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Old 03-30-2012, 10:00 AM
Iain Lane
 
Default Default application selection process

Hi there,

This is my proposal for a UDS discussion. I haven't really formulated
any ideas about how this should work, but I think there's something here
to talk about. This mail also isn't as structured as it could be, but I
hope there's something worth discussing in here.

There isn't really a process for selecting the applications we install
on the desktop images by default. Typically someone proposes a change
and sets out their reasons and if there is enough consensus then the
change is made.

One problem is that there is usually one 'winner' and a number of 'losers'.
Especially when defaults are switched (Evolution to Thunderbird, F-spot
to Shotwell, Rhythmbox to Banshee to Rhythmbox), people on the 'losing'
side are prone to feeling hard done by if they consider that the
decision has not been made fairly.

Obviously my most close involvements around this topic are the recent
media player switches. I'll outline some of the issues from the
perspective of the 'loser'. Please don't turn this into a technical
debate on this specific change; I want to keep the discussion around the
process.

- Upstream (and some Ubuntu developers) were caught by surprise that
this option was being considered. Subsequent conversations
indiciated that this topic came up by surprise in the session.
- Bugs which were considered a distro priority were not communicated
with upstream.
- The etherpad from the session was seen to be the record of the
discussion and contained a lot of disappointing misinformation. It
got spammed/trolled quite a lot as a result of the publicity.
- The outcome from the session was very widely perceived as a final
decision for the release, when in fact it was not intended to be. I
don't think this was helped by the wording used in the closing
plenary [1].
- After the fact there was a discussion on this mailing list but the
final decision[0] was taken by a manager at Canonical. It's not
clear to me whether this was the right thing to happen, rather than
the decision being made by the entire desktop team.

Hopefully others have thoughts about how this can work better. The main
issue I think is to allow all stakeholders ample opportunity to make
their representations, but the issue around how the decision is actually
finally made is also worthwhile IMHO.

Cheers,

--
Iain Lane [ iain@orangesquash.org.uk ]
Debian Developer [ laney@debian.org ]
Ubuntu Developer [ laney@ubuntu.com ]
PhD student [ ial@cs.nott.ac.uk ]

[0]
https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-desktop/2011-November/003467.html
[1] http://youtu.be/f-kUYCxE6Sg 05:10
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:06 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default Default application selection process

Le 30/03/2012 12:00, Iain Lane a écrit :

Hi there,

Hey Iain,

Thanks for writing that email, I had that on my list as well, making
sure we don't have another of those "default application selection"
session like previous UDS ;-)




Hopefully others have thoughts about how this can work better. The main
issue I think is to allow all stakeholders ample opportunity to make
their representations, but the issue around how the decision is actually
finally made is also worthwhile IMHO.


Ok, I did some thinking over that and that's what ideas I come with (in
random order):


- we should make a public call for changes to discuss early and froze
the list of topics at two weeks before UDS


- we should reach the concerned upstreams at least one week before UDS
(earlier if possible) to let them the opportunity to comment


- we want to avoid the session to turn into a "list all the things I
don't like about $software", we don't aim at stop energy but at
improving things



Those are basically what I could "base rules", I hope everybody agree
with those in principle (delay etc might need to be tweaked)



So what I think we should discuss:

- what new application we might want to get in, basically the world
change and we need re-evaluate what we ship to match that. Let's take an
example and say everybody owns an ebook nowadays, we might consider
getting a software allowing you to load books on a device in the default
install. Those discussions should be easy enough to keep on track


- what application we might want to drop from the CD, not because of
bugs or quality but because the world changed and we think that's not
useful anymore (i.e do we still need something to record audio CDs
installed by default in a world where less and less people use CDs).
That should also be an non troll-material discussion


- what applications we are unhappy about, that's the "tricky" one.

I would suggest for those to:
* not start with a "let's drop", or "let's replace" $foo, but rather
"how can we improve ..."
* not go on the "list specific bugs or issues" into that discussion,
that's often non constructive, quite the contrary
* not suggest changes for the coming cycle but rather do it over 2
cycle: "how can we improve what we have next cycle" and "what do we do
if next cycle we are still unhappy about what we got", that should lead
to constructive discussions over what we,upstream can do over next cycle
without blocking us too much



I would rather like to see the session being focussed on the Ubuntu
weaknesses and how we work toward resolving those rather than on
pointing what doesn't work.


What do you think?

Cheers,
Sebastien Bacher

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Old 04-03-2012, 05:33 PM
Bryce Harrington
 
Default Default application selection process

On Tue, Apr 03, 2012 at 02:06:11PM +0200, Sebastien Bacher wrote:
> Thanks for writing that email, I had that on my list as well, making
> sure we don't have another of those "default application selection"
> session like previous UDS ;-)
>
> - we should reach the concerned upstreams at least one week before
> UDS (earlier if possible) to let them the opportunity to comment

An invitation to UDS wouldn't be out of place in this case.

> - what applications we are unhappy about, that's the "tricky" one.
>
> * not suggest changes for the coming cycle but rather do it over 2
> cycle: "how can we improve what we have next cycle" and "what do we
> do if next cycle we are still unhappy about what we got", that
> should lead to constructive discussions over what we,upstream can do
> over next cycle without blocking us too much

I very much like this idea. It makes transitions less abrupt and
surprising.

> I would rather like to see the session being focussed on the Ubuntu
> weaknesses and how we work toward resolving those rather than on
> pointing what doesn't work.
>
> What do you think?

Often when changing apps, the new apps needs some polish - bug fixes,
documentation, triage work, missing features, customizations... Might
be worthwhile to require having people to work on those things for a
cycle as part of the decision.

Like, look at how many bugs were filed against the app last cycle,
figure out how many hours/week we think the app would take to get into
shape, and then find people to supply that level of effort for the
coming cycle.

Bryce

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Old 04-03-2012, 05:44 PM
Shahar Or
 
Default Default application selection process

On 3 April 2012 15:06, Sebastien Bacher <seb128@ubuntu.com> wrote:



- what application we might want to drop from the CD, not because of bugs or quality but because the world changed and we think that's not useful anymore (i.e do we still need something to record audio CDs installed by default in a world where less and less people use CDs). That should also be an non troll-material discussion





Dear Sebastien, All,

This makes me think that since the optical drive is becoming less common, as in netbooks, perhaps we should start looking at what the numbers actually are. How many Installs are done from CD's? Home many Ubuntu installs exist on systems where no CD drive is present vs. where it is present.




I do sense that this will will not change so fast but perhaps because there are so many installations that are done from USB sticks, then perhaps there could be another image, one that has more software and is larger, for example, one that fits a 1GB usb sticks.




Although I think that if we go that route then we can go for 2GB, at least, because I rarely see less than that in a USB stick.

Thanks and Blessings,
Shahar
*


What do you think?



Cheers,

Sebastien Bacher



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ubuntu-desktop@lists.ubuntu.com

https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-desktop



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Old 04-03-2012, 06:08 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default Default application selection process

Le 03/04/2012 19:33, Bryce Harrington a écrit :

An invitation to UDS wouldn't be out of place in this case.
I'm unsure about that, it's expense (time and money) to invite somebody
at UDS only for a one hour session, remote participation should work
fine for those (or written in advance summary), especially if we move
away to take decisions during the session but rather cover points to
move the discussion,conclusion then to a broader audience i.e on lists.


--
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:37 PM
Bryce Harrington
 
Default Default application selection process

On Tue, Apr 03, 2012 at 08:08:52PM +0200, Sebastien Bacher wrote:
> Le 03/04/2012 19:33, Bryce Harrington a écrit :
> >An invitation to UDS wouldn't be out of place in this case.
> I'm unsure about that, it's expense (time and money) to invite
> somebody at UDS only for a one hour session, remote participation
> should work fine for those (or written in advance summary),
> especially if we move away to take decisions during the session but
> rather cover points to move the discussion,conclusion then to a
> broader audience i.e on lists.

Good points. Fwiw I was not suggesting sponsorship but rather more of,
"Hey, we'll be discussing your software at UDS, at such and such a time;
we'd love to have your project's input there." For these purposes,
you're right that remote participation should work adequately. Some
projects have a lot of members scattered around the world, so it's
entirely possible they'd have someone who could drive to the project for
just the day.

Bryce

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:23 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default Default application selection process

Le 03/04/2012 14:06, Sebastien Bacher a écrit :
- we should make a public call for changes to discuss early and froze
the list of topics at two weeks before UDS


Hey again,

That discussion didn't get lot of traction, did anyone had an opinion on
what was suggested? If we want discuss topics at UDS it seems about time
to build a list so we can get feedback in advance for the discussion...


--
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:09 PM
Iain Lane
 
Default Default application selection process

Hey,

Thanks for the ping. I meant to reply to this but it slipped away.
Here's some relatively uncoordinated thoughts.

On Tue, Apr 03, 2012 at 02:06:11PM +0200, Sebastien Bacher wrote:
> Le 30/03/2012 12:00, Iain Lane a écrit :
> >Hi there,
> Hey Iain,
>
> Thanks for writing that email, I had that on my list as well, making
> sure we don't have another of those "default application selection"
> session like previous UDS ;-)

Right. I think that having a session named like that is probably not the
most constructive use of time. Like you say it's probably better to have
more focussed discussions on particular areas.

>
> >
> >Hopefully others have thoughts about how this can work better. The main
> >issue I think is to allow all stakeholders ample opportunity to make
> >their representations, but the issue around how the decision is actually
> >finally made is also worthwhile IMHO.
> >
> >
> Ok, I did some thinking over that and that's what ideas I come with
> (in random order):
>
> - we should make a public call for changes to discuss early and
> froze the list of topics at two weeks before UDS
>
> - we should reach the concerned upstreams at least one week before
> UDS (earlier if possible) to let them the opportunity to comment

Yes, and the distribution developers involved too.

It would be a bad idea if upstreams were forced to defend their
application in long mailing list threads every six months. The desktop
team can act as a filter here, vetoing choices and selecting those which
should go ahead for further discussion. There should be no (if
avoidable) surprises coming out of UDS sessions.

>
> - we want to avoid the session to turn into a "list all the things I
> don't like about $software", we don't aim at stop energy but at
> improving things

It would be nice if issues could be communicated with upstreams /before/
it got to the stage of ditching / switching applications. Say some user
testing or a survey or bug analysis or something 2-3 months after
release to figure out what's working and not.

> […]
> So what I think we should discuss:
>
> - what new application we might want to get in, basically the world
> change and we need re-evaluate what we ship to match that. Let's
> take an example and say everybody owns an ebook nowadays, we might
> consider getting a software allowing you to load books on a device
> in the default install. Those discussions should be easy enough to
> keep on track
>
> - what application we might want to drop from the CD, not because of
> bugs or quality but because the world changed and we think that's
> not useful anymore (i.e do we still need something to record audio
> CDs installed by default in a world where less and less people use
> CDs). That should also be an non troll-material discussion

Yeah, it'd be good if we could come up with some usecases that we want
the default desktop to support and then review and change this list
which would then affect the choice of shipped software. Sort of one step
removed.

>
> - what applications we are unhappy about, that's the "tricky" one.
>
> I would suggest for those to:
> * not start with a "let's drop", or "let's replace" $foo, but rather
> "how can we improve ..."
> * not go on the "list specific bugs or issues" into that discussion,
> that's often non constructive, quite the contrary
> * not suggest changes for the coming cycle but rather do it over 2
> cycle: "how can we improve what we have next cycle" and "what do we
> do if next cycle we are still unhappy about what we got", that
> should lead to constructive discussions over what we,upstream can do
> over next cycle without blocking us too much

If we can find out earlier on what's not working well then we'll be able
to feed this back to upstreams so that they can plan accordingly. It
shouldn't be a case of "fix this in the next six months or we're
dropping you". UDS timing is a bit unfortunate in this regard because it
comes too soon after release to have real user feedback but we're
trying to make decisions for a release which is happening in only six
months time.

> I would rather like to see the session being focussed on the Ubuntu
> weaknesses and how we work toward resolving those rather than on
> pointing what doesn't work.

Yes. If there's to be a general session then I think it shouldn't be
about default application selection, but rather about the quality of the
desktop in the previous release and what we should tweak, and the
session lead should be strong in stopping unproductive discussions from
happening.

Thanks for your input,

--
Iain Lane [ iain@orangesquash.org.uk ]
Debian Developer [ laney@debian.org ]
Ubuntu Developer [ laney@ubuntu.com ]
PhD student [ ial@cs.nott.ac.uk ]
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:58 PM
"Jonas Platte"
 
Default Default application selection process

Am 23.04.2012, 21:09 Uhr, schrieb Iain Lane <laney@ubuntu.com>:


I would rather like to see the session being focussed on the Ubuntu
weaknesses and how we work toward resolving those rather than on
pointing what doesn't work.


Yes. If there's to be a general session then I think it shouldn't be
about default application selection, but rather about the quality of the
desktop in the previous release and what we should tweak, and the
session lead should be strong in stopping unproductive discussions from
happening.


I, as a Ubuntu user and individualist like the not-yet-current version,
12.04, very much. It has some huge improvements regarding Unity, and I
also like Rhythmbox as the new standard music player because Banshee
really took long loading. Firefox and Thunderbird are also good programs
and I think there are many ones who would install them first if they
weren't standard.

So, big thanks to the developers who made this version that good

But there are still many people who don't think that those are "the
perfect" programs. I, for example don't use any of those programs. I like
them, but I know ones that fit my needs better. So what I would suggest is
to improve the installation process so that everyone has the choice not to
install special programs one doesn't need, and, if there is a working
internet connection, choose to install alternatives, because the very
first thing I do after upgrading / installing Ubuntu is to remove unwanted
packages and to install new ones. It think it would also be a little
"wow-factor" because that would really be something new.

How do you like that idea and does this sound convertible for you?

To talk about specific packages, I think the gnome-media package is
something quite nobody uses nowaday, because the most people don't record
audio and if they do, they use their cellphone for that. Furthermore, the
most people who have a microphone also have a webcam, so I would suggest
to have a preinstalled cheese (perhaps it also would be good to only
install it if a webcam is detected). I don't am the biggest fan of cheese,
but it works as it should and it seems to be the best webcam app available
in the Software Center.


btw: Even though I wrote that I'm just a user, I'm also learning C++ in
school, and I think if I get over these 100-line programs in a year or so
I might call myself a developer and I'm also willing to join the Ubuntu
development


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Old 04-23-2012, 09:34 PM
Jeremy Bicha
 
Default Default application selection process

On 23 April 2012 16:58, Jonas Platte <jonasplatte@myopera.com> wrote:
> But there are still many people who don't think that those are "the perfect"
> programs. I, for example don't use any of those programs. I like them, but I
> know ones that fit my needs better. So what I would suggest is to improve
> the installation process so that everyone has the choice not to install
> special programs one doesn't need, and, if there is a working internet
> connection, choose to install alternatives, because the very first thing I
> do after upgrading / installing Ubuntu is to remove unwanted packages and to
> install new ones. It think it would also be a little "wow-factor" because
> that would really be something new.
> How do you like that idea and does this sound convertible for you?

One significant distinctive of Ubuntu since the beginning has been
that it tries to ask as few questions as possible during install while
including the "best" web browser, document editor, music player, etc.
Somebody new to Linux probably won't know what the best music player
is for them and asking them is just going to frustrate many of these
beginners and leave them thinking Ubuntu is difficult to get started
with. Advanced Linux users can easily install Banshee or VLC or
Clementine or mplayer or whatever. It's the same reason GNOME Shell or
GNOME Fallback or KDE aren't on the main CD either.

It also allows Canonical to focus their development efforts on a few
core apps to make the experience the best possible.

> To talk about specific packages, I think the gnome-media package is
> something quite nobody uses nowaday, because the most people don't record
> audio and if they do, they use their cellphone for that. Furthermore, the
> most people who have a microphone also have a webcam, so I would suggest to
> have a preinstalled cheese (perhaps it also would be good to only install it
> if a webcam is detected). I don't am the biggest fan of cheese, but it works
> as it should and it seems to be the best webcam app available in the
> Software Center.

I like the cheese-for-webcam-computers idea. It used to be on the
Netbook image, right? I think we should start a thread on "If we ship
an 800MB image or so, what would we use the extra space for?".

> btw: Even though I wrote that I'm just a user, I'm also learning C++ in
> school, and I think if I get over these 100-line programs in a year or so I
> might call myself a developer and I'm also willing to join the Ubuntu
> development

Great! We'd be glad to have you! I didn't know a bit of programming
when I first installed Ubuntu.

Jeremy

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