I'd like to dig up my first (rather controversial) post that I made on these forums....
Therein I mentioned some things I hate about Linux, as well as a wishlist of things that I would like to see improved. Since then Linux Mint has gone a long way toward improving many of these aspects. I am especially excited to see that Mint is going to be releasing a mini-LiveCD and an E17 version. I really want to see a lightweight Linux distro that can run well on old hardware and still have the package availability and "normality" of a regular Ubuntu-based system. But the most important thing that still needs to be addressed is a comprehensive Control Panel for Linux. Most Linux users are not very proficient with the command line or text config files, and many of them never will be. For them, a good GUI Control Panel is the only option. Mandriva Control Center and YaST are decent, but they are slow and poorly designed, and they only work on those respective systems. Currently in KDE and Gnome there are a few good GUI tools for *some* aspects of system administration. But they don't cover all the bases. And they are dreadfully slow or pull in huge numbers of dependancies when installed on a lightweight system that doesn't run Gnome or KDE. Additionally, many of the convenient tools that live in the system tray of KDE and Gnome, such as battery monitors and keyboard layout switchers do not work on the alternative desktops. Therefore, I would like to propose the following, copied from my previous post:
Comprehensive graphical control panel, written in a fast programming language and not written with Gnome or KDE dependencies. Most distros have a few limited config tools, but most of them are based on Gnome or KDE. That makes them unbearably slow to load on slow computers running a lightweight desktop. Maybe it would be good to write this in a web language and make it configurable via a web browser. Functions that should be configurable without the command line or a text editor include:
Wired network devices
Wireless network devices
USB network devices
Internet Connection sharing
Remote Samba Share mounts (so that programs without Gnome or KDE file dialogs and also command line can access remote Samba shares
Current samba shares on local machine.
Common network Login with roaming profiles and Windows network login / authentication
System language and keyboard language.
Full system backup / incremental backups to tape, DVD, or network host.
Time and Date and Internet Time sync
Printers and Printer Sharing
Scanners and Scanner sharing
Fax send/receive (yes businesses still depend on fax)
Offline network files, with Sync when user comes back online
Packages / Programs
Default Programs / protocol handlers
System restore states
Mouse speed and orientation
Power control / speedstep / ACPI / APM / hibernate control
Xorg configurator, allowing full control of monitor and resolution and switch between VESA / Xorg drivers or proprietary drivers, and
also multiple monitor support
Sound Card config / switcher
Scheduled Tasks / Cron
Services / daemons control
Write desktop-neutral systray applets that conform to the common standards (to work with XFCE or IceWM) to include common functionality when the user is using a lightweight desktop. These same applets would also work in Gnome and KDE, for consistency. These applets should also tie into the above mentioned GUI control panel. Functions would include
network / WiFI monitor
calendar / tasks
resolution / monitor switching
power control / laptop battery indicator
I now think that the best approach would be web-based. It could even be accessed via a text browser from the console or over SSH, for those who prefer that. It might be best to use and existing web framework such as http://script.aculo.us/ or http://ebox-platform.com/ . I am confident that such a web based control panel would add massive value to Linux Mint and any derivatives running any sort of desktop or window manager. Any ideas?
Thanks for considering this!