The Wall of Anaconda

I set this wall of Anaconda mockups up in the office today. Hope I don’t get in trouble 🙂 What I really want is a nice tool for doing the same online. I’ve been using Mediawiki for a long time, but it’s not the most user-friendly from the POV of folks trying to leave feedback. Mediawiki also only has one axis – you can see here I have major sections horizontally, with variations on each section vertically. A combination of Mediawiki + Notitie would be nice at least. I have this set up on my own private server but nothing public.

What's your partitioning persona? And, the partitioning UI thus far.

Partitioning personas Redesigning the UI for something as complex as an OS installer has the potential to be disruptive to some classes of users, so in designing and re-designing and re-re-designing the partitioning screens for Fedora’s installer, we’d like to make sure you’re going to be covered. Do any of these cases describe you, and if not, can you let me know how you use the partitioning functionality of Anaconda or really any OS installer so I can account for your use case? The partitioning UI thus far What are we doing to the installer’s partitioning UI to bring us to ask such questions? What is all this redesigning that’s going on? Well, let’s talk about partitioning as it works today in Anaconda. Note that this is a screenshot of Red Hat Linux 8.0 from 2002, almost 10 years ago now. Aside from the online help / release notes pane on the left which has long since been dropped, this partitioning screen does not look much different today. Our partitioning UI is currently very technology-centric. I suspect users care a lot more about the mountpoint layout of their OS with the technology underneath having a less primary role for them. …

Firewall Zones UI Design

Over the past couple of months I have been working with Thomas Woerner on some enhancements to and new UI for Fedora’s firewall controls. These additions are part of Thomas’s work in adding the concept of firewall ‘zones’ to Fedora to simplify firewall configuration and help make it easier for folks to keep their computers safe. Today, we provide users with a lot of control over their firewall in the system-config-firewall, but the problem with our current model is that with a laptop, you may connect to multiple different networks during the course of the day, and firewall rules that make sense for one network might not make much sense or may even be dangerous on another network. An example of this is if you’re sitting at home or at the office, you can pretty much trust the other systems on your network (well, at least if you’re at my office where we don’t have Windows systems 😉 ), so you might want to have your httpd service running if you’re a web developer and want to show others working links to web application code running on your laptop. However, when you’re at a coffeeshop with other systems on the …

Rough mountpoint mapping & cool x220 setup

Some scribbles from a discussion in #anaconda with dlehman where we pondered over the overall flow / navigation of the advanced partitioning screen mockups in Fedora’s installer after showing them to Spot and lmacken and uncovering some issues. Will this go anywhere? No idea. We’re working it. What might be more interesting to you at this point is how it was drawn. I have a Lenovo x220 tablet in the ultrabase 3 docking station there with an external Dell monitor, keyboard, and mouse hooked up. I spun the tablet screen into full-on tablet mode while it was in the dock. Then I used the following magical incantations to adjust the screen and tablet rotation (otherwise I’d be scribblin’ on the tablet upside-down): xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Pen stylus” MapToOutput LVDS1 xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Finger touch” MapToOutput LVDS1 xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Pen eraser” MapToOutput LVDS1 The above maps the Wacom tablet to the laptop screen, so the tablet doesn’t try to span both the external monitor AND the tablet screen. xrandr –output LVDS1 –rotate inverted The command above spin the screen 180 degrees so it’s facing the right way. xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Pen stylus” …

Rough mountpoint mapping & cool x220 setup

Some scribbles from a discussion in #anaconda with dlehman where we pondered over the overall flow / navigation of the advanced partitioning screen mockups in Fedora’s installer after showing them to Spot and lmacken and uncovering some issues. Will this go anywhere? No idea. We’re working it. What might be more interesting to you at this point is how it was drawn. I have a Lenovo x220 tablet in the ultrabase 3 docking station there with an external Dell monitor, keyboard, and mouse hooked up. I spun the tablet screen into full-on tablet mode while it was in the dock. Then I used the following magical incantations to adjust the screen and tablet rotation (otherwise I’d be scribblin’ on the tablet upside-down): xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Pen stylus” MapToOutput LVDS1 xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Finger touch” MapToOutput LVDS1 xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Pen eraser” MapToOutput LVDS1 The above maps the Wacom tablet to the laptop screen, so the tablet doesn’t try to span both the external monitor AND the tablet screen. xrandr –output LVDS1 –rotate inverted The command above spin the screen 180 degrees so it’s facing the right way. xsetwacom set “Wacom ISDv4 E6 Pen stylus” …

Slicing and dicing disks (first draft)

So, last time we chatted about Fedora’s installer redesign, we walked through how users would select which disks they’d like to be part of the install. Once our intrepid installer users have selected disks to install to, they should be set and the install will just work. (Okay, there’s the case where they have to squeeze space out of existing filesystems owned by another OS, and that’s in the plan, but not for this blog post.) In either case, these folks will not have to encounter screens like these at all. Some users, though, prefer to review and/or manually modify the disk partitioning, so this set of screens is what those users opt-in to see. So, most users simply trying to install Fedora on their laptop won’t ever have to bother with these screens unless they really want to. The way it’s mocked up now, they are tabs across a single screen. Serving up partitioning buffet-style like this is not ideal in my opinion, because then we’ll be enabling users to do things like btrfs raid on top of md raid which can, if I understand correctly, eliminate some of the advantages of having RAID in the first place. Buffet-style …

Where would you like your install today?

We are making some great progress on Anaconda’s UI revamp mockups after last week’s Anaconda team meetings. Here’s the storage flow diagram, now annotated with the screen #’s from the mockups: So let’s dive into the screens as they look so far. These are hot-of-the-press and may suck, so of course we’re posting them here for your perusal, critique, and feedback so we can make them better! I’ve tried to highlight areas where we’d like the most feedback just like this. 9-1-1 / Install Destination Simple So the deal with this screen is that it’s the main / default interface for selecting disks connected to your system for installation. As mocked up here, you could say we’ve got a laptop with a blank SSD and some other smaller peripheral storage devices plugged in. Local / Standard Drives The top half shows your run-of-the-mill laptop hard drives, external USB drives, etc.: There’s a small piechart in the upper right that roughly & quickly shows how much space is taken up (filled in) and how much is free (unpartitioned + free on fs). If you hover over any of these standard drives, you’ll get a tooltip breaking down how much free space …

Anaconda Whiteboards

David Lehman and Will Woods are in the Boston area this week so along with Chris Lumens, Peter Jones, and David Cantrell we’ve all been whiteboarding away, planning and refinement on the upcoming Anaconda UI redesign that is scheduled to land in Fedora 17.
These are just whiteboards; I’m hoping we’ll have a more detailed post after our brains cool off from the gears churning so intensely 🙂 Most of the discussion so far has been about the (opt-in) partitioning screens, and overall flow.

Overall Flow

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Bootloader Config and Install Use Cases

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Anaconda Language & Keyboard Layout Selection

…If we went with this design, then, the language selection flow in Anaconda might look something like this:

A probably non-exhaustive list of how this would change Anaconda is as follows:

  • Folks who don’t speak English would be able to more easily pick out their language in the initial set of ~60 or so languages Anaconda supports since they’d be available in their native name.
  • You’d be able to install the OS in a language beyond the limited set that the Anaconda UI itself is available in.
  • You’d be able to choose between a preferred language with limited coverage or a less-preferred language with fuller coverage since limited coverage languages would be flagged.
  • You’d be able to use more than one keyboard layout, which was not possible before. Multi-lingual users would not have this extra step post-install.
  • The keyboard command for switching between keyboard layouts would be more visible, and you’d be able to switch between them in the installer itself (useful for an American with accent marks in her name. *cough*)
  • You’d be able to modify the keyboard command for switching between keyboard layouts, and not need to configure it post-install.
  • You’d be able to filter in both the keyboard layout and language lists.
  • You’d be able to take a selected keyboard layout for a test drive before committing to it.