Users have expressed a requirement for graphical configuration tools.

Since the above demand expressed by the users is a bit skinny, we tried to figure out what "might" be needed and came up with the following missing tools which seem to be requested more often in ubuntu-users:

  • A service start/stop tool
  • The option to change your password without using sudo in a graphical way
  • A graphical selection tool for the default booted OS and the grub timeout

This spec is a subset of CommandLineDisintegration.

Implementation Plan

Look at the existing tools form Red Hat, Mandriva and others during breezy development to find a tool we can dumb down easily to fulfill our needs. Alternatively some suggestions for new development are below.

Alternate suggestions

Service tool

Mockup for a user-friendly service start/stop

A implementation like this will require a small text-based alias database (single file) for the services that are actually installed (only apps being in main should be included here) to offer descriptive names for the services and then call invoke-rc.d in the background to start/stop the service.

The tool itself should detect if a service is currently running or not and display either the start or stop button accordingly.

Checking the "start on boot" checkbox should add/remove the symlink in /etc/rc2.d and store the sequence number from the symlink in the alias database to restore it (recreate symlink) with the original sequence number. Since this is a systemcritical app, all actions should be logged. The app must get run with gksudo from its .desktop file in the system administration menu.

  • Eventually, the network-related items (Web server, FTP server, Windows file sharing) could be pulled out into their own control panel (perhaps integrated with Shared Folders). "Services" don't mean much to people, so the more non-essential services we can represent somewhere other than in a "Services" window, the better. -- MatthewPaulThomas

Have you already checked Boot-Up Manager? There is a thread here: and the project home page is: It has a little bit more informations than required, but it is easy to use. -- Saltydog

The work being done by Rodrigo Moya may also be of interest -- AlanHorkan

Consider the work been done on Gnome System Tools (gst) for Gnome 2.12. -- CraigKeogh

Screenshot of Gnome System Tools work in progress.

Password change dialog

Mockup for a password change dialog

The graphical password change dialog is run from an entry in the system/administration menu.

The "ok" button stays inactive until all three fields are filled. Clicking ok will check the original password, check if the two entries for the new password match and set the new password.

The application is easily written in python/glade with passwd as backend (doable in one day) by a mid-experienced programmer.

  • The Users and Groups control panel already has UI for changing password. To avoid UI duplication, you could let anyone open Users and Groups, pre-select the current user when it's opened, and require an admin password only for changing (or viewing) users other than yourself. With luck, implementing that might even be less work than creating a new tool. -- MatthewPaulThomas

    • Users and Groups is awfully user unfriendly, though administrators and power users could deal with it easily enough. I suggest implementing this dialog, with more polish of course, and then putting an Advanced button somewhere on it that launches Users and Groups. Best of both worlds. -- ChrisZubakSkees (chriszs [at] gmail [dot] com)

Boot tool

The primary usecase for a bootselection tool is on systems where already another OS exists and the user wants to change the default booted system. Currently the user has to edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file by hand, which might render his/her system unbootable if s/he makes mistakes.

The above application already exists for warty ( and could easily be adopted for breezy, sadly it does address only grub, so it won't work on PowerPC.

Data Preservation and Migration


Packages Affected


User Interface Requirements

See above

Outstanding Issues

We could steal from Red Hat's or Mandriva's system tools and dumb them down until they match our needs, which would likely require a similar amount of work as writing them from scratch. During breezy development a feasibility study with trials and tests should happen to find the most appropriate tools.

  • I'm tempted to investigate writing these tools as 'rich' web-applications (think Google Mail rather than Webmin!). These would instantly roll out for local-administration, remote-administration and look "at home" in both KDE and GNOME environments since accesses to the pages can be wrapped in nothing more than a 10 line Python call to GtkHTML which would use the native widget set. -PaulSladen

CategoryUdu CategorySpec

UbuntuDownUnder/BOFs/GraphicalConfigTools (last edited 2008-08-06 16:33:52 by localhost)