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Quality of MandrakeLinux interface Words, sentences and phrases

#1 Guest_Adriano_*

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 12:05 PM

This thread is supposed to complement the long discussion about the MandrakeLinux Default Desktop.

Apart from the look of the widgets and quality of the icon set, an important part of the interface are the words and sentences used, and also the relevance or appropriateness of the messages displayed. For a quick example, I suppose "Turn Computer Off" is clearer than "Mode Interrupt Request" (H2G2 paraphrased). I wanted to try and improve the quality of this part of the Galaxy theme. A good idea would be to post what we find here into Mandrake's Bugzilla, if it's not already there. I'm sure we can find a lot of improvements to be made.

Caveat: I'm moving from London (England) to Parma (Italy). I leave on the 15, and will be without a connection for a while, so I'm not sure how much will I be able to contribute here. Still, I really think this thread is necessary.

Still, for starters:

-When accessing MCC (click on an mcc icon as a normal user, or call mcc from a normal user's terminal), the program asks for the root password. If you click on the "Cancel" button in the password input window, the program displays a message saying something like "Wrong password input" instead of ending silently.

-Bug #6969 in bugzilla was submitted by me, originally dealing with some inconsistencies I found on the Draksec tooltips and explanations. After a while, I discovered these inconsistencies were present in the main English version, too. The list of changes requested in that bug is fairly long. I'm sure it's still incomplete.
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#2 User is offline   arctic 

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 01:32 PM

okay, i will deal now only with the stuff we know from the normal menu we see in kicker popping up (you know, clicking the star on the taskbar) and the basic descritions of directories, not the apps themselves.

we have several entries: "office", "internet", "multimedia", "system" and "more applications".

office: the basic selection is on a good way, but there are still some things that need improvement. e.g. the inconsistency of the language. on a german dekstop, i have everything in german except the entries "drawing" and "adress books". these should be changed to the specific language and it should not be too difficult for mandrake to accomplish that imho.

but: why do i have an entry for adress books and one for organizer and process management? don't they belong together in one group (organizer)? same goes for drawing programs. i do have an entry called "vector drawing" and one called "drawing". this is not very logical. especially if you find out that you won't fing e.g. gimp in there but under multimedia.

sure, some apps do fit in more than one subfolder-category, but the placing must be cohesive. so either move the drawing apps out of the office section to the multimedia-section (i would like an section called "graphics") or vice versa.

internet: why is the knewsticker placed unter "other" when there is a "news" section in the same menu? again, not cohesive, logical placing of apps. also, why is there a special entry for chat and instant messaging? how about one folder for these?

multimedia: i really do not expect all my graphic-programs (like gimp) to be under multimedia. they are something different than multimedia. if i think of multimedia, i do think of mp3-players, cd-players, dvd, video-stuff, webcams etc. the graphic-section needs a seperate entry.

maybe the mixer-stuff should be placed on a different subfolder in the multimedia section (thus splitting the "sounds" section). the music-apps could be e.g. in folder "music", the kmixer etc. in "mixer-tools".

system: why are all burning programs here? why not in the multimedia section? the "system" menu is a puzzle to me. i looked at it and it never made any sense to me. are terminals really some "system" stuff? this folder needs a lot of work imho.

other apps: shall we call this folder "lazyness" alternatively? put together a bunch of apps that you don't want to categorize and label it "other apps". fine. every user will know what to find there. yes, adding too many folder on the first folder-layer won't help either but seriously, placing codingapps, games, editors, finance-apps etc. in one folder called "other apps" is a bad joke.

so, my first suggestion is: regroup the stuff in a logical way, add some primary folders (e.g. the one for graphics) and make the use of language consistent.
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#3 Guest_Adriano_*

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 04:28 PM

Amen to that. Especially the "Multimedia - Graphics" submenu. I really find that counterintuitive. I agree with you on the CD burners being inside "System" and on the "More Apps" submenu.

In fact, something I find very, very annoying: if you install the mandrake docs through urpmi, they go straight to "More Applications - Documentation" instead of appearing in a "Documentation" submenu inside the main menu. Even editing with Drakmenu (as root and user) I haven't been able to change this. In fact, I could get everything else out of "More apps" but that item.

On the other hand, I think a first time user shouldn't have much more use for a terminal than for accomplishing system-related tasks, such as modprobing in times of need, or hdparming his disk...

Another thing I noticed: for first time users, the "What to do" menu could be a much better choice, with a better grouping of apps by tasks. Still, for that, it should be the standard option, not a choice. If the first time user has to go to menudrake to select that, the point is moot.
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#4 User is offline   arctic 

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 01:33 PM

Quote

Another thing I noticed: for first time users, the "What to do" menu could be a much better choice, with a better grouping of apps by tasks. Still, for that, it should be the standard option, not a choice. If the first time user has to go to menudrake to select that, the point is moot.

hmm.. how about the following option: we all know that when we first set up a mandrake-box, we are asked, which desktop environment we want to use. same question could be there for the menu. choose between: 1. simple beginner-menu, 2. the standard mandrake-menu, 3. the original kde(gnome) menu.

when we think of the "noob", there is still the problem of naming of apps. i talked about the grouping above. under the menu-folder entry, we get the names of apps, but honestly, who should know what e.g Kugar is? the icons shows a bearfoot. bravo. maybe the icons for some apps look nice, but they do not offer us any help when we want to know what an app is good for. same for the name of apps. KXslbg or Emacs are other examples of these cryptic app-names and icons.

so, what needs to be changed? i would say a guideline for programmers HOW names should be and WHAT the icons should give to the end user in terms of information. but somehow, every coder does things the way he likes, resulting in such names like k3b, Kimdaba, kooka and other nonsense. what use is there, placing a K at the beginning of apps? it does not help to distinguish apps or get an idea what they are good for. yes, blame the kde-project on this and i do. gnome is better here, but still far from perfect.

abiword, openoffice, rhythmbox, nautilus cd-burner, these apps have logical names. the icons speak for themselves (except the openoffice icon. it is one of the worst imho). they are thus usable.

but there are still more problems with the names of the apps. think of e.g. a user that wants to install an application for designing svg-graphics. he goes to the mandrake control center and has to browse every app by category. we all know that this can take quite a while if you don't know exactly which app you want to use. so, if the types in the search box something like "svg graphic" the result will be 0. he will have to browse the list or he will need to know that the app is called sodipodi (another stupid name) or inkscape or ...

now imagine a noob trying to solve that puzzle... big mess. so, what is needed here? some kind of category that every app is intelligently linked to, thus showing up in the mcc once a search is done. this is much like a library catalogue. e.g. i search for a picture-database app. every app that can be used as such should show up if i type in "picture catalogue" or "picture archive" or "picture database" in mcc, because apps like Kimdaba are linked to these keywords.

this would help the end user, reducing time spent in some cryptic menus imho. but CAN this be done? :unsure:/>

This post has been edited by arctic: 13 September 2004 - 01:33 PM

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#5 User is offline   AussieJohn 

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 05:33 PM

Hello arctic and adrianovaroli. I agree with you both 100%.

I have never been able to understand this cryptic title nonsense but I guess that is the privilege of the programs writers. Most of them seem to indulge in it. Even reading their application descriptions is a trial and often make little sense to most people.

This does not excuse Mandrake or the KDE project team for not cleaning up the shambles that is called Menu.

I am wondering if there is some cultural effect that produces this kind of arrangement.
I realise that France is the nominal home of Mandrake and it must influence the menu format which perhaps is different in perspective to the english speaking part of the world. So maybe we are getting a Chinese english or Japanese english type of effect here.

I feel that MandrakeSoft do not take any notice of the english speaking worlds comments about Mandrake at all.
But thank god they turn out the best package Linux OS of them all.

Cheers. John
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#6 User is offline   mousematt 

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 12:46 PM

I am going to install 10.1RC1 on a spare PC this weekend. What if I posted screenshots from all of the config options in the Mandrake Control Centre. Could we work on the dialogues and interface messages from there?
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#7 User is offline   Gowator 

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 01:15 PM

I think the basis of the problem is simply drakmenu.
It is basically fighting against the KDE or Gnome menu's the whole time...

I would prefer (in my preferred DM which is KDE) just the KDE menu's and KDE utilities like Kadduser ... I find the whole Mandrake stuff superfluous to a perfectly good pre-exisitng menu system. Indeed I find it over complicates the whole thing.

Mostly its just frustrating to change, and to be honest I gave up ages ago ... njow I just use native menu's and its much easier to just put stuff where its more logical for you.

For instance I sometimes use flux or ICEWM as light WM but then I want a totally different set of apps ... for instance If im on utlra-light then I will probably use the CLI to add a user, not a GUI tool.

It just seems every incarnation of MDK menu's just gets more complex for the user to customise.. and again its a lot of wasted effort trying to get different WM/DM to all act the same....presumably if they were designed to work the same then their would be no point having them!
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#8 User is offline   chris:b 

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 02:35 PM

I am with Gowator here. First thing I am doing after a fresh MDK install: switching to the original KDE menu. No problems, no menu bugs, everything in a clear structure. Easy to edit.

I understand that MDK wants one unified menu for all DE's - but the result is just a pain.
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#9 User is offline   AussieJohn 

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 08:13 PM

Hi ANNA. Once again you are an inspiration. I really did not know that there was a KDE Menu as such. Just a few moments ago I went to MCC to have a look, found it and selected it.

Wow . What a difference. It is certainly far superior to the Mandrake one. Now permanently changed, for the better. :thanks:/> :thanks:/>

I will be converting my friends to it as well (I have installed and set up for them and they tend to use it that way. I have shown them how to use Look&Feel and this is all they play around with and they love it) :thumbs:/>

Cheers. John.
The Computer future is here TODAY ..... Mageia-4, KDE4, Dolphin, K3B, Grip, Audacious, Totem, Kaffeine, SVLC, Kmail, Libre-Office, Scribus, XSane, Gimp, OpenShot, FireFox, FlightGear, Filelight, Gwenview, Geeqie, GoogleEarth, Skype, Pysol-FC.

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#10 User is offline   chris:b 

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 09:02 PM

[offtopic]
John, you'll need some run commands now to add the special Mandrake tools to the KDE menu.

The Mandrake Control Center is: /usr/sbin/drakconf.real
More: userdrake, localedrake, rpmdrake and so on.
And to edit the KDE menu you need the package kmenuedit (on the cd), don't know if it's installed as default.
[off]

Sorry, Adriano, for hi-jacking your thread.
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#11 User is offline   AussieJohn 

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 05:08 PM

Hello ANNA. Are you a mind reader or what???.
I did have to revert back to Mandrake Menu because I found that my few Gnome based apps did not show up ANYWHERE.
To save highjacking this thread further,( I apologize to the original poster because I was the guilty party here on this and not you) could you PM me with greater detail of how to implement what you suggest or can we make a split thread or something.

Ma'am you are way way ahead of me on this biz.

Thanks heaps. Cheers. John. (unashamed ANNA fan)
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#12 User is offline   arctic 

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 07:20 PM

Quote

I am going to install 10.1RC1 on a spare PC this weekend. What if I posted screenshots from all of the config options in the Mandrake Control Centre. Could we work on the dialogues and interface messages from there?

yupp, please. :)/>

p.s.: finally i am back again after a week at a congress (man, i feel baaaaad... wanna get some sleep). will add more info in the near future.
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#13 User is offline   arctic 

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 09:31 PM

it was about time that i added some info in here again. so 'ere we go...

i read all the stuff again and darkelve pointed to the better structure of the original menus. but i do feel that even in the kde-menu, some stuff is problematic. first of all, if a user is presented with the native kde-menu, not all important things are listed in there. where is the mandrake-control center? i wasn't able to find an entry for it.

well, i do know how to add it there but what about the noob? he will be lost. also: why are there so many different areas for "system/desktop administration"? it should be bundled in a logical way, but it isn't, which is a pity. thus, when a user opens the kde-menu, he gets a loooooong menu with dozens of entries. yes, there are many apps that are not shown in the mdk-menu. but some other very important entries are missing in the kde-menu. also: having one "open-office" menu and one "office-applications" menu entry is nonsense (especially if they are far away from each other as e.g. in the german kde-menu).

what is also missing is a possiblity to launch most gnome apps. in gnome, you have at least a menu-entry that lets you select all the stuff that is normally in the mdk-menu. but in the kde-menu, there is nothing like that.

so, my point is: the kde-menu is by default not really useful for the beginner. gnomes default menu is better structured in this respect. i think the "hig" has a lot to do with that, but kde fails to apply something like that at the moment. maybe that will change in the future, but right now i think that the mandrake-menu is still the best option for the noob, but it needs some polishing (as already mentioned above) as well as some more beautiful icons.

btw.... has anyone heard of the "hig" for kde to be applied at a specific date (month or year or kde-release)?
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#14 User is offline   AussieJohn 

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 07:09 PM

In fairness to both KDE and Mandrake it must be remembered that KMENU is intended for ALL Linux OSs and not just Mandrake so it is not fair to expect the KDE Menu to contain Mandrakes excellent tools.

On the other hand I also found the excellent Kmenu Updating Tool which when scanned, found a heap of programs, including MCC and a whole heap of Gnome and other stuff (e.g. Mozilla), that one could then choose to install into the menu.

Cheers. John.
The Computer future is here TODAY ..... Mageia-4, KDE4, Dolphin, K3B, Grip, Audacious, Totem, Kaffeine, SVLC, Kmail, Libre-Office, Scribus, XSane, Gimp, OpenShot, FireFox, FlightGear, Filelight, Gwenview, Geeqie, GoogleEarth, Skype, Pysol-FC.

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#15 User is offline   reinouts 

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:55 AM

arctic, on Sep 11 2004, 02:32 PM, said:

office: the basic selection is on a good way, but there are still some things that need improvement. e.g. the inconsistency of the language. on a german dekstop, i have everything in german except the entries "drawing" and "adress books". these should be changed to the specific language and it should not be too difficult for mandrake to accomplish that imho.

You've got to understand, Mandrakesoft does not employ translators at this time. (Except maybe French developers that happen to do some localisation). This means that if your translations are incomplete, head over to http://www.linux-mandrake.com/l10n and help out!!

Quote

so, my first suggestion is: regroup the stuff in a logical way, add some primary folders (e.g. the one for graphics) and make the use of language consistent.

Menu reorganization was done around 9.2 (or 10.0, I don't remember)... believe me the current structure is MUCH better than it used to be and creating a good categorization is HARD. Many programs would fit in multiple categories. The real problem is we need something totally different than a workalike of the windows :tm:/> start-menu. If you want to have an idea what it could be like, take a look at Logical Desktop.
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