop is installed
description: updated
description: updated
Evan (ev) on 2012-11-01
tags: added: whoopsie-daisy
Steve Langasek (vorlon) on 2013-05-09
Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Brian Murray (brian-murray)
status: Triaged → In Progress
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package update-notifier - 0.136

update-notifier (0.136) saucy; urgency=low

  [ Steve Langasek ]
  * If the /var/lib/update-notifier/fsck-at-reboot stamp file is older than
    the current uptime, any information about fscking at "next boot" is
    definitely stale - so force a refresh. LP: #692355.

  [ Brian Murray ]
  * Remove support for choosing not to auto-launch applications (LP: #947008)
  * Remove reboot required notification as update-manager itself indicates
    when a reboot is required and it only appeared when auto-launch was set to
  * Move update-notifier checking for CDs with packages into a new binary
  * Add an upstart user session job that runs upon CD insertion
  * Remove sections of uevent related to hp firmware and replace them with an
    upstart user session job
  * Modified avahi disabled notification to run as an upstart user session
  * Modified new release check to run as an upstart user session
  * Added in a weekly cron job to check for a new release of ubuntu
  * Added an upstart user session job to check for crashes
  * Ensure we ask before launching a pkexec dialog for an apport crash
 -- Brian Murray <email address hidden> Tue, 04 Jun 2013 10:08:21 -0700

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Released
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