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Improving transparency, annoying the devs.

  • RE: I wanna go home

    So, what have we learned this week?

    • Everyone wants a home
    • No one can agree on what home is
    • Some people like the desktop "stuff on your desktop" paradigm, others hate it
    • New Unity8 already provides features we're used to seeing on a home screen, but not somewhere that is a home screen

    Quite a few shades of gray here. I don't think we'll be able to reach consensus for everyone without just getting in and doing something, then taking the feedback from that. It's really hard to describe dynamic functionality in words and sometimes it doesn't make sense until it's put in front of you.

    Personally, I think Kugi said it best early on:

    I guess I could live without "home" until we get a great idea that's really a game changer

    Let's try some things out and see what sticks, starting at the simplest first. The best ideas will naturally float up and get traction behind them. As they develop past their initial stages, we'll see more development toward interfaces which are consistent at every point.

    I must reiterate that (since my job title is "development manager" and I feel the need to protect the time of our paid and volunteer developers) I do not support adding lots more settings or compromising between ideas. I truly believe we can make one really good way to use a mouse, keyboard, and/or touchscreen on any size personal device and the only way we'll do that is by working together. If that is totally not to someone's liking, we are not the only mobile operating system.

    So, to put what is next more concretely:

    • We may experiment with Jan's idea to tap the background (it's only a few lines of code to change what tapping there does) and ask for feedback from small groups.
    • Otherwise, we don't want to make any huge changes to new Unity8 before it is released to Stable the first time. We'll release then iterate.

    Go out and make.

    posted in Design
  • RE: Proposal for a Telegram Stickers Project

    The Yumi mascot is licensed CC-BY-SA by Marius Gripsgard. As long as you are abiding by the license terms (also keep in mind the Ubuntu brand guidelines since the logo appears there), that robot is fair game.

    You can create your own sticker packs using a Telegram bot. If you'd like to do that, I should be able to set the stickers as official for the UBports group.

    Also paging @Krille, I think you were looking for some stickers for FluffyChat.

    posted in Marketing Incubator
  • RE: Community Event with hackathon in Germany

    @marc_aurel Sounds great! We'll certainly try to be there with some members of the core team, and i hope we'll also get some more community devs to join the party 🙂

    posted in General
  • RE: I wanna go home


    if we slide it from the center of the Drawer to the left to close it, wouldn't it be better?

    The swipe is how it's supposed to work, but can't be used due to So for now, we compromise with a back button.

    Favorites are hard to justify when the Launcher already exists and includes your favorite apps.

    posted in Design
  • RE: I wanna go home


    Let the user pin an app as their home. [...] Are their any cons?

    Well, since you asked... 😉

    The problem with this proposal is doesn't offer a consistent experience that makes sense between mobile and desk workflows. Now you have an app that you aren't allowed to close on your background for some reason... why?

    Also, it's a bit like raising the white flag and saying that we can't make a better user experience as a community than individuals can on their own attempts. I don't believe that's true.

    My recommendation: If you want to use Sprint, use Sprint. Place it at the bottom of your Launcher and go back to it when you need it. It might get a little mixed up in the app switcher, but it won't get mixed up on the Launcher.


    it's a habit I learn to give up when I'm using the edge channel. [...] I guess I could live without "home" until we get a great idea that's really a game changer

    That's interesting. I've tried to encourage people to give the new Unity8 a try before getting upset about it, but that doesn't appear to work. Maybe this is the biggest non-issue ever.

    We have to be careful adding UI elements in the application spread because it could get crowded especially once the workspace switcher gets into the action. Perhaps a quick solution for now is to have a bottom edge gesture in the app spread to hide all apps AKA "Show desktop".

    I agree, we could crowd the space. That is definitely a concern. I'm not sure about a bottom edge gesture... two gestures from different edges to go home? We'd be pushing it at a gesture and a tap.

    Implementation might be a little bit difficult as well.


    Either the go-to-desktop-app would always be in the end of the spread, which would cost you time, or it would be somewhere in the list

    No. Like Unity 7, the "Go to desktop" entry is leftmost and your cursor starts on the app to its right (shown by @CiberSheep here). Spatially, it would appear behind the app you just dragged out. It would always be where it is in the mockup in the first post. (Actually, the Dash was always supposed to be there too. It's a bug that it's not.)

    stuff on your desktop

    As long as it's consistent, we can do anything.

    As an aside, I should add that I'm trying to protect developers' time... so home should also be "Easy to implement." Changing the behavior of the app switcher background or adding a new button is easy. Re-introducing the code that made the Dash work is not. 😄

    Also, whatever we do is not set in stone forever. We can experiment and try new things. As the Ubuntu Code of Conduct says:

    The poorest decision of all is no decision: clarity of direction has value in itself. Sometimes all the data are not available, or consensus is elusive. A decision must still be made. There is no guarantee of a perfect decision every time - we prefer to err, learn, and err less in future than to postpone action indefinitely.

    posted in Design
  • RE: I wanna go home

    "Explicit is better than Implicit" is a great principle for programming language design, but a user-friendly user-interface plays by different rules. In UX design, actions should be intuitive, and what could be more intuitive than tapping the background to get to the background?

    If you think there needs to be a text or icon to hint for this action as well, ok, maybe. But it should be way more subtle than in the mockup. For me, the Application spread is one of the most distinctive and beautiful features of Unity 8, we can't f*** (mess) this one up.

    A go-to-desktop-app in the spread... I don't know. Being able to just tap the background feels way more practical to me. Either the go-to-desktop-app would always be in the end of the spread, which would cost you time, or it would be somewhere in the list making it more difficult to find an application you want to switch to. Why add another UI element, if there's already a perfectly good option we can go with that doesn't bloat the UI nor reduce ease of use of the existing usecases?

    On the topic of what is home, might i add:

    Don't kill the desktop: A manifesto

    In my opinion, Unity 8 should become a proper desktop environment, and that includes being able to put stuff on your desktop. Doesn't have to be applications (unless the user wants to, then let them do it), but it would also be incredibly useful for short-lived files. For example, i'm very often travelling by train in Germany, and since we don't have a ticketing app for Ubuntu Touch, i always put the ticket-pdf on my phone and open it in document viewer. That's something i would put on my desktop. Yes, i know, Gnome removed that feature a while back. But for many people that is a standard feature of Desktop Environments and it would be foolish to dismiss it as a legacy usecase. For me, it is clear. The desktop is my And i'd love an easy way to get there.

    posted in Design
  • I wanna go home

    After was filed and we've had not one, but many sour discussions about this or related topics, I figure we should try to slow it down a bit.

    People are getting antsy (read: livid) about the changes to Ubuntu Touch in upcoming releases. In this post I'll try to tackle the issue of "home." More specifically, Where is home in Ubuntu Touch now?

    The case for going home

    Home, in terms of an operating environment, is the first place where a user arrives and a place they can return to. It's taken many forms over the years of personal computing:

    • 7000 BYTES FREE, READY.
    • $ (or C:\>)
    • Windows' Start menu (Then its Start screen, then its Start menu again)
    • Screens which are actually called "Home" on Android and iOS

    The concept of Home is slightly different for every operating environment, but it serves a few important purposes:

    • It is used to start other interactions with the environment (applications, for example)
    • It is "returnable," a user should always know how to get to it. Now that operating environments are used for multitasking, this shouldn't be by destroying all running activities.
    • It is "safe," a user should always know what to do once they get there

    Home serves as an anchor point for the environment's experience. If the user gets lost or stuck, returning home should help.

    The Dash

    We can currently assert the following things about Unity8 on a mobile handset:

    • Long swiping from the left of the screen always returns you to the Dash.
    • The Dash is a window and is shown in the app stack.
    • Due to the last point, the Dash remains focused when the device is locked and unlocked.

    The dash is home.

    The Drawer

    The following things about those assertions have changed:

    • We no longer have the Dash. Long swiping from the left of the screen opens the App Drawer.
    • The Drawer is not a window and does not appear in the app switcher.
    • The Drawer does not remain focused when the device is locked and unlocked.

    It is consistent with our desktop experience.

    But it's got everyone up in arms.

    Where is home now?

    By far, the most important question I see us asking ourselves (indirectly) is, "where is home now?" The answer... isn't straightforward.

    Is the Background home?

    Users will land in the Ubuntu Touch experience at the Background (NOT the desktop, which implies you may put things on it):


    When arriving at the Background, the Launcher (some call it the dock) appears to greet them. The user may arrive at the background by booting the device or closing all their apps. By offering the Launcher, the background can be used to start other interactions AND it is safe. However, it breaks one of our main rules: There is no way to return to the background without destroying all of your activities.

    Is the Drawer home?

    The Drawer may be opened by long-swiping from the left of the screen or tapping on the big ol' orange button:


    This can be done at any time. This makes the Drawer returnable. It is very simple, so I assert it is safe. And, well, it starts new interactions.

    Something about it has people really uncomfortable, though. Maybe it's the fact that, unlike the Dash (or iOS' home, or Android's home), the Drawer is dismissed when you lock the device. This resonates with me a bit, a serial home-presser before locking my device. I like to start at square one whenever I pick up my phone.

    Can we find home?

    Does this add a new requirement to home? Does home also need to be durable (or comfortable?), lasting through transitions to lock states or other huge events?

    Or, is this okay? Is this a case of a different design being more efficient? The ideal use of Unity8 is pinning applications to the Launcher, where they can be managed and switched between (even on the lock screen).


    (Maybe the Launcher is home, or the lock screen!)

    Home must be durable

    If home must be durable, the Background is close to being home. The only problem is we can't return to it easily. There are an infinite number of ways to solve this, here are a couple I've thought of:

    Go to background as an app


    Hide apps appears as another window in the app switcher. It is always located behind the most recently used app, as shown here.

    Go to background as an action

    We discussed having Go to background as a specific action you perform on the app switcher. It could also go somewhere else, but there's nowhere to put it. This issue proposes having it be the "Cancel" action of the app switcher, when you tap in the blank space. That caused a lot of upset since it changes the current behavior (tapping in the blank space goes to the app you were just using, today you learned) and is not explicit (as a Python developer, I agree). Here's a way to make it explicit:


    (It took me twenty minutes to make that, don't judge me)

    Nah, this is more efficient

    If home doesn't need to be durable to be home, maybe there is a way to offer an olive branch to people who think it does?

    What do you think?

    Does home need to be durable? If so, is the Background a good place to have that interaction? Is there a good way to get there?

    How do we keep the home interaction consistent between phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop?

    Note that "just add another setting to..." is not an acceptable compromise. More customization means more development overhead, makes it more difficult to support users (you might have to do this, or you might have to do that), and takes away from a consistent experience. (If you want to discuss this metatopic, please make another thread.)

    Addendum: ground rules

    You're talking about a bunch of colorful rectangles, remember. Take your time when replying and keep it respectful and on-topic. This is a good place to brainstorm, but make your ideas concrete with mockups rather than talking about them abstractly.

    posted in Design
  • RE: Install wrong image on a BQ E5

    Do you mean that you installed the wrong software using SP Flash Tool, or something else?

    posted in Support
  • RE: Phone reboots if releasing the USB connection to my computer

    @Shannon64 You need to reboot your phone to bootloader/fastboot mode (press and hold the volume up and power buttons until the phone reboots) and connect it to your pc with a usb cable. Then, open a terminal and navigate to where those files are (you said you put them on your desktop, so it's cd Desktop). Run sudo apt install fastboot to install the fastboot utility. Then run the commands from my post above and watch out for any errors. After that, hold the power button until the phone vibrates to reboot the device.

    posted in Support
  • RE: How many people want a Meizu Pro 5, need some ideas

    This is an interesting and novel idea. I do see a big problem with it in the redistribution of the proprietary drivers and firmware on the device which you may not have permission to do. You may need to ask your legal counsel if that is something you should be worried about.

    posted in Off topic