Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Shuttleworth Proposes Overhaul of Desktop Notifications

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the activated-but-not-in-use dept.

GUI 306

Thelasko writes "Mark Shuttleworth is considering a controversial overhaul to the way Ubuntu manages notifications." I'm not thrilled with all of the changes proposed, which would mostly value simplicity over confusion at the expense of flexibility and permanence. But anything that would make more people read over and specifically approve the wording of error messages and other notifications is a good thing.

cancel ×

306 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Huh? (5, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212689)

Can't I just dump a stack trace to stderr and be done with it?

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213281)

Can't I just dump a stack trace to stderr and be done with it?

But then the user might miss it! Clearly, when our programs crash, we must hook things up so that it automatically kills X11, opens up vim, splits the screen into subscreens with a stack trace, dmesg, hexdump of the core, etc.

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213487)

Doesn't windows have that feature?

Sorry for the troll, couldn't resist;)

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213563)

I use emacs you insensitive clod! We've had that feature for years!

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213873)

But... but you must make sure the trace dump comes in pretty, anti-aliased, glossy fonts!

KDE 4 anyone? (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212709)

This looks to me almost exactly the same way KDE 4 notifications work. Just a slight change in the bubble look.

Re:KDE 4 anyone? (5, Insightful)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212765)

It also looks almost exactly like Growl [growl.info] for OS X.

Re:KDE 4 anyone? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213457)

Except with Growl the user can dismiss the notification, and (if specified) use the notification to go to the program/document that issued it.

Re:KDE 4 anyone? (3, Insightful)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213271)

You're right. I'm running Kubuntu 9.04a2 right now, and this is how notifications are done - right down to the colors.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to add them to Gnome - it would probably even help when running KDE apps under Gnome and vice/versa as long as they have a standardized API.

HOPEfully, Shuttleworth recognizes that this is *not* new and can make it play nice with KDE instead of having his guys create a completely different standard.

Should do expirementation in Fedora (0, Flamebait)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212737)

They should have the devs do the experimentation work in Fedora, and then incorporate the final product into Ubuntu and others. At the very least it would be good for cross distro relations.

Re:Should do expirementation in Fedora (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212857)

Why?

They consume debian, not fedora.

It might be good for cross-distro relations but it seems a bit much to force them onto another, fairly well separated distro just for that.

Re:Should do expirementation in Fedora (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213499)

Because Fedora almost always does what they do, only a release before them?

Re:Should do expirementation in Fedora (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213809)

lies

confiuration (3, Insightful)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212771)

a little off topic, but some configuration tools would be nice. You know for the general public. until ubuntu can do that it's going to be no where near desktop ready for most people.

Re:confiuration (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212883)

Umm, what are you having trouble with? Which bit is missing for you? (genuine question)

Gnome on Ubuntu has a whole load of stuff accessible from the System menu. The only time I touch the text files at the back is when I'm experimenting with them. For ordinary users there already are a set of admin guis that are pretty consistent and powerful.

Re:confiuration (3, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213063)

I've had a pain in the ass time doing dual monitors. Not to mention, one of my monitors can pivot (rotate) 90 degrees.. (its nice to see 2 whole pages of text when your typing on a "long screen", instead of a widescreen) but last time I looked, there is no easy way to adjust that either..

Re:confiuration (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213113)

No wonder you have a pain in your ass! Most people have a hard time shoving one monitor up there, never mind two! And then rotating it? You're hardcore.

Re:confiuration (3, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213251)

Dual monitor config can be a pain, it's true.

The nvidia-settings app (which should be available from the systems menu) is the easiest way I've found to do this on nvidia systems. On intel chips I've had trouble too. If you want different resolutions on each you can be in for even more pain.

Changing res without needing to restart X has definitely got better, but I'm not sure how you'd go about autodetecting and switching screen orientation on a screen like that.

Agreed, this area needs work.

Re:confiuration (4, Informative)

windsurfer619 (958212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213261)

Maybe you haven't used the latest version of Ubuntu, but Intrepid has got a very nice set up for configuring monitors. There's a rotation drop-down menu that lets you chose any orientation, and each monitor is labeled and freely positionable. It also gives you the option to mirror the screens if you want.

Re: configuration (1)

The Salamander (56587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213379)

I've had a pain in the ass time doing dual monitors. Not to mention, one of my monitors can pivot (rotate) 90 degrees.. (its nice to see 2 whole pages of text when your typing on a "long screen", instead of a widescreen) but last time I looked, there is no easy way to adjust that either..

For what it's worth, both 2nd monitor and rotation are easy GUI options in KDE. I haven't used Gnome in many years...

Plugged a new monitor into my laptop and it just works.

Re:confiuration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213611)

Well, that's the card manufacturer's fault at the moment, for producing non-xrandr or non-xserver1.5 compatible drivers. For nvidia, you need nvidia-settings; for ati, you need amdcccle; and for intel chips, the System->Screen Resolution config applet should work the right way, because intel aren't being asshats.

On the ati cards I've used, the driver is so borked wrt randr that I have to turn off Gnome's randr autodetection, via gconf-editor at /apps/gnome-settings-daemon/plugins/xrandr/active. After that, enabling ati's BigDesktop mode actually works, and rotation works fine, but is slow.

The quick 'n dirty way is to learn the xrandr tool, like 'xrandr -o right' for rotating a display clockwise. It's pretty easy to make shortcuts for these in the Gnome panel or menu, too. Not ideal, but that's not Ubuntu's fault.

Re:confiuration (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213697)

xrandr --output LVDS --right-of VGA --mode 1280x960 --rotation left or some such; you work out a handful of these for your typical configurations, and toss them in an FVWM menu. At least that's what I do with my Eee 701, which gets used 3 ways: alone, with an external monitor, and with an external monitor (here the Eee is below the monitor), keyboard, and mouse (here the Eee is rotated on its side, next to the monitor).

Re:confiuration (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212989)

I've been using Ubuntu for a year or so. Never edited a config file by hand (exept for /etc/hosts, but that was before I saw the gui for it). Some configuration stuff is not where I first went looking for it, but it all seems to be there.

Re:confiuration (1, Informative)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213141)

That's not Ubuntu's job, it's Gnome's. Try KDE if you want more configuration tools.

Re:confiuration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213165)

That's not the Ubuntu way. The Ubuntu way is to treat your users like idiots, and hide everything from them. It's almost as bad as OSX.

lame (5, Insightful)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212787)

So the entire summary is Thelasko's opinion , with a one sentence description that links to shuttleworth's blog? Perhaps a true summary of proposed changes in Ubuntu desktop notifications would have been more informative.

Re:lame (1)

FugitiveMind (1423373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213033)

Basically, they want something similar to Growl on OSX.

Re:lame (4, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213689)

So the entire summary is Thelasko's opinion , with a one sentence description that links to shuttleworth's blog? Perhaps a true summary of proposed changes in Ubuntu desktop notifications would have been more informative.

Well after years of posting long winded descriptions and never getting published, I started posting one sentence summaries. Of course, Murphy had to show up with his stupid law...

Anyway, I originally found the bit about this being controversial here. [lifehacker.com] I decided to go straight to the source and post from Shuttleworth's blog, rather than a third party's.

In favour (5, Insightful)

invisiblerhino (1224028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212821)

I like it. Maybe I'm alone here, but note in the article that Shuttleworth says that some notifications are important and should be treated differently (as "persistent panel indicators") - but there's no reason why you should have to click on "Wifi stopped working" and "Wifi started working", hence distracting you from what you're doing. Exploring new ideas is more important than whether they're good or bad, especially four months ahead of release.

Re:In favour (1)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212927)

With several or even dozens of components and programs all popping up notices about ephemeral events, the modern desktop can be a total mess, and really distracting. Anything that would put all the various notices into a single stream would be good. In general I agree that there should be no controls on the notification buttons, in general. Maybe there should be a way to click on it and it goes away. I mean, what if the notification is an IM from your lover "hey sweetie, meet at the usual spot at 5:30" and your spouse walks in the room?

Re:In favour (4, Insightful)

uhmmmm (512629) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213213)

If you're concerned about your IMs being displayed as a notification, there's a reason there's an option to turn those off. They default to off in Pidgin, last I checked too.

I disagree about not being able to interact with notifications. It's one feature I use all the time with Pidgin. It pops up a notification when a contact signs on, and the notification includes a button to open a conversation with them. Perfect for those times that the notification reminds me that I had wanted to talk to this person for some reason. The button it completely relevant to the message, and avoids a fair amount of work in figuring out where I put the buddy list window and digging through a lot of contacts to find the one that just happened to sign on.

Re:In favour (3, Insightful)

fudoniten (918077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213735)

Yes, but, as he says in the blog, that could be handled differently.

When I have notifications on in Pidgin, I have to disable most of them. Otherwise, people signing on, signing off, messaging me, etc, generate almost constant dings and pop-ups. I especially like the semi-transparent click-through-ability of the notifications on display. I hate it when I'm about to click 'close' (or on another desktop), and a popup appears at the last second, causing something entirely unexpected to occur.

I'm in favour!

Re:In favour (0, Offtopic)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213239)

I mean, what if the notification is an IM from your lover "hey sweetie, meet at the usual spot at 5:30" and your spouse walks in the room?

If that happens then you're an asshole who just got what he deserved - a divorce, child support, and probably a breakup with your adulterous slutfriend.

That preacher guy that's causing all the controversy about Obama says that divorce is a greater threat to marriege than gay marriage, but he's wrong. The biggest threat to marriage isn't gay marriage or divorce, but adultery and your incredibly stupid attitude toward it.

As the former spouse of a slut who had several affairs during our marriage, please forgive me for thinking you're an absolutely disgusting asshole, and please forgive me for hoping you get taken to the cleaners by your poor spouse (who has my deepest sympathies, I was where (s)he is now, poor thing)

Re:In favour (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213631)

I read your journal. Dude... You are really fucked up and it's no wonder wifey went looking elsewhere. You should seriously consider getting some professional help.

Re:In favour (0, Offtopic)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213811)

What we really need to do as a culture is to separate legal marriage, religious marriage and "romantic" marriage from the umbrella heading of "marriage".

Re:In favour (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213721)

Maybe there should be a way to click on it and it goes away. I mean, what if the notification is an IM from your lover "hey sweetie, meet at the usual spot at 5:30" and your spouse walks in the room?

Then perhaps you should disable desktop notifications in the preferences for VirtuaGirlfriend, or keep your mechanised Real Doll chained to the bed?

Re:In favour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213439)

I'd be happy to see 'Wifi Started Working' in Linux. And maybe 'RAID is actually compatible with motherboard RAID' messages. And 'Shut the fuck up about "fakeraid"' messages.

Re:In favour (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213575)

Yeah this kind of crap and lack of multiple desktops were the two main reasons I left Windows a few years ago. I later found Microsoft's TweakUI that lets you disable those stupid balloons that, in windows at least, never say anything useful ever, and another Microsoft addon that lets you do multiple desktops.

As much as I am a linux fanboi, windows can be decently usable once you mod it to hell but I prefer the out of box experience of linux, 'cause frankly I think like the nerds who build it so it tends to work out:-)

Is /var/log really so hard to remember? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26212891)

"tail -f" is all the notification you need.

Users read? (5, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212903)

But anything that would make more people read over and specifically approve the wording of error messages and other notifications is a good thing.

People can't follow written instructions when dumbed down so far that a six year old can follow. What makes you think people would read what an update to an OS does?

Case in point. We sent an email to everyone in our organization, including consultants, on Thursday afternoon (1:41 PM to be exact) specifically telling people to restart their machines, not turn them off, so Microsoft's critical update could be applied. We also told them in the same email that this procedure should be followed until further notice. Here is the relevant part:

Microsoft has issued a critical security patch that corrects a vulnerability problem with Internet Explorer. Tonight, the Client Support group will start applying the patch to all desktops/laptops within the agency. Therefore, we are requiring that all users follow the recommended procedure of daily restarting workstations. Upon a successful restart of your workstation you will be at the Windows sign-on screen.

Perform these steps before you leave each day.
1) Close all open applications as you normally would.
2) Click Start button\icon on the task bar at the bottom of your screen
3) Select Shutdown from the available list of items
4) Select Restart from the list of values - This is important - you must select "RESTART"
5) Click OK - Your PC will reboot itself to the Welcome to Windows sign-on screen - from there we can apply the corrective solution


On Monday, when I checked a log file, there were roughly 30 machines in my building alone that were turned off on Friday night rather than restarted. There were others in the field who had done the same thing.

We know they restarted their machine on Thursday night as requested so for them to have their machines off would mean they had to physically change the value from Restart to Shutdown, completely ignoring the email that was sent to them 24 hours before.

Only those who truly want to know what is going on will take the time to review updates. The rest will just click a button or not bother reading what is put in front of them.

Re:Users read? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213037)

I took the statement - "anything that would make more people read over and specifically approve the wording of error messages and other notifications is a good thing" - to refer to distro quality control (akin to code reviews for error messages), rather than anything about end users. End users will not disrupt their work for computer maintainence until it is necessary for them to get something done.

Re:Users read? (1)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213139)

And waste all that power over a weekend! Plus, your instructions are confusing :P. No really, I had to read them twice.

Also, why can't they just logoff?

Re:Users read? (3, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213295)

Also, why can't they just logoff?

They could log off at night but since these are Windows machines, updates and patches don't get applied until a machine restarts. The SMS package, as far as I know, doesn't force a restart after updates are applied.

By having people restart every night it also prevents them from staying logged in so long that their password expires and then having them call the helpdesk to complain they can't get into anything. Two weeks before their password expires, they get a notification screen reminding when they do Ctrl-Alt-Del. If they never logged out, they would never know to change their password because they would never get the notification.

Re:Users read? (3, Insightful)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213459)

That's hilarious :).
One of the reasons you make them restart is because the notification system just isn't good enough.

BTW, I know I've seen Windows force restarts before.

Re:Users read? (5, Insightful)

Windrip (303053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213223)

<cluebat>
Other humans do what's important to them, not what's important to you.
</cluebat>

<description type="job">
You don't control people, you control machines.
You do your job so others can do theirs.
</description>

If it's that important to perform a remote restart, drop a widget on the machine that enables remote control.

Re:Users read? (3, Insightful)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213233)

So you wanted people to leave their computers on all weekend? You must hate the environment.

Re:Users read? (1)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213287)

Since you know that they went out of their way to NOT restart, I would guess that they have had bad experiences with critical windows updates, and weren't going to be part of the experiment.

Those are your knowledgeable users, who read and understood your message.

Re:Users read? (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213309)

The email you sent is ambiguous at best. If I got that email, I would have done the shutdown as instructed on Thursday night, but I would have assumed that you would be done on Friday morning. From that point on, I would continue working as I always had. Powering off a PC that isn't going to be used for nearly 3 days sounds like a good way to save the company a pretty penny, and that is what I would have done.

In short, your email sucked if the behavior you wanted was a restart shutdown EVERY night. It should have read something like, "From this point forward we are changing the recommended daily restart procedure to a requirement." Good communication is more than just saying something. It is about saying the right thing to get the appropriate response. In your case, you didn't actually ask for what you wanted.

Which brings us back on point. Mr. Shuttleworth deciding to look closely at how and when notifications are presented, and what they say, will do more for Ubuntu's popularity than any other single thing he could possibly do. Having timely information that leads to the actual source of a problem makes errors trivial. Bothersome interruptions from notifications of inconsequential things you can't do anything about, or misleading error messages, make people hate computers and those that write programs for them.

Re:Users read? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213333)

It wasn't a matter of illiteracy, it was a matter of those thirty people simply ignoring you and your antienvironmental instructions, you wastrel.

Leave the PC on all weekend? Wasteful madness. Some of us give a shit about global warming, yet you want us to leave our PC on ALL WEEKEND.

Next time don't pick a Friday. Some of us care about the planet we're leaving our children. Better yet, don't have your users leave the PCs on at all; you can take a small productivity hit to patch the machines and save the planet on bootup.

You obviously don't care, but apparently thirty of your users do.

Re:Users read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213839)

Hey Eco-Warrior,

Did you type this from your solar-powered computer? If not, you're wasting electricity to type your environmental diatribe.

That's what hipsters such as yourself would call irony.

-derChef

Re:Users read? (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213413)

OK, where to start... I'll leave aside the wording of your email, seeing as most people will glaze over as soon as they see it's from IT in the first place.

1. Your email is more than 5 lines long. IME, most people don't read beyond the first few lines so there's no point in bothering with any more than that.

2. You expect your end users to jump through hoops for nobody's benefit but your own. Wake on LAN should deal with PCs that are turned off, if they're not turned off I leave setting up a remote reboot script to your imagination.

3. Rewritten email:

"We will be applying updates to your PC, part of which will involve remotely rebooting your system at 20:00 tonight. Please notify us if this is inconvenient".

Wake on LAN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213415)

Any machine built in the last decade or so supports it. Makes life easy for you, and you don't have to waste everyone's time and electricity.

Re:Users read? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213585)

Why didn't you just have them log off? Besides, it's nothing that can't be fixed by WOL.

Re:Users read? (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213591)

Your problem? You should admin the network so that these requirements can be forced. Lock it down, man!

Re:Users read? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213813)

or them to have their machines off would mean they had to physically change the value from Restart to Shutdown

Or perhaps they just press the power button for ACPI shutdown instead of going into the menu?

WT...? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26212915)

FTA:

Our hypothesis is that the existence of ANY action creates a weighty obligation to act, or to THINK ABOUT ACTING. That make notifications turn from play into work. That makes them heavy responsibilities. That makes them an interruption, not a notification. And interruptions are a bag of hurt when you have things to do.

Then what, exactly, is the purpose of the notifications? If not to invoke immediate action, then just send an email summary at the end of the day of all the "notifications" that happened in the last 24 hours. Short of showing changes in a network state, what would be urgent enough to show immediately, on top of all other windows, but not important enough to want to address at the same time?

"Your download is complete." I'll want to open the file.

"You have new email." I'll want to read the email.

"Your mom cried when she read your heartwarming birthday card." I'll want to pick up the phone.

What are these mysterious notifications that won't invoke a desire to perform some sort of action from the user?

Re:WT...? (3, Funny)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213331)

What are these mysterious notifications that won't invoke a desire to perform some sort of action from the user?

Microsoft's notifications [computer-vet.com] usually invoke a desire to throw the computer across the room.

Re:WT...? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213435)

OT, but how the hell do you kill yourself with pastry?

Re:WT...? (1)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213541)

I wasn't quite sure, but I'm assuming that you would just keep eating, and eating, and eating...

Re:WT...? (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213431)

"You have unused icons on your desktop"

Wrong tool for the job (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213679)

It is exactly this notion that Shuttleworth is challenging. You see notifications as a sort of transient dialog box that implies action. He sees them as, well, notifications. I am inclined to agree with him. If you might want to read your new email, why only give yourself a 3-second window in which to click the notification? Does your interest in reading the email (or opening the file, etc.) disappear after a few seconds? What if you're busy now, but want to read the email later? Transient notifications are the wrong tool for the job. Put a clickable mail icon on your panel to signal that there is unread mail. Use the pop-up notification only to provide a heads-up about there being new mail. If the user is busy (or away from the computer) they will still want to read their email once they have the attention to spare.

And don't you dare suggest that notifications should be permanent until the user dismisses them! That's intrusive and obnoxious.

Re:WT...? (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213757)

Look, sometimes it's nice to know you have a new email or a file has downloaded, etc without being interrupted from your word processing or web browsing! I have to agree with the article here. For instance, Growl is awesome - it provides a way to know what is going on with my system while not having to interrupt my work by grabbing the mouse and clicking on a button just because I have a new email (which I may want to read now, in 10 minutes, in a couple hours, etc).

It's pretty nice. There's an iTunes plugin that pops up notifications when a new song starts playing - imagine that being a modal dialog box. How annoying!

Re:WT...? (1)

fudoniten (918077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213793)

Sometimes, I'm sitting around browsing Slashdot. If a new email arrives, I want to get to it immediately.

Other times, I'm working, and the damn email can wait. I'd rather just ignore it.

The point he's making is that, if the notification is clickable, then I suddenly have to decide what to do in the three seconds that the notification is onscreen. I experience a little mini-panic when one pops up. Then, whether I'm working or not, I lose my train of thought.

If the notification is non-interactive, I can safely ignore it. If I am just browsing the news, I can read it and react appropriately. If I'm working, I just zone it out.

I'm hoping that if my status is 'busy', the notifications won't even show up, or at least most of them won't.

Re:WT...? (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213885)

What are these mysterious notifications that won't invoke a desire to perform some sort of action from the user?

They're for the rest of us who are actually working on something and not waiting for the next distraction. It's nice to see the first few lines of an email for a second or two and be able to glance at it to decide whether it is worthy of interrupting what I'm working on. It's annoying that the notification is clickable because there are times when it appears directly under where I was about to click, so rather than perform the operation I intended, the system now opens an email that I didn't want open. You shouldn't spontaneously change the behavior of clicking in a region of the screen. The 'alert' that Outlook uses happens to appear on the screen in the same place that I dock the 'properties' pane in Visual Studio, so I frequently have an email pop open when I wanted to change an attribute of a control.

Re:WT...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213903)

[1]+ Exit 1 find / -name '*.jpg' | mail user@host
which I don't wish to handle until I'm at a stopping point. OTOH, I won't get this notification until I'm at a good stopping point...

Let's see Shuttleworth come up with some improvement on that, eh?

welcome to 2004, Linux (-1, Flamebait)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212917)

So Linux users can finally get what Mac users have had for four years [growl.info] ?

Revolutionary! :-)

Re:welcome to 2004, Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213097)

Linux is a kernel and Mac is a hardware platform, so you don't make very much sense.

Also, call me when I can download the latest MacOS for free legally and run it on the hardware of my choice.

MS-Windows too (3, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213455)

Another team has started a port of Growl to MS-Windows:

http://code.google.com/p/growl-for-windows/ [google.com]

Given the way things are, maybe Growl should simply be port to Linux, so that the same themes can be used?

Re:welcome to 2004, Linux (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213543)

So Linux users can finally get what Mac users have had for four years?

No, sounds more like new Linux users can get what old linux and older unix users have had since before Apple existed. Writing messages to the console.

Good to see apple catching up at last. I hear they've even got virtual desktops, too.

Re:welcome to 2004, Linux (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213659)

So Mac users recently got what GNU/Linux users have had for over a decade [apple.com] ?

Revolutionary! :-)

(let's face it: software development is an iterative process, where it often makes sense to take inspiration from other people doing similar things. As everyone does this, it's not a bad thing, in fact it helps spur innovation.)

Re:welcome to 2004, Linux (3, Informative)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213739)

Gnome users. Linux users who use KDE already have this and had it before OSX did.

Old-school UNIX. (3, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212929)

Old-school programs often had a messages window which contained notifications. You could view or dismiss it at will, and it was unintrusive. Try running xfig for that old-school feeling. In some, it was even embedded in the main window, so it was always there.

Or to get closer to the point, there's always xterm... Messages appear and scroll by eventually, but they have nothing except their existence oaasociated with them. No buttons, no links, no hideous, evil, modal dialogs and so on.

Re:Old-school UNIX. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213369)

Indeed. For me, that's Eterm. It is started at login, has no borders for me to click on, does not show up when alt-tabbing (skip window list), is not resizable or movable, and its stacking is "below all windows".

Basically, it turns a part of my desktop space into a terminal. And I always start with typing screen rtorrent. You gotta love Enlightenment for it to work, though...

That mouse over/under behavior... (4, Interesting)

Radhruin (875377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212931)

Having the notification bubbles disappear when you mouse over (well, under) them doesn't seem usable. The user will see the bubble and want to interact with it in some way. Mousing over should decrease opacity and allow the user to interact with the dialog, such as immediately remove it or click on it to bring up the application that spawned the notification. I'm very familiar with computers, and it still seems very strange to "mouse under" something.

Re:That mouse over/under behavior... (1)

Radhruin (875377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212983)

What I meant to say was, "increase opacity."

Re:That mouse over/under behavior... (1)

FugitiveMind (1423373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213053)

You just described exactly how Growl notifications on OSX work.

Re:That mouse over/under behavior... (1)

fudoniten (918077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213853)

Well, he's making exactly the opposite point. You should maybe read it first. You're free to disagree, of course, but you should at least know what you're disagreeing with.

His point is that the ability to interact with notifications means that you have to decide, in the two or three seconds that the notification is on-screen, whether or not you want to interact with it. That's distracting, which makes notifications annoying.

Personally, I'm with him. I hate it when I try to switch desktops, close a window, open my IM client, or whatever, and a notification pops up to block my click (or catch it and do something unexpected).

Sounds like UAC? (0, Troll)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26212971)

It almost sounds like UAC or that permissions window in OSX ... Isn't it great to see linux innovating, again?

Re:Sounds like UAC? (1)

Radhruin (875377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213015)

Huh? It sounds nothing like that. If you want to draw a comparison, it looks and sounds a lot like Growl notifications on OS X.

Re:Sounds like UAC? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213299)

UAC? No, that's sudo, and it was around for over two decades before the first line of code was written for Vista.

Re:Sounds like UAC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213339)

Yes, but it was never implemented graphically until osx/vista. Before, if you didn't su/sudo something, it just didn't work.

But, hey, thanks for reminding the world why everyone hates freetards.

Re:Sounds like UAC? (1)

Filip22012005 (852281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213411)

Nope, it had graphics as well. At least KDE has had that for ages, and I'm sure Gnome is no different.

Looks like Growl for OSX (1)

igb (28052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213011)

That mockup looks like my desktop: OSX with Growl notifications for mail.

The model for success. (4, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213023)

This is one case where I think that Microsoft has been the industry leader.

White lettering on azure field, clearly states the information, and no user can ignore it or work past it.

"A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer..."

Pretty... (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213135)

But it's only a minor UI change, instead of a yellow box with an 'x' I get a floating translucent one...

But why can't changes like this be put on the GNOME roadmap, instead of having ubuntu drive linux UI development?

What to do with stuck notifications? (1)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213145)

I am quoting Mark Shuttleworth here, from the article:

The most controversial part of the proposal is the idea that notifications should not have actions associated with them. In other words, no buttons, sliders, links, or even a dismissal [x]. When a notification pops up, you won't be able to click on it, you won't be able to make it go away, you won't be able to follow it to another window, or to a web page. Are you loving this freedom? Hmmm? Madness, on the face of it, but there is method in this madness.

This goes with the "There should be no actions on notifications" bullet point from the article. This leaves the user with no recourse other than to kill the notification agent in case a notification becomes stuck. While this is only the display agent, there should always be an "exit" for the user.

We want to make notifications truly ephemeral. They are there, and then they are gone, and that's life.
[snip]
If you miss it, that's OK. Notifications are only for things which you can safely ignore or miss out on.

I left in the relevant text. At first glance, it may seem like the approach that they are going to take with all notifications, but the second point they make is:

We think there should be persistent panel indicators for things which you really need to know about, even if you missed the notification because you urgently wanted that coffee. So we are making a list of those things, and plan to implement them.

So this is a little better. If something is broken, there will be an indicator somewhere that will always let you know. For all other things, like someone logging in or your wifi connecting and disconnecting, it'll pop up and fade away. If you're there to see it, great. If you're not, then great. This isn't an entirely new concept. In Windows, if my wifi goes dead, I'll get a disconnection notice, which will fade away forever. In the system tray, I'll have a visual indicator in the form of a red X over the wireless icon.

One question I have - is this new notification agent something that will just sit in front of libnotify and take care of the aesthetic properties of the notification, or will the two work separately? I guess I just want to know the relationship between this agent and the libnotify daemon.

Re:What to do with stuck notifications? (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213523)

I gotta wonder what the point of an ignorable notification is though. If I can ignore it, how does knowing about it help?

So... it's growl (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213163)

It looks and acts like growl. Not that that's a bad thing - it'd be a great feature to have on Linux.

What'd be cool is if they'd support growl's network protocol (or work with them implementing a common one). It'd be nice to have servers send me small status updates this way, rather than through emails or whatever.

Perfect. (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213247)

I think what SABDFL said is just about perfect. While I can appreciate being able to click a notification to go to the instant message I receive, I'll be far more likely to alt-tab to it instead.

I would like themes, though. I'm spoiled on Growl, check out my brainstorm idea... http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/15447/ [ubuntu.com]

Here's my proposal (5, Funny)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213257)

Every so often the interface should generate a dialog box that says: "Are you an idiot Y/N" If the user consistently answers no then the dialog boxes disappear. If they just click yes on every box in front of them then the operating system trojanizes its self to save other people the effort.

Yuck (0)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213319)

As if notifications weren't intrusive enough already.

Re:Yuck (1)

pipboy9999 (1088005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213389)

As if notifications weren't intrusive enough already.

I would have to agree, I hate the way they always seem to appear right where I need to interact with the program I am using. Or if you accidentally move your mouse over it, they stay on screen for ever thinking you are actually paying attention to them.

configurable? (1)

spectro (80839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213401)

I am cool with these notifications as long as there is a "disable all these annoying notifications" button somewhere.

- Wireless on/off?, just change the little icon in the bar
- Updates?, just show something I can hover to check

I don't know you but, besides pulseaudio, annoying little notifications are the only thing I would like to rip off Ubuntu.

Update hell (4, Insightful)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213421)

In Windows land, it seems just about dang near every application you install has notification annoyances when you start the PC.
1. Java Virtual machine seems to get an update every other day. This is just great, since I don't have enough java VM versions on my add/remove programs. Thanks!
2. Windows Media Player will irritate you with a media update every day, it seems.
3. Can't forget Itunes! What minor revision do you have now that doesn't seem to do much for me? Hey, what's all these extra applications you think I should install as well?
4. Macromedia Flash, ahh, can't forget that one.
5. HP Printer drivers. Just screams "me too".
6. Probably Steam has an update too.

And that's not even the usual update patches from Windows Update.

Don't turn your computer on in over a week, and you'll be going through 20 minutes of updating stuff. There are times I wish software WASN'T updated so frequently.

Re:Update hell (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213723)

Add to the list:
    - Network devices that have never been connected warn you they aren't connected.
    - Notifications of systems updates, even though you haven't been connected for the past week!?
   

Other options (2, Funny)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213453)

Hover translucency is OK, I guess. I'd rather have my cursor to push an always-translucent notification away, or squish it against the side of the screen, or do something else that actually got it out of my way. And it should shake when it's something really important. And flash! Mandatory PC speaker sound effects! Rumble mouse support! A frowny face graphic that becomes more sinister as the problem becomes more severe! Insert the warning text into the music you're listening to as replacement lyrics! THOSE BASTARDS NEED TO KNOW THIS STUFF!!!!!

Mystery Girl (2, Insightful)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26213531)

I love this remark from the article about notifications -

They are gone like a mystery girl on the bus you didnâ(TM)t get on, and they enrich your life in exactly the same way!

The first thing I thought of was, "So...they don't."

Seems nice enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26213617)

I was halfway through writing a post saying I didn't like the lack of interaction at all, but I changed my mind halfway through.
Frankly, this'll work far better than any current system. I hate multiple options on a notification that programs often do, it's annoying. This way notifications are just what they say on the tin. They tell you something.
Now, that said, I think the answer to the interactivity disappearing is already there. Tray Icons. Pidgin does this well. If you get a message, when you click on the icon, it raises the window. So you can have a notification from pidgin, then interact with the tray icon, rather than the notification (it would be good to have a picture to link the two).
That said, what I'd most like to see is basically what the G1, or rather, Android has. It's notification bar adds an icon when an application needs to tell you something, when you drag down, you get a list, then you can hit one to deal with it. It's effective, gives you lasting notification, so you don't miss things, and allows interaction. Combine this with the current statusbar cleverly, and it'd work well.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?