GSoC: Ubuntu Bootloader Manager 0.2

After all the great comments and suggestions from the last update and talking with Matthew Paul Thomas, my student Tomé Vardasca, has been redesigning the UI to be more new-user (and old-user for that matter) friendly as well as adding new functionality. You can get the latest code using bzr on Launchpad. You can also file bugs :-)

Tomé and I are very much interested in feedback both on the UI and the features themselves . Note that to add new menu entries you need to have the os-prober package installed (it’s in Main) so that OS autodetection works.

Usual Disclaimer: This app is still very alpha, use at your own risk and make sure to make a backup of our grub config file (/boot/grub/menu.lst).

Screenshots:

main windowAppearence tabSecurity tab

In Advanced mode you can also access a Preferences window for the individual menu items:

Preferences

Menu shots:

Menu1Menu2

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35 thoughts on “GSoC: Ubuntu Bootloader Manager 0.2

  1. I just gave the program a quick run; great work! I think I’ll be using it. Like the os-probe feature; Ubuntu should do this automatically when detecting new partitions or OSes.

    The program is already quite user friendly; but because I love giving my opinions about UI’s, some remarks:

    * some spacing between elements is too small; the gnome HIG has some guidelines about how large they should be
    * the vertical tabbar is not very GNOME-y; feels kind of weird and wastes some space. Horizontal tabbar would be more consistent with the rest of the desktop.
    * the program took a lot of time to start; if this time is necessary to scan and parse things, some UI response (progress bar) would be nice
    * GNOME configuration tools are simple dialog windows, not ‘management programs’. It makes them look simple and uncluttered; no scimming through menus necessary. I’d loose the menu bar. Saving/loading the configuration profile could go to a new tab and a help button could be created.
    * don’t use grubconfig directly checkbox: just remove it and do the best thing automatically. This is of no concern to many users, just confuses them.
    * Having an advanced mode only to show a preference button seems a bit overkill. Just show the preferences button and put a warning in the preferences pane.
    * “Show operating system menu” seems a useful option (eg when having a single OS) but is hidden away in the menus. Also activating it should disable some options which become useless, like timeout and appearance.
    * preferences window: the many expanders are overkill, especially when they just hide one line
    * options tab under appearance: use frames, so “menu colors” and “background image” are displayed in bold
    * the preview would be more useful when it’s put in the same pane as the layout options; maybe some rearraging in the options tab could make room (e.g. putting the file selector button next to the background checkbox)

  2. This app is great. I use StartUp-Manager right now and is great but this one have options that SUM lack of. This kind of apps are the ones that must be by default on any linux distro.

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  4. Some UI comments from a new user perspective:

    great that you are building a GUI
    the simple/advanced mode is a great idea

    The name of the “menu” tab could be more self-explanatory (eg “kernels”)
    What are you locking in the “security” tab? The bootload manager program, one of the kernels or something else?

    Keep up the good work!

  5. The “use normal colors inverted as highlight” confused my for quite a few moments… Maybe put it next to the Highlight label, or use two radio buttons to switch between using that or using custom highlight colors?

  6. I think it looks great, and though I won’t use it, I’m glad initiative was taken to accomplish this. Advanced Mode itself seems pretty comprehensive for the 81%…

  7. This looks awesome, i have not found enough need to go out and find an application like this. But now that i think of it, i would be nice to move windows xp to the top since my computer boots the top of the list after a couple seconds unless i am sitting here selecting an OS which many times i am not. With this program i could easily change which OS is on top. I will install this probably once it gets a little farther in development. :)

  8. Your menu concept of ‘view’ with a radio button for toggling between simple/advanced is very ingenious — I can’t stress how more applications should use this approach. This makes it less scary for a new user to feel comfortable with the application and stop them from accidentally misconfiguring something. Gnome HIG should copy that exact interface!

    Nice Job! Can’t wait to use your application.

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  12. The icons used on the tabs are not intended for those actions, so instead of helping the user identify them, you confuse instead. It is also very uncommon to use icons in tabs in general. Just the words should be enough.

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  16. I like it.

    Right now, my applications are that I occasionally try another distro, and when I get rid of it, it’s tedious to edit menu.lst and count which one I want to boot by default.
    Also, I dread the day when I might have to remember the syntax for the Windows entry..

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