Ubuntu does a good job of mounting external file systems, whether it be USB Disks, external hard drives or CD's. But internal changes on IDE disks are not handled at all. Ubuntu should notice file system changes, communicate them to the end user and suggest possible actions.

Use cases

  • Vincent new to Linux, adds his newly bought HD to his Ubuntu system. Ubuntu should ask is the user wants to mount it and auto mount it in the future. If it is not formatted, Ubuntu could suggest running gparted to edit the disk.
  • Me, owner of a HD rack, replaces HD's every few boots. Ubuntu should automatically notice the change after boot ask to mount and auto mount it in the future.
  • Mark creates a new partition using gparted. Ubuntu should notice the new partition and ask if the user wants to mount it and auto mount it in the future.


Ubuntu desktop


A record should be kept of local file systems. After system boot (or using the new upstart) the record should be checked. If we notice changes (new partition/physical devices), the user should be asked how to handle the change.

  • Ubuntu would show a Notification and a tray icon. Notification would state something like "Ubuntu noticed a file system change. Click here to configure it"
  • When the user starts the tray application. Proper authentication would be asked through gksudo.
  • If a new unformatted disk was added. the user should be told with a dialog that the device is detected and that he can format it with application X. Or, if the device has formatted partitions the user should be asked whether he wants to mount it and auto mount it after every boot.
  • If a change is detected in the layout of a know physical disk, the user should be asked whether he wants to mount it and auto mount it after every boot.



Outstanding issues

Can an event be generated that detects file system changes, or does it need a reboot to recognize the changes?


Please update this spec. I do not have the proper technical background in Linux to write a proper implementation/Code description for this. I feel this is one of the first barriers that new users come across. I also believe a desktop system should be able to handle these changes. The new uuid system makes Ubuntu more flexible, but it also makes it a little more harder for new users to understand fstab.

Warbo: Perhaps running such a scan comparing handled paritions to new partitions at boot would be the best way, then adding a button to Places>Computer would be a more appropriate way of letting the user configure the new partitions, linking to a simpler version of System>Admin>Discs (so that only partitions, sizes and mountpoints are visible, no complication over drives, filesystem formats, formatting, etc.). I think this would be less obtrusive than popping up some kind of config window every time the system has unrecognised partitions. Instead of giving a full path it would be easier to just give a name which would then be used in Places>Computer and /media, maybe also giving a tick-box for displaying an icon on the desktop. These changes can then be saved and through some system (maybe noting the partition number [but not drive device name, which can change], filesystem and size for each partition. Is there a simpler way to identify unique partitions across boot cycles?) they can be checked for at boot, applying the saved mount options to them. This would end up with a powerful system using a relatively simple and intuitive interface.

  • Just realised that if this implementation is used across many devices then it can be linked through to Upstart, so no need for only checking at boot! -- Warbo

PartitionConfigure (last edited 2008-08-06 16:19:44 by localhost)