A good proof of concept

After some refactorization and some thinking about how and where to do all the services categorization, I’m getting at least a good working prototype of services-admin with reworked UI/concept, hopefully this code will hit CVS tomorrow.

New services-admin main window

BTW, Thanks Jeff for switching my blog in p.g.o, blogs.gnome.org is quite neat :)

11 thoughts on “A good proof of concept”

  1. The big question is: which distros are supported (e.g. are the 8-10 most popular distros are supported out of the box)? And is FreeBSD supported? Is this utility relies on the chance that people from these other distros/OSes adding support for it?

    If yes, I am afraid that it will take a long time before a sizeable part of the Linux/BSD userbase use this utility as Debian/SuSE/RH/MDK already have such a utility in their distros (of course, these distros cover about 60-70% of the Linux userbase anyway). I believe that it’s the rest of the distros/OSes that mostly need it… Distros like gentoo, slackware, Arch and Ubuntu, and FreeBSD. I am using Slackware sometimes (when I feel like masochist and I get myself to use Linux) and I would love to have this utility in there. But my other laptop runs Fedora & SuSE and I happen to not need this utility there.

  2. Something like this would be many times more complicated on a system that used a BSD-style init system (Slackware and its descendents and the BSDs are the only ones like this I know of offhand). These systems run a single script at system startup.

    As far as the SysV-init distros (Almost everything else) go, minor modifications will be needed for Gentoo and its derivatives, since they use runlevels that are named instead of numbered, but it should be pretty trivial. Path names will generally be the only thing differing between these distros.

  3. Great mock-up though — this looks beautiful, sleek and useful!
    I don’t know if you’re responsible for these strings or not, but a couple of the descriptions strike me as confusing.
    In specific:

    exim: “Delivers your sent mail to the internet” is oddly redundant (if the mail has already been sent, why deliver it?). I’d recomment “Delivers e-mail.” or “Sends e-mail to the internet”

    samba: “Shares your selected folders throughout the internet” makes it sound like “selected folders” are a special kind of folder that exist regardless of Samba. I’d recommend “Shares selected folders…” or simply “Shares files…” or “Shares folders…” — “Shares folders…” in particular would make it clear that only some folders are shared, since otherwise you would just say “Shares your files…”

    gdm: “Requests username and password in a graphical fashion” would sound very odd indeed to a user who doesn’t know the jargon about a “graphical interface” (remember, most users don’t use anything else!). I’d suggest just “Allows users to log in” or “Keeps track of logged in users” or something like that.

  4. @Provataki:

    The services-admin backend (and all of the g-s-t) already support a quite wide number of distros, being FreeBSD (5 and 6), gentoo, slackware and debian between them. (you can look at the @platforms array here for seeing the supported platforms list)

    Adding support for distros more or less easily (and indeed much easier than writting a tool from scratch) is the main purpose for the system-tools-backends, as the interface they offer for gnome-system-tools is the same for all distros.


    very good suggestions, thanks! I guess that the descriptions still need a couple of iterations, as my english is not the best :)

  5. Looks great! A tiny nitpick: To make this consistent with the “add to panel…” dialog the “Available services:” label should probably be replaced by

    “Select the services that you wish to activate”

    or something.
    (And it shouldn’t be bold, it makes it look a bit like a section header, which shouldn’t exist if there is only one section.)

  6. Why are there two options for ‘Mail agent’? Surely this would confuse a user (particularly since they are a fair distance apart)?

    Perhaps services which perform the same function should be grouped together and the select the preferred default?

    Just a thought…

  7. Reinout,

    The main dialog buttons is common in all the g-s-t tools, while there are some tools that might be instant-apply, other ones might become quite dangerous to use (think for example about users-admin, disks-admin or boot-admin).

    So we can do 2 things here, add the possibility for creating instant apply tools too, or keeping all the tools consistent between themselves, I guess that the correct option depends on the user perception of the g-s-t as a whole

  8. Andrew > that’s just a mockup, in reality a user will never install two Mail Agent without knowing what they do. In fact Debian based system prevent you from doing so.

    I have a few issues about your mockup, the main one being that nothing in the window tell the user what the checkbox does.
    Even if he have a slight idea it’s not really clear :
    -Does it start the service when you check it, and stop it accordingly
    – or does it just launch the service at start-up as I suppose?
    It would also be nice to have a way to know if the service is launched or not.

  9. It would be nice to have some sort of “Enable small view” checkbox that shrunk each service down to a single line for people who know what they are and don’t want to scroll.

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