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Re: FESCo Meeting Summary for 20090424

On Fri, 2009-05-01 at 02:56 +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 05:53:48PM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
> > The problem is it doesn't go far enough. It stops at "bad UI == bad",
> > but that isn't always true. I think everyone advocating this change
> > agrees that it's bad UI. It's never been presented as anything but a
> > stopgap measure. But the issue is that, in this case, the bad UI
> > produces a better *product*, in terms of an actual desktop operating
> > system which we are releasing very shortly.
> Does it? The desktop team would presumably assert that the cost of the 
> reduced user experience and increased user confusion is sufficient to 
> make the product *worse* than it would without shipping two mixers. 
> There's no absolute truth here, so the question isn't which option is 
> worse. The question is who we trust to make that decision.

Interestingly, I haven't seen anyone flat out make that assertion.

I don't see how it could possibly stand up, either. I mean, the
alternative they're arguing for is to stick with the current state: a
release note advising people to use alsamixer. So instead of having two
graphical interfaces, they're apparently happier to have one graphical
interface and one obscure and extremely user-unfriendly curses
interface. I really can't quite grok how that's better.

Believe me, alsamixer is user-unfriendly. I have several years of
experience of advising people to use it. I started out saying "oh, just
run alsamixer and do XYZ..." After aforesaid years of bitter experience,
I now say something like "run alsamixer. You might need to do alsamixer
-c0 or -c1 or -c2 or -c3, it depends how many cards you have. You can
scroll to the right by pressing the right arrow a lot of times to see
more controls, even though there's no scrollbar indicating this. You
toggle inputs on and off by pressing space, but you flip switches by
pressing m. To get to the capture inputs you either run alsamixer with
-Vcapture, or hit tab after running it."

I'm just at a loss to try and grok how this is considered preferable to
an alternative graphical mixer. Where's the win?

> Having said that, there are ways in which the Ubuntu decision is a 
> better one than ours. It's less flying-car future, but there's no 
> regression and no additional user confusion. I've personally got no 
> objection to FESCO overruling a decision on technical grounds and 
> forcing a reversion to the previous status quo (or whatever else is 
> available under the contingency plans), but the compromise we've ended 
> up with here looks awfully like a baby that's been cut in half.

I don't really think so. We all seem to agree that the new mixer
interface is The Future and should suffice for most people, but not for
a significant minority. We want people using the new mixer interface to
make sure it's ready ASAP. So making it the default that most people
will encounter and be happy with, but having a relatively
easy-to-discover fallback for those whose needs aren't covered, seems
sensible to me. Given the choice between reverting to the old g-v-c by
default or this compromise, I'd probably choose the compromise.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org

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