Perfect Mint

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Perfect Mint

Postby kneekoo on Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:57 am

Topic: Perfect Mint
Forum: viewforum.php?f=29

Tough topic, considering people have different needs, but I think the stuff I bring up would serve quite a large part of the users if they were implemented.

Disclaimer: While my input in this thread reflects my personal opinion, the purpose of this thread is to get community feedback about the most important features that should be kept in mind for future Mint releases. Some features might be developed by the Mint developers, while others might be done in partnership with other projects owners. What really matters is to get things done, so we should consider crowd funding (like indiegogo) for each of these projects/proposals. I like contributing to something that will forever be available as open source and even added to other distros, which is why, in time, I helped various projects with translations, code, testing, feedback, support, publicity and even donations. So if the plans will be made with other distros in mind I'm pretty much sure it will be very easy to gather the funds for whatever we (the community) want. Of course, we shouldn't aim for impossible stuff, but it also doesn't hurt to be brave and not easily dismiss ideas that some great developers would love to get done. The main point here is to address the shortcomings that most people need fixed for a better user experience. If it ends up right, then we can go for smaller priorities. :)

1. Time settings
It's not a Mint-specific issue, but it would be nice if Mint would be first to address this. A live session should never auto-adjust (without permission) anything on a system. Dual-boot (Linux/Windows) systems also have this issue and it's really annoying to have to set your time every time you boot through both of your operating systems. The problem is you can't easily inform the OS your clock is set to your local time or UTC and it must be possible to do this in the installer as well. This setting is not easy to find in both Linux and Windows and while the Linux one can be set and forget about it, the Windows one is buggy and not recommended to tamper with. Considering Windows is a "black box", the best way is to fix this is to make it easy in Linux.

2. Partition mounting
Currently there's no easy way to instruct Mint which partitions to be mounted on boot, and how (rights). Auto-mounting should be really easy and as safe as possible so newbies don't ruin anything on their PCs. Solutions to look to:
> ntfs-config is simple enoguh but it might need a bit of review and testing because some people reported issues with USB devices;
> mountmanager is great, but it has so many options that regular people might "choke" on them.

3. Samba sharing
The lack of proper sharing tools makes it really hard to successfully use file sharing. The user shouldn't even know smb.conf exists, but simply share whatever (s)he needs by using the file manager alone. And if the user doesn't have proper rights, proper information should be visible or recommended. This also plagues the sharing of mounted devices - try to share a NTFS partition and you'll grow white hairs. This is really bad, because most people will get stuck and won't be able to share files, so it's a half-baked feature.

4. Desktop settings in one place
This should be all about user convenience. Right-clicking the desktop should offer an option like "Desktop properties" and by clicking it we would have complete access to features related to the desktop:
- wallpaper
- theme
- font rendering
- screen resolution
- window preferences
- desktop settings
- screensaver and lock settings
- visual effects
- desktop sharing (remote access)
- (would be welcomed) a graphics wizard that allows a user to easily enable/disable graphics adapters/GPUs and even reset the graphics stack to default settings
and why not, a link to the accessibility options

5. Trivial desktop environment management
There's no need to support just about every desktop environment, but at least the major ones could be featured in the special category in the Software Manager (mintInstall), so people can easily and safely install XFCE/LXDE/Fluxbox on their MATE/Cinnamon/KDE setup. Now if it was also possible to easily and safely remove the unwanted desktop environments, that would be even better.

6. ISO mounting
I think a lot of people know at least one of the following ISO mounters: DAEMON Tools, Virtual CloneDrive, PowerISO, MagicDisc. A simple tray application to provide similar functionality out of the box would be great. Suggested project to get in touch with: AcetoneISO.

7. An improved Defaults Manager
There are two things not working properly when using two or more apps that can handle the same file types. The most common one is the handling of text and multimedia files after we install new editors and players: some files will open with an app, others with another one. mate-default-applications-properties should allow us to (re)enforce the default apps for file types, but with a twist. For instance "Text Editor" should also have a text box that includes all file extensions considered as text files. Another annoying thing is URL handling. After we install several browsers, clicking some links will open Opera, others will open with Chromium or Chrome, others in Firefox and so on. Even if you switch the default browser to Opera (and close), then switch back to Firefox (and close) the URLs still open with Chromium. Only update-alternatives can fix this. So the "Defaults Manager" should actually use that tool.

More ideas?
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Re: Perfect Mint

Postby MartyMint on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:29 pm

kneekoo wrote:Topic: Perfect Mint
Forum: viewforum.php?f=29


1. Time settings

Not sure what you mean? That the OS does OR doesn't automatically adjust the time? In an installed environment or on the Live environment?

2. Partition mounting

I agree with you. Some folks might say "well there's this and that", partition mounting can be made easier. I looked into pysdm and it suits my needs, but it needs some researching if you're a newer user.

3. Samba sharing

Actually, SAMBA shares in Mint and Ubuntu are the easiest share method I've ever found. Far easier than setting up shares in other distros and especially in Windows 7.

4. Desktop settings in one place

There's enough tweaking in the current right-click menu and certainly a DE like KDE has most of these features you describe.

5. Trivial desktop environment management

Mint officially supports Cinnamon and to a slightly lesser extent, MATE. I wouldn't say Clem has spread himself too thin here.

6. ISO mounting

I use Gmount-iso. It's very easy. I tried Acetone-ISO, but Gmount was way easier.

7. An improved Defaults Manager

Agreed. Flipping between file managers, for example can be confusing.

More ideas?
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Re: Perfect Mint

Postby kneekoo on Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:36 am

1. What I wrote was clear enough but it's probably too much info for someone who didn't encounter the issue. Here's another version of the issue: on shutdown, Linux synchronizes the hardware clock to the software clock of your Linux session. This is obviously a problem when your hardware clock is set to your local time, rather than UTC. If you boot from a live session, it will assume your hardware clock is set to UTC and your software clock will be displayed accordingly. On shutdown, with all these assumptions, your hardware clock will be set to the software time. A live session should NEVER, EVER touch any local setting, including the time, *without* asking the user, and an installed Linux distro should easily allow the admin to change the setting that informs the operating system if your hardware clock is set to UTC or not.

3. Again it feels like you didn't run into the cases I mentioned. Having multiple operating systems implies multiple partitions, file systems and user rights. It's not trivial to make samba sharing easy for such cases, but especially for new comers, which tend to dual-boot for a while, sharing in such conditions is critical. Try to share an NTFS partition if you have one and you'll see what I mean.

4. The desktop settings should be easy on each desktop. I know this depends mostly on the DE makers, but distro developers should (in time) gather feedback from their users and forward the most common issues to the DE makers. Honestly, having to go around in various menus to find some desktop setting is really annoying, especially when it's mostly different in each DE. The chances to easily remember every setting in each DE is relatively slim, unless you're especially focused on such aspects on a daily basis. There's simply too little coherence in desktop management. It's up to us, the users, to ask for easier settings, up to the distro developers to collect such feedback and up to the DE makers to handle it. Otherwise... we get KDE 4.0, Gnome 3.0, Unity 1.0 and so on. By this I meant disasters. Linux development can be so much easier to support when you have more satisfied users, which turn into donors... People are sensible to good user-developer communication and Linux Mint is such an example.

5. In an ideal world the users choose their desktop environment before they install it. They will grab the correct ISO and get the job done. However, it's not at all uncommon that the users want to try another desktop environment without reinstalling the whole operating system, having to backup everything and so on. It takes a lot of time and it's not productive at all. After all, it's all about some packages to install, so not really a big deal. This is why a new mint application could allow the user to click one button to install a new DE and even make it the default one from "mint-de-manager". It's not a question of how easy or hard would be to accomplish this, but rather how nice and useful it will be.

6. I mentioned AcetoneISO because there's more than ISO files - it was my mistake for calling it "ISO mounting". We need something good enough to handle ISO, CUE/BIN, NRG, CCD, IMG, MDF/MDS, DMG and others. AcetoneISO can handle most of these (if not all). For instance, if I want to mount a multi-track CUE/BIN or a mixed-mode (audio+data) image, it won't be trivial, as it is in Windows - with Virtual CloneDrive or DAEMON Tools. I don't know... maybe we shouldn't reinvent the wheel but have a talk with the creators of these projects and ask them if they're willing to make Linux versions of their software. Why not? Even if they won't make them open-source, until we will have such a solution we will still be able to mount the most popular optical drive images.
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Re: Perfect Mint

Postby quadro on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:46 am

Just a note 6), I would suggest CDEmu instead of AcetoneISO. AcetoneISO is not able to mount multi-segmented or multi-track images.
Even though CDEmu is able(the only Linux utility I know about) yet not all of them, maybe the newer versions of CDEmu.
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Re: Perfect Mint

Postby kneekoo on Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:10 pm

That's quite interesting and at least v2.1.1 looks like is can handle all the disk images and mentioned and more. :) Thanks for the tip! I'll have to try it sometime soon.
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