Command Line Disintegration – command line should not be required by the average user – scary for users – likened to DOS – old days.

Identify common tasks which require command line access, and propose changes to avoid this necessity.


It's absolutely scary to users, they are overwhelmed and feel intimidated by the terminal. It feels like "fiddling around", like being an "administrator", "system operator".

Scope and Use Cases

  • Martin wants to rotate some of his pictures within reach of one click and create thumbnails for them.
  • SebastienBacher wants to convert his .ogg files to .mp3 files, since his MP3 player refuses to play .ogg files - somebody told him to use the "terminal" for it. (see soundconverter in universe Smile :) )

  • Anthony wants to make a playlist from some of his .mp3s, but doesn't know how.


I have implemented a quick demo of a possible solution to this. The basic premise is to use glade to create the GUI and cl2ui to map the widgets onto Command Line tool. A very basic demo can be found at and a simple HOWTO at

You need to know how to use XML and Glade to understand this though.

This would work great as a plugin or a backend to the run dialog. Allowing almost any application or utility to add a GUI in a short time.

Work will start this weekend to support the Use Cases above.

Data Preservation and Migration

Packages Affected

User Interface Requirements

Outstanding Issues

UDU BOF Agenda

  • Current bluetooth synchronization broken. The bluetooth phone manager applet looks deceptively like a nautilus window, but does not allow you to drag and drop pictures to your phone, for example. (See BluetoothSupport)

  • "Send to..." in nautilus is a bad idea.
  • Making multiple modifications to files at once?
  • The photo use case can be handled by a more robust and easy to use photo management application like f-spot. This handles exporting and resizing. It does not however, automatically resize the photos to something more sane when you choose the "send by email" function. It just adds the original sized photo to the evolution mail.
  • Detection of hdparm stuff might be wrong, computer seems slow, user needs to use hdparm to fix his hard drive. it should be part of the properties of the hard disk icon in nautilus
  • Connecting to VPN servers has no GUI equivalent.
  • xkill ... need a better way for users to kill errant applications. GSM doesn't always kill an application and the "Force Quit" dialog sometimes takes a considerable amount of time to come up. Keyboard shortcut?
  • GUI Services management tool.
  • More integration with sudo and nautilus?
  • No way of getting to existing windows drives without going to /etc/fstab. (Another BOF)
  • Filesystem maintenance? fsck every 30 times? Single user mode type in root user password?
  • Systemwide preferences for GNOME.

  • GUI for mass renaming of files.

CategoryUdu CategorySpec

UbuntuDownUnder/BOFs/CommandLineDisintegration (last edited 2008-08-06 16:16:19 by localhost)