Improve existing Kubuntu system configuration tools and help create new ones.


Breezy includes some new and improved system configuration tools over Hoary, significantly the Guidance suite. We should improve the user interfaces of these tools, ensure they are bug free and encourage new tools by helping upstream.

Use Cases

Bob bought a second monitor and wants to change his X display for dual head. He uses the new displayconfig tool from Guidance for this.

Impi wants a way for their users to set the network interface but find the current tool insufficient.


KNetworkConf is a KDE frontend to the gnome-system-tools network backend. Guidance is a collection of KControl modules written in Python which currently includes a user manager, runlevel editor and fstab editor.


Improve KNetworkConf and Guidance.

Longer term Gnome System Tools may be moving to a dbus based separation using liboops which will require significant work for a KDE frontend. There is likely also to be a need for a KDE Network Manager frontend. Neither of these will be targets for dapper but at least one will probably be a target for dapper+1.

Encourage more people to develop Guidance style KDE administration utilities.



KNetworkConf has some significant bugs in setting the gateway and default route. We need to fix these for dapper. The user interface of KNetworkconf does not fit on a 1024 pixel wide screen, this is also important to fix. We should use the 'Gnome Network Configuration Utility' frontend as an example for ideas on improving the KNetworkConf user interface.


The user interfaces for the Guidance tools are currently going through a usability review by openusability.org. Jan Muehlig from OpenUsability says he will have a usability report this week. We will work with the upstream Guidance developers to implement and add suggestions for usability.

We will ensure .pot files are generated by Guidance for inclusion in Rosetta. Guidance is in the playground module of KDE's SVN repository which gets very little translation work, so it will be an important first use of Rosetta.

The upstream Guidance developers are keen to add new tools to their suite. They are currently working on an X configuration tool. Other ideas include tools to manage crontabs, grub configuration editor, sudo configuration editor, keyboard selection and an Apache configuration tool (which could talk to a remote web server). None of these are immediate goals for Dapper but we will work with upstream if they start to implement them.

We will also provide some sample applications and documentation to encourage others in creating configuration tools including how to start working with Guidance and PyKDE Bindings.

As the number of modules grow we will have to be careful to not crowd 'System Settings' with too many tools. The user interface for 'System Settings' may have to be changed to handle more modules, e.g. to a vertical lineup rather than a horizontal one, as already exists in the KDE 4 branch.

For the existing modules:


No special plans besides implementing usability improvements suggested by the forthcoming report from OpenUsability.

Update: report is now available, http://muse.19inch.net/~jr/review_guidance_malaga.pdf


This means that mountconfig will need to accommodate non-root users who wish to mount via FUSE. Kubuntu will include fuse-kio bridge to support this.

Investigate if it is worth switching to HAL for hardware detection.


Use the libapt-front bindings for Python to speed up descriptions.

Further improvements are waiting on Ubuntu init scripts supporting the status command.


A new module for Dapper currently under development. Upstream are working to complete and debug singlehead support (mostly finished) and implement dualhead support.

Debugging and testing. Upstream will be making an effort to collect and test on different graphics cards and combinations of graphics cards (AGP and PCI). We will ensure the community helps with this effort by creating a test plan for testers and keeping track of results on a wiki page.

Post Dapper work should include integration with the X server and Xorg packages. displayconfig modifies /etc/X11/xorg.conf and can potentially make the GUI unusable.

Problems include:

  • - if /etc/X11/xorg.conf has been updated then the server should automatically restart after the user logs out. - After restarting the server, confirming with the user that the new config is visible and wanted (+timeout). - Automatically restoring the last known working xorg.conf if the server crashes.

This needs to be further spec'ed and communicated to Xorg packagers/developers during the Dapper release cycle for Dapper+1.

KubuntuSystemTools (last edited 2008-08-06 16:32:32 by localhost)