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Current list of ideas to discuss:
Lubuntu is planning to go LTS with 14.04.
- Lubuntu will be the best alternative for Windows XP Users - to replace Windows XP when Microsoft will no longer support it.
Some things that should be changed/added in/to Lubuntu
Ok, these are some things that (I think) need to be changed/added to Lubuntu that (I think) will increase user satisfaction and boost adoption.
Recently I saw this: https://lists.launchpad.net/lubuntu-comms/msg00385.html That must indicate our visual design is not that good. I can't blame people who don't like Lubuntu's visual design. I personally think it looks boring and a bit dark. Changing these things will mostly fix it, I think:
> Regardless of the role or inspiration, the desired result of the successful submissions will render feelings which may be described as light, bright, or cheerful.
Of course these are the guidelines for Ubuntu and not Lubuntu, but I think that line should go for Lubuntu too. But I don't think the default wallpaper in Lubuntu adheres to that line. It's a rather dark wallpaper. I think the default wallpaper in Lubuntu should be something bright(er). Maybe something like this: http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Blue+Sky?content=123402
Lubuntu has a grey icon set (Blue for folders, however), which (I think, but I think most people will agree) looks pretty boring. Using a more colorful icon set like Elementary (Comes with Lubuntu but not default) will make Lubuntu look a lot nicer for most people.
Screen when starting from a LiveCD/LiveDVD/LiveUSB
Lubuntu has, in contrast to most others in the Ubuntu family, a non-graphical LiveCD/LiveDVD/LiveUSB startup screen. The user needs to use the keyboard to select a language and Try-without-installing/Install options. Not something non-technical people will easily understand. Lubuntu undoubtedly should do it graphical (like the others).
Lubuntu has Abiword for word processing, Gnumeric for making spreadsheets, and ... nothing for making presentations. That gap should be filled; Lubuntu should have a presentation application preinstalled. The need for a presentation application is bigger than a spreadsheet one. Many people I know never ever created/edited a spreadsheet, but do make presentations.
The available open source WYSIWYG presentation applications for Linux are:
LibreOffice Impress and OpenOffice Impress are a bit heavy, and their UI looks extremely ugly (Windows 98-like style) on Lubuntu. Caligra Stage requires KDE to be installed to work (!!), so that one is even worse. I haven't tried Ease yet. I want to try it but their website www.ease-project.org is down (However, archive.is shows a snapshot from 14 April 2013, so it's probably just a temporary outage) and their PPA 404's ATM. Someone has made a screencast of it. It may (emphasis on may) be suited for a preinstall. However, in the comments can be read that a 3D capable graphics card is required, so that may make it unsuitable.
If Ease doesn't qualify too, we really need someone to create a lightweight presentation application.
Ability to run on tiny amounts of RAM
In my tests in VirtualBox, I couldn't install Lubuntu (The installer glitches to a live session, then when clicking install again it glitches to the login screen, where you are not supposed to be on a LiveCD/LiveDVD/LiveUSB) with less than 512 MB of RAM. Especially now that Munich and we at Lubuntu Communications Team are (attempting to) position Lubuntu as the perfect replacement for Windows XP when Windows XP reaches it's EOL at 8 April 2014, and Windows XP is designed to run on tiny amounts of RAM (Windows XP Home even works good on 128MB RAM!!!), and thus probably quite some people currently using Windows XP have such tiny amounts of RAM, this is going to be problematic.
>>>> The issue of installing on 512Mb (even lower now) should be now resolved with 13.10 Alpha 1. We now ship with ZRam, which allows ubiquity installer to run before the setting up of swap.
We need something like Wubi, but better
Wubi. The idea behind it was amazing. The implementation wasn't. Canonical scrapped it now (You can't use it for 13.04). What was wrong with it? That it didn't do a real Ubuntu install. Instead, it installs on a virtual disk. Pros and cons of that:
- It makes installation nearly riskless
- It makes uninstallation very easy
- It makes Ubuntu vulnerable to hard resets
- It doesn't work with Windows 8
I think the cons outweigh the pros. Also, Wubi didn't easily allow installation of Lubuntu (At least, when I tried it on the Windows Vista computer of my brother, it only showed Ubuntu in the dropdown)
We need to create something like Wubi that does a _real_ install and supports other Ubuntu family members. It could work like this:
- User starts it. Show screen to the user that allows to choose one of the operating systems of the Ubuntu family. If the user has 512 MB RAM or less, automatically choose Lubuntu. Also, inform the user about the fact that a backup should be made.
- Then, shrink the partition with the most available space by 800 MB, and place an image of the installer on the created free space.
- Install a temporary bootloader that loads the partition with the installer and reboot.
- The installer partition starts Ubiquity. Normal installation procudure takes place. The installer partition is shown as free space.
- Install! After installation is finished, install GRUB, delete the installer partition, and reboot.
This will make installation of Lubuntu much simpler/easier for Windows users. It also works with Windows 8 this way (Am I wrong about that?).
The uninstaller could work like this:
- Delete Lubuntu partition
Create small partition with only /boot directory, for GRUB, and configure GRUB to boot to Windows directly. There is no way to replace GRUB with Windows's own bootloader except with the recovery DVD (which is closed source), so this is the only possible workaround (that I know of. Does anyone know a better one?). User will only notice a small extra partition. User should be warned to not delete it at the end of the uninstallation.
- Extend Windows partition(s) to use entire drive.
>> Wubi is not being actively developed as it the work required for allowing to work with Win 8 were decided to be to great to overcome. The dev team instead battled to have all of the *buntu family actually able to dual boot on a Win8 system. I have to accept that their time was better spent in this area (believe me, the mailing lists were glowing red-hot with comments).
Ok, that was it. I hope this was useful for the developer team and the artwork team!
I am probably not alone in using Lubuntu with a powerful machine. I have 8 cores and a fairly performant graphics card. I have dropped Unity and Gnome as they impose unnecessary commitments to e.g. indexing systems, running services, etc. However I would like to have a Lubuntu configuration which takes advantage of what my machine can do from a windowing and hardware point of view (of course it would be an optional mode, given low-resource machines are themselves an important development target). Without, for example, a compositing window manager, and configuration options which are well-maintained for recent hardware, many will choose not to use Lubuntu, and seek elsewhere for a simple, low overhead system. Even at this time and given my enthusiasm for the project I'm considering migrating to Gnome 3 to eliminate issues I'm experiencing with Lubuntu.
I have two specific proposals - support Compiz, and support Gnome configuration, and bind these together in an alternative configuration.
I run Compiz with Lubuntu but find a number of major issues which would be addressed by a mature testing and triage system before release. For example Fusion Icon is broken in 13.04, there are issues in window ordering, (multiple monitor repaint issues), and window focus behaviour seems inherently broken and is worse across viewports. I also have more-or-less random behaviour from my touchpad, and I'm not able to take advantage of the established Control Panel stack of Gnome to fix it. Keyboard shortcuts do not work, as I'm not directly using Openbox, and the lubuntu config is therefore overlooked. I'm frankly unable to figure out what it is which configures my mouse, and have little control over it (e.g. turning off scrolling within gnome-control-center doesn't turn off scrolling!). Gnome-control-center is normally the way to fix such issues, but it is not properly integrated with Lubuntu, and changes through regular Gnome config programs seem to have no effect.
Although I appreciate Lubuntu is a different beast from Unity or Gnome, the maturity of the Gnome-control-center and Compiz are worth taking advantage of. It probably would take little effort to ensure that the proper components were in place to allow a user to install this power-configuration, and they then get the best of Lubuntu with a modern metaphor and nice graphical effects which are tried-and-tested. This essentially hollows out the work which Unity and Gnome are doing, and delivers the minimal advantageous extras from their codebase and packages. The aim would be to identify a set of components which would need to be in place to exploit a modern machine. Give it a metapackage e.g. lubuntu-power-desktop and then encourage lead users to explore a single preferred configuration to help figuring out compatibility issues for this power-desktop usage.
Feel free to add your idea here.