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


Bootloader Config and Install Use Cases


Fedora Community (the app) Update

The story up ’till recently So you may have heard about Fedora Community, a web application we developed and launched in 2009. Or, maybe not. From the wiki planning page for the project: Fedora Community is a web portal designed to make it easier for package maintainers to do their job. The goal is to create a modular web page in which each module would pull views from the various Fedora resources and display them to the user. Well, the project wasn’t the resounding success Spot, J5, Luke, and I were hoping it might be. We’d set out to make life easier for Fedora package maintainers, which of course benefits everyone who uses Fedora. We did run a usability test of Fedora Community at FUDcon Toronto in December 2009 after it had been available for a couple months. There’s some detailed testing analysis here, but in short we identified the following issues during testing: The testers had never heard of it before, and were confused as to what it was for. The application runs pretty slowly. The navigation was confusing. Search results weren’t always great. Because of various commitments / new projects on each of our plates, however, after the …

Ideas for a cgroups UI

On and off over the past year I’ve been working with Jason Baron on a design for a UI for system administrators to control processes’ and users’ usage of system resources on their systems via the relatively recently-developed (~2007) cgroups feature of the Linux kernel. After the excitement and the fun that is the Red Hat Summit, I had some time this week to work with Jason on updating the design. Before I dive into the design process and the mockups, I think it’d be best to do a review of how cgroups work (or at least how I understand them to) so that the rest makes more sense. (And maybe I’ve got some totally incorrect assumptions about cgroups that have resulted in a flawed design, so hopefully my calling out the current understanding might make it easier for you to correct me 🙂 ). A designer’s understanding of cgroups via diagram So cgroups, which are sometimes referred to as containers (I think because a similar Solaris feature, zones, is sometimes called containers) can be used to slice an entire operating system into buckets, similarly to how virtual machines slice up their host system into buckets, but without having to …

A rich web interface for mailing lists

Luke Macken and I had a little mini hackfest today on improving collaboration in Fedora. This is an idea we came up with this afternoon and I mocked up most of it on the bus ride home tonight. (A 2-hour bus ride home as the post-Boston-flood road conditions and traffic during rush hour were really bad tonight.) Luke already has a working prototype 🙂 What do you think? The Inkscape source is of course available so please feel free to try out your own ideas and play away and bounce them back! These are some random, off-the-cuff points about some of the ideas behind the mockups to help give some context. I’m likely missing a lot of good points here so I apologize in advance for my sloppiness: threads are flattened to one level to make it simpler to follow both the number of participants and number of comments are noted posts have ratings to discourage one-liner “me toos” replies and also to make quality discussions more visible. not sure though which scheme is best, what do you think? showing a single number which is the positives and negatives added together (digg style) showing two numbers, one for the number …

authconfig-gtk UI revamp

Recently I’ve been working on a UI revamp of authconfig-gtk AKA system-config-authentication. Here is the existing UI: From what I’ve gathered about this UI: It’s fairly old. It’s grown organically, with new options and features added on piecemeal without an overall design vision. It exists in firstboot too, under the ‘network login’ button. It allows you check off as many and whatever identity and authentication methods you desire, even if the combinations make no sense. That last point leads me to classify it as a good example of a box of chocolates GUI, meaning ‘you never know what you’re going to get.’ Configuring isn’t really a task that most people really have as a life goal nor is it something generally considered fun (it’s the cool stuff the configuration eventually enables you to do that’s fun!), so I think configuration / administration UIs like this often degrade to the ‘box of chocolates’ state. Authconfig-gtk will try each combination possible from your selections, trying each little chocolate, er, moving on from failure until it hits one that ends up being cherry creme-filled, er, actually works. The catalyst for revisiting the UI is a cool new technology called SSSD that folks such …