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Old 12-29-2011, 07:06 PM
Nenad
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

On 12/29/2011 02:09 AM, Sean McNamara wrote:

Hi,

On Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 6:55 PM, Nenad<nenad_lecek@yahoo.com> wrote:

well, I'm using Ubuntu 11.10 and found really annoying to use Unity.
Open several windows (e.g. Netbeans, firefox, nautilus and gitk and try to
work efficiently with menus of each application, minimize/maximize window,
etc., Unity is just driving me crazy. It is simply unnatural. In case the
Unity is just one application that is seldom used, and not the central one,
you won't get my comments for sure.


Please remember that the definition of "natural" depends on what each
user is expecting, what they're used to in prior computing experience,
etc.
In case the user find the interface non-intuitive, or clumsy, the user
interface is broken for sure. You may try to convince people that they
need to upgrade their brain to be able to use your application. Good
luck in doing so. In other words, if you need to train people to use
your software, chances are that you still have potential to improve the
application user interface.


Unfortunately, Canonical and other organizations have done user
studies on the Gnome2 interface with people who aren't familiar with
computers _at all_, and found that Gnome2 is extremely
counter-intuitive for them, and takes a long time to learn. So as you
Most of us could probably agree that Linux distros were never known for
great user experience. Ubuntu was (before Unity :-) ) very good in
comparison to others Linux distros, but far behind the user experience
Apple under Steve Jobs delivered. Linux was for long time considered as
OS for nerds, IT experts, skilled software engineers, IT students and
similar audience. I agree that gnome panel is not really ready for
general usage. But this is still not the reason to remove it almost
completely.

can see, every desktop you could possibly design will be unnatural for
_someone_. Not even the most intelligent User Interface researchers
have found a way to objectively define "natural" in a way that it's
true for all human beings. Your own words serve to prove the point:
although Canonical made their best effort to make Unity natural for a
lot of people, and at least tolerable for almost everyone else, there
are still going to be people who absolutely abhor it. (Self included.)
You do not need that much intelligent User Interface researchers, you
need user interface designer(s) with very good taste, intelligence and
experience (e.g. Steve Jobs really pushed in that direction and Linux
distros could learn a lot from his work. Linux UIs have still a long way
to go.).


Although I just admitted that I hate Unity in terms of its actual
usability from *my* personal point of view, you might be surprised to
hear that I don't think it should be replaced as the default desktop
on Ubuntu! I think it should stay for the following reasons:

1. It makes Ubuntu unique. A distro that doesn't stand out is far less
likely to receive user loyalty and an above-average level of users,
because users will be able to have an equivalent experience elsewhere.
Sure, you run the risk of alienating users for being different; but
that's OK as long as the number of alienated users is very low.
This approach forces people to learn your design philosophy. My
experience shows that almost never worked out (exception is Apple, of
course). E.g. on Windows you have media player as an example of
different user interface design, which simply sucks. And many more
examples of failures coming from branding, skinning, etc.

2. I'm fairly confident that Canonical has done extensive usability
studies on new users (their main target market) and found that people
in the poor computer literacy category find it better than Gnome 2, if
not downright enjoyable. New users are the best opportunity for
Canonical, because they don't already have a ton of programs that only
run on Windows or Mac that a more experienced user would naturally
refuse to part with.
Canonical did quite good job with previous releases of Ubuntu, respect
for that, and personally I wish them to succeed in attracting the bigger
user base. But they should not neglect existing users, by pushing them
changes they do not need or even want. I started this thread just
because at the time of Ubuntu 11.10 announcement I read that Gnome
desktop is not anymore available for Ubuntu and the users are forced to
use Unity. And lost my nerves with Unity yesterday evening. From
replies, I've got, I know now that is still possible to get Gnome Panel
running with Ubuntu 11.10. Thank you for being supportive.

3. It's already there. Going back to Gnome would make Canonical the
laughing stock of the internet, for investing tons of money in a new
desktop, and then giving up on it and going back to the primarily Red
Hat and Novell-funded GNOME panel. Being "wishy-washy" is NOT a good
way to inspire confidence among the technically elite, who you
absolutely must have on your side to be successful (as some criminal
once said, "Developers, developers, developers...").
It is OK to promote new ideas but is less OK to force them. In my circle
I don't know any experienced IT professional who would recommend using
this new user interface. BTW, it doesn't look very original too.

4. It makes the distro choice completely obvious for those accustomed
to Gnome2. I have to thank Unity for making me try other Linux distros
instead of being satisfied with Ubuntu. I am completely happy with
Fedora, and have no intention of looking back. If Ubuntu had made it
blindingly easy for me to click a "Gnome Panel" radio button at
install-time, I might have never consciously thought that Ubuntu's
ability to satisfy my needs has reached unacceptable levels, and I
might not have discovered the awesome that is Fedora 16. I consider
that as Unity being helpful in its own way.
These thoughts to change distro I had yesterday before starting this
thread, but then decided that is better to provide some input for
improvements of Ubuntu than to silently leave.

5. Everyone at Canonical uses it to do development every day, so
clearly it is very productive for developers and power users.
I also use some applications at work my boss requested me to use and
therefore cannot publicly express my opinion about them.


OK, so some of those are expressing my own frustrations in a
satirical, tongue-in-cheek manner. Sorry if I stepped on any toes. I
really actually like Canonical as a company, and have pleasantly done
commercial business with them in the past. In fact, I think LaunchPad
is an amazing piece of software, and I use it regularly for my own
open source projects. I prefer Bazaar over almost any other version
control system (except Git, but there's no shame in losing out to
Linus Torvalds!). PPAs are a remarkable and easy to handle way for
distributing binaries. Canonical has had lots of great ideas and has
executed some of them extremely well!
No doubt, Canonical does really good work with Ubuntu. I'm criticizing
only decision to change to new user interface (Unity), without leaving
the choice to easy replace it with Gnome Panel.


But not Unity -- not for me. So because I didn't have the patience to
go back and fix Ubuntu to work like I expect a distro to
out-of-the-box, I simply installed a distro that _does_ work precisely
as I expect out of the box. And suddenly I felt at peace and didn't
need to complain to Canonical or anything.
My goal was to contribute to future version of Ubuntu by sending the
comment what is broken and could be improved. It is up to Canonical to
evaluate comment, prioritize and decide what they want to do with Ubuntu.


BTW, there is an alternative gnome2 menu extension for GNOME Panel
(not sure if it's been ported to Gnome3 yet, though) which lets you
search for programs and files, similarly to Unity or KDE4. OpenSUSE
has it installed by default, and I think so does Mageia. Fedora
doesn't, but I didn't need it so it doesn't bother me. I'm sure you
can dig up how to obtain it if you google.

As far as actually constructive suggestions for Canonical / "the Unity
team" (let's face it, they are>= 85% one in the same), I think these
features would help users like Nenad who try Ubuntu in the future:
1. In the desktop Live CD installer, sneak in a checkbox hidden under
an "Advanced" arrow at the bottom of a window, or something like that,
to enable classic gnome-panel mode as the default shell, regardless of
whether the user has 3d acceleration or not. Then, at least, you could
silence comments of "Unity can't be removed!" by retorting, "You
missed the Advanced menu in the installer, silly!" -- users are simply
much more likely to react with an "Oh.... sorry" to that, rather than
the current method for replacing Unity with gnome-classic. Also, if
that classic checkbox in the installer IS checked, be sure to disable
global menus and restore classic scrollbars instead of the pop-up
hovering outside the window! The reason to perform all of these
actions in response to a single checkbox is that>99.99999% of the
users who will check that checkbox are the same ones who DON'T want
global menus, and DO want classic scrollbars.

Of course, I'm expecting the reason for being unable to do this would
be some subset of the following counter-arguments:
1(a). Live CD space limitations. Can't fit gnome-panel in 700MB, or
can't fit the code for the added functionality, or both.
1(b). UI "clutter". Also takes the form of the following: Asking
questions is bad; giving users a choice is bad; letting users know
that there is possibly some reason why not everyone would want to use
Unity is bad; every user wants to feel like THEY are "advanced" so
users who have no idea will click the checkbox; etc. Yeah, yeah. I
can't argue against these kinds of backwards design philosophy; I can
only express my disagreement.
1(c). Lack of developer manpower. Also takes the form of: more
complexity adds more bugs; too late to add features to this release;
and so on. I can kind of understand this one, but if this is the only
counter-argument, I'd fully expect the feature to be implemented in
the following release, or at least scheduled for implementation at
some point in the future.

Old story says: there is a good reason and a real reason.


2. Hmm... there is no 2! At least, I can't think of one right now.
Adding a front-and-center option at install-time for going back to the
classic UI (basically how it was in 10.04 LTS) would be most
excellent, and would address the larger portion of gray-beard
objections to Unity.

True.


I don't think I really answered your question, and I kind of wavered
from the main topic, but hopefully you'll take away from this the
following TL;DR points:

1. Gnome2 (don't know about Gnome3) already has a third-party
extension for adding a search bar to the menu. Google it.
2. It's already easy to revert to classic gnome UI in Ubuntu, and you
can find the information posted prominently on ubuntu forums (among
other places). But it could be easier if they'd make an option at
install-time.
3. They probably *won't* make an option for the reasons I cited. Yes,
I'm a bit cynical, especially when it comes to asking Canonical to add
complexity to end-user screens
4. Don't want the hassle of undoing Unity? I'm 99% sure that one of
OpenSUSE | Fedora | Ubuntu 10.04 | RHEL 6 | Debian Stable would suit
you extremely well.
Actually, after reading answers in this thread, I googled for details
and managed to switch back to Gnome Panel + removed global menu. So, now
is everything fine again. I'm happy again. Nevertheless, switching
procedure could be simpler and supported by distro directly. Thank you
guys for answers!!!


And that's about it. So from one Unity-hater to another, I wish you
the best of luck, Nenad. And Canonical, I earnestly hope you guys are
successful at targeting the end-user segment, because Launchpad is too
useful to lose. I just hope you guys know what you're doing...

-Sean

P.S. -- I continue to support the software I develop on Ubuntu, even
though I don't use it personally. It installs well enough in a virtual
machine. So from my perspective, you haven't totally lost the
"developers, developers, developers" war, although having me use
another desktop day-to-day is certainly at least a lost _battle_...
*rambles*

Sean, many thanks for your comments and suggestions.




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Old 12-29-2011, 07:41 PM
Nenad
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

On 12/29/2011 02:35 AM, Alexander wrote:



On Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 8:10 PM, Jeremy Bicha <jeremy@bicha.net
<mailto:jeremy@bicha.net>> wrote:

On 28 December 2011 17:55, Nenad
<nenad_lecek@yahoo.com
<mailto:nenad_lecek@yahoo.com>> wrote:
> I do not see where to choose Gnome Panel. Again, I'm using Ubuntu
11.10. If
> I could remove Unity from my desktop and put Gnome panel instead
fine with
> me. But, because is far from obvious where&how to do it, you have my
> comments.

You can install gnome-panel from either Software Center, Synaptic, or
apt-get. Then on the login screen, click the gear button next to your
name and choose GNOME Classic. You might be a bit disappointed as
Ubuntu's nice indicator status menus weren't ported to gnome-panel for
Ubuntu 11.10 but they will be available in 12.04. By the way, you need
to hold down the Alt key (or if Compiz is running: Alt and the Windows
key) to customize gnome-panel 3's applets.

I don't recommend attempting to remove Unity.

> I have impression that the Unity is mandatory, simply because I
cannot find
> a way to switch back to Gnome Panel. So, if Gnome Panel is
available in
> Ubuntu 11.10 and Unity is not mandatory, fine. And again, Unity
was selected
> as a default option - bad choice, the user should have easier way
to switch
> between Unity and Gnome Panel.

In my limited experience, people new to Linux don't have a problem
with Unity especially if someone shows them how to use it. In fact, I
think it's a better experience for this user group than the classic
GNOME desktop. For a variety of reasons, Ubuntu will not provide
multiple desktops by default (basically for the same reasons Ubuntu
doesn't provide multiple web browsers or photo editors). However, a
variety of desktop interfaces and applications are available for easy
install in the Software Center.

Jeremy

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This thread is disappointing. There are some complaints about Ubuntu and
a lack of userability etc. If you don't like something about Ubuntu,
change it. Learn how to work with your Unix-like system. The mailing
list doesn't need to be filled with complaints providing no help or
useful information. If you like it, great! Get involved and make a
difference. If you don't like it, great! Get involved and understand how
the distribution is organized. Alternatively, you can leave and go to
something else. Enough complaining, it's not helpful.
Alexander




Alexander,
It was not about complaining at all. My intention was to provide
comments which could lead to improvements of next releases of Ubuntu. I
respect hard work of people who make Ubuntu possible. Because of that I
provided my comments. All I said is what I think is needed to improve.
My time schedule doesn't allow me now to jump in this problem solving.
And even more important, my comments are not about quality of
implementation, not about local fixes in code, they are about strategy
how to address the needs regarding user interface of different user
groups with Ubuntu. (beginners vs. IT experts)


FYI, most people kindly provided useful comments how to resolve my
problem, and I succeeded by following their advices.


I'm grateful to all of you who discussed and contributed to solve the
problem (solution to run Ubuntu 11.10 with Gnome Panel => happy with
Ubuntu again :-) ). Thank you.


Nenad



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Old 12-29-2011, 07:44 PM
Nenad
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

On 12/29/2011 02:35 AM, Alexander wrote:



On Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 8:10 PM, Jeremy Bicha <jeremy@bicha.net
<mailto:jeremy@bicha.net>> wrote:

On 28 December 2011 17:55, Nenad
<nenad_lecek@yahoo.com
<mailto:nenad_lecek@yahoo.com>> wrote:
> I do not see where to choose Gnome Panel. Again, I'm using Ubuntu
11.10. If
> I could remove Unity from my desktop and put Gnome panel instead
fine with
> me. But, because is far from obvious where&how to do it, you have my
> comments.

You can install gnome-panel from either Software Center, Synaptic, or
apt-get. Then on the login screen, click the gear button next to your
name and choose GNOME Classic. You might be a bit disappointed as
Ubuntu's nice indicator status menus weren't ported to gnome-panel for
Ubuntu 11.10 but they will be available in 12.04. By the way, you need
to hold down the Alt key (or if Compiz is running: Alt and the Windows
key) to customize gnome-panel 3's applets.

I don't recommend attempting to remove Unity.

> I have impression that the Unity is mandatory, simply because I
cannot find
> a way to switch back to Gnome Panel. So, if Gnome Panel is
available in
> Ubuntu 11.10 and Unity is not mandatory, fine. And again, Unity
was selected
> as a default option - bad choice, the user should have easier way
to switch
> between Unity and Gnome Panel.

In my limited experience, people new to Linux don't have a problem
with Unity especially if someone shows them how to use it. In fact, I
think it's a better experience for this user group than the classic
GNOME desktop. For a variety of reasons, Ubuntu will not provide
multiple desktops by default (basically for the same reasons Ubuntu
doesn't provide multiple web browsers or photo editors). However, a
variety of desktop interfaces and applications are available for easy
install in the Software Center.

Jeremy

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This thread is disappointing. There are some complaints about Ubuntu and
a lack of userability etc. If you don't like something about Ubuntu,
change it. Learn how to work with your Unix-like system. The mailing
list doesn't need to be filled with complaints providing no help or
useful information. If you like it, great! Get involved and make a
difference. If you don't like it, great! Get involved and understand how
the distribution is organized. Alternatively, you can leave and go to
something else. Enough complaining, it's not helpful.
Alexander




Alexander,
It was not about complaining at all. My intention was to provide
comments which could lead to improvements of next releases of Ubuntu. I
respect hard work of people who make Ubuntu possible. Because of that I
provided my comments. All I said is what I think is needed to improve.
My time schedule doesn't allow me now to jump in this problem solving.
And even more important, my comments are not about quality of
implementation, not about local fixes in code, they are about strategy
how to address the needs regarding user interface of different user
groups with Ubuntu. (beginners vs. IT experts)


FYI, most people kindly provided useful comments how to resolve my
problem, and I succeeded by following their advices.


I'm grateful to all of you who discussed and contributed to solve the
problem (solution to run Ubuntu 11.10 with Gnome Panel => happy with
Ubuntu again :-) ). Thank you.


Nenad



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Old 12-30-2011, 03:53 PM
Kevin Hunter
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

At 7:04am -0500 Thu, 29 Dec 2011, Jo-erlend Schinstad wrote:

That is a very good reason to keep configuration options at a
minimum, at least temporarily. Currently, most configuration tools
require a lot of knowledge about the system. It is not immediately
obvious that enabling focus follows mouse will make it nearly
impossible to use the mouse to access menus. That kind of
configuration makes things unnecessarily complicated. We need to
thoroughly understand how each config option affects other options.
There are several examples in Nautilus, for instance. It's quite
possible to configure your system to become almost unusable.


Yikes! I personally hope that this feature does /not/ go away. I've
come to (very much) appreciate the focus-follows-mouse feature;
similarly, I've fine-tuned almost 10 installations of Windows to do this
for some friends who asked if they could get that feature after
shoulder-surfing me. I do see that it wouldn't play nice with the
global menu, but I'd hope there's room for compromise.


With respect to the controversial topic of Unity, I'll say no more on
this subject; I've been staying out of any conversation in regards to
Unity because I've only used it vicariously through my advisor (I'm yet
on 10.10).


Kevin

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Old 12-31-2011, 10:01 AM
Jo-Erlend Schinstad
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

Den 30. des. 2011 17:53, skrev Kevin Hunter:


Yikes! I personally hope that this feature does /not/ go away. I've
come to (very much) appreciate the focus-follows-mouse feature;
similarly, I've fine-tuned almost 10 installations of Windows to do
this for some friends who asked if they could get that feature after
shoulder-surfing me. I do see that it wouldn't play nice with the
global menu, but I'd hope there's room for compromise.


With respect to the controversial topic of Unity, I'll say no more on
this subject; I've been staying out of any conversation in regards to
Unity because I've only used it vicariously through my advisor (I'm
yet on 10.10).


Kevin



Where did you get the idea that I had suggested to remove anything? When
you add new features, then you should understand how it affects other
features. That means adding them relatively slowly. To me, that makes
sense, because you won't always have to fix yesterdays problems. But
even if one of the shells in Ubuntu isn't designed for maximum
scriptability, I see nothing wrong with that. We have loads of other
shells that are designed for that.


Jo-Erlend Schinstad

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Old 12-31-2011, 05:45 PM
Kevin Hunter
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

At 6:01am -0500 Sat, 31 Dec 2011, Jo-Erlend Schinstad wrote:

Where did you get the idea that I had suggested to remove anything?


Something about the flow of this thread's conversation made me think it.
Rereading it now, I can't say specifically what; you never said it
specifically, so mea culpa.



We have loads of other shells [...]


As I mentioned earlier, I haven't yet moved from 10.10, and thus any
questions I have on this front are not properly researched before asking
... that said, this is the first I've been aware of "loads of other
shells". Do you mean the various Gnome2, XFCE, LXDE, Unity 2d, etc? Or
is this referencing something else?


Thanks,

Kevin

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Old 12-31-2011, 06:18 PM
Jo-Erlend Schinstad
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

Den 31. des. 2011 19:45, skrev Kevin Hunter:


As I mentioned earlier, I haven't yet moved from 10.10, and thus any
questions I have on this front are not properly researched before
asking ... that said, this is the first I've been aware of "loads of
other shells". Do you mean the various Gnome2, XFCE, LXDE, Unity 2d,
etc? Or is this referencing something else?




Well, the other desktop environments also use other shells. For
instance, what we used in earlier versions of Ubuntu is called Gnome
Panel. We have Unity, Unity 2D, Gnome Shell, Lxpanel (from LXDE),
Xfce4-panel (from Xfce), Avant Window Navigator, Cairo dock, Plasma
stuff from KDE, Enlightenment... There are many.


Desktop environments contain a lot more than just the shell. But most
shells can be used in most environments. For instance, there's nothing
wrong with using Xfces panel in Gnome 3.


Jo-Erlend Schinstad

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:11 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default Ubuntu usability is significantly decreased with Unity

Le 28/12/2011 20:40, Nenad Lecek a écrit*:


Dear all,





Hi,





as I don't know where to put my comments about Ubuntu 11.10
usability, I'm posting here. My apologies if this is not the
right place, and I'd be grateful if you point me where to post
my comment.







Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience about Unity,
seems quite a lot got discussed already on the list with other
replies so I will just give some extra informations




IMHO, the Unity is unnecessary, harmful step in wrong
direction. The Unity doesn't help to make user interface more
intuitive. Even worse, it is not solely the issue of quality
of implementation, the Unity design doesn't have potential to
serve the user well. My recommendation is to make the Unity
optional and certainly not default user interface for Ubuntu.
Gnome* Classic Ubuntu desktop really fits much, much better.







That's your opinion and a valid one but not one that
everybody out there share. User testing on different groups of
people, including non technical ones, indicated that unity is
seeing as a step forward and a better interface that the old gnome
"classic" by most users. They find it better looking and easier to
use.



Now keep into account that unity is new, many of the flaws you
list and other usability issues are known and will be worked, it
just didn't happen yet.




1) Appearing/disappearing left side toolbar doesn't bring
anything compared to Gnome Classic Ubuntu desktop and menu.
Why?




The next version of unity will have an option for not hiding
the launcher (the left bar), if you don't like the
appearing,disappearing you will be able to easily change it.





Simply put if you know that you have couple of menus where
you programs are, this is much better/faster than unnecessary
dynamic/uncertainty which Unity provides. BTW, Classic gnome
desktop we had in previous Ubuntu versions was really well
structured. Unity doesn't provide that.




The menus were never "well structured" no,

- categories are not obvious for most people (what is the
difference between accessories, system tools in the application
menu and the system menus? where is the "take a screenshot"?)

- the menus had too many items making it hard to find for what you
want

- if you like categories you still have similar categories as
filters in unity





Personally, I do not see the point of promoting Unity as
the only desktop on Ubuntu, because classic gnome desktop was
well structured and good enough. Eventually, only search
capability like in Unity could have been added, although this
functionality in Unity is far from good, currently is just
minor convenience.



2) The application menu is shown in main menu toolbar. This
is annoying at best, and from usability point of view very it
is a really poor choice.






That's a known issue and people are looking at addressing it.


Note that it's only an issue for people who use the menus a lot,
in most applications the toolbar icons should be enough for most
actions. Look at somebody using firefox and how much they use the
menus for example. That's not to dismiss the fact that it is an
issue for some users, it's just not one for everybody





3) Performance consideration: seems so that Unity eats
performance and batteries on laptops. Again, no value in
service it provides in return.






That's a known issues and high on the list of things to
address this cycle





4) Search applications capability in Unity is really poorly
designed and of limited usage. In some cases, you almost have
to know exact name so that application you are searching for
could be found. In others searching application itself has
confusing, complex user interface. This could have been done
much better.






Suggestions on how to improve are welcome. The
search capability is not "really poorly designed", it's rather
than applications don't provide a lot of things to search for out
of the menu title and description. The search feature does support
keywords though and there are plans to increase their use starting
this cycle, that should improve things quite a bit if most common
applications define a solid set of keywords.








Simplicity in user design, down-to-earth logic could guide
designers to much better user experience with Ubuntu.






You should like unity then, its "simplicity" is somebody most
people who dislike it complain about ;-)



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