Software Log Viewer

PackageKit has always had a log viewer, but I would be the first to admit that it looked shite, and wasn’t really useful for anybody.

I’ve spent a couple of hours, adding more columns and adding a filter facility so that you can narrow down the results to something useful.

Use cases for this tool:

  • Something in yesterdays automatic update broke firefox. What was updated?
  • Did I update firefox last week?
  • (for backends that support rollback) Take me to the snapshot before I installed XFCE

Comments welcome.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

13 thoughts on “Software Log Viewer”

  1. Excellent! I like!

    What did you think about adding something like “remove” button when we have “Installed packages” entry (or a rigth click option to the list)
    => it can be nice to remove a package + dependency with a single click

  2. Remove most of the columns, and pretty print all the information in one column using bold for the important info and smaller fonts for the less important information

    [b]Removed Packages[/b]: Packagekit-gstreamer-plugin\n
    [small](01 October 2008[/small]

    Is the time taken in anyway useful to know…”oh look 3 weeks ago it took 4 seconds to install packageX”?

    If you install a lot of packages, the table gets very cluttered and wide as your shot shows. Maybe don’t mention details in the table, but have a “Show Details” button instead that opens a dialog showing the specific details.

  3. I was just thinking that I could make use of something like this for something that recently broke, nice. :)

    Having said that, I agree that things like duration are not important enough to be included in the main table.


  4. Are the headers needed?
    I mean, its obvious what the columns are and do you really need to sort on anything other than date?

  5. Given the interface above, how does one rollback to a particular state as described in the use case (“(for backends that support rollback) Take me to the snapshot before I installed XFCE”)?

    This sounds useful but it’s not at all obvious from that interface.

    If one has to right-click to reveal a “rollback” menu choice, might I suggest a button (which is clickable when one selects a package and only if the current backend supports rollback) instead? My experience with novice GUI users is that right-clicking is almost always news, not something users think to do.

    Thanks for all your work on this project.

  6. Nice!

    Perhaps a | installed | removed | updated | all | combobox could be added to the filter, if you e.g want to see what packages you have installed and removed manually, for bugreports, dependencies etc. ?

  7. Looks great!

    Some minor improvement (?) suggestions:
    – as Scott said: changelog would be nice to have (not sure if PK supports this, though)
    – maybe the timestamps should be displayed as relative dates (“yesterday”, “3 weeks ago”…)? I’d like that better than the usual absolute format, but see two points to think about: a) sometimes people want to see the absolute date – maybe display it as tooltip? b) what happens if the window is left open over night – for correctness, the relative dates would have to be adjusted, which might be lots of work for a very rare event…
    – nice hidden feature: it would be nice to be able to copy the contents of a row (Ctrl+c, or maybe a context menu entry?); most people won’t notice or need this feature, but _if_ somebody needs it, he will curse PK under his breath while typing the contents manually ;-)
    – the filter button should have an icon; or maybe there shouldn’t be a button at all (like in Rhythmbox)? Didn’t find anything about this in Gnome HIG, unfortunately (anyone knows how to submit topic suggestions for that document, btw?)

    All in all, great work!

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