Top 10 Ubuntu ideas offer hint at what's to come

In its first quarterly look at the top community suggestions, the Ubuntu Technical Board responds with updates and feedback.

As part of its effort to involve the Ubuntu community in making its Linux distribution better, the Ubuntu Technical Board last week published a list of some of the most popular recent suggestions for inclusion in a future version of the open source operating system.

Nearly 20,000 ideas for Ubuntu have been collected on the wiki-like Ubuntu Brainstorm site so far, and they're viewable in categories corresponding to popularity, whether they're already in development, and whether they've been implemented already.

The Ubuntu Technical Board has been reviewing the most popular ideas so far, and last Friday Ubuntu CTO Matt Zimmerman published on his blog the first of what will be quarterly batches of 10 to come under scrutiny. Along with each idea evaluated, he presents an official response on behalf of the project.

"This means that the most popular topics on Ubuntu Brainstorm receive expert answers from the people working in these areas," Zimmerman explains.

Here are the top 10 suggestions currently being evaluated for possible inclusion in Ubuntu:

1. Power Management

Battery life is a key focus for Linux users on laptops, so it's no real surprise that this has been among the most popular suggestions on the Ubuntu Brainstorm site.

Amit Kucheria, Ubuntu kernel developer and leader of the Linaro working group on power management, addressed the issue in a separate blog post last week with technical analysis, tips and recommendations, and a look at what's coming next.

"Power management, when done right, should not require the user to make several (difficult) choices," Kucheria wrote. "It should just work - providing a good balance of performance and battery life."

2. IP Address Conflicts

"IP addressing is a subject that most people should never have to think about," Zimmerman wrote. "When something isn't working, and two computers end up with the same IP address, it can be hard to tell what's wrong.

"I was personally surprised to find this one near the top of the list on Ubuntu Brainstorm," Zimmerman added. "Nonetheless, it was voted up, and we're listening."

A tool called "ipwatchd" is now available in the package repository and can address this problem, he wrote; if feedback is strong enough, the project could consider adding the tool for inclusion in the default installation.

3. Selecting the Only Available Username to Log In

Given that most Ubuntu systems are used by just one person, "it seems a bit redundant to ask the user to identify themselves every time they login, by clicking on their username," Zimmerman noted. "Why not just preselect it?"

Martin Pitt of the Ubuntu Desktop Team asks for further feedback on the Brainstorm site with user preferences.

4. Icon For .deb Packages

For users who go outside the Ubuntu respositories to work with .deb files directly, "the icon used to represent .deb packages in the file manager is not ideal, and can be confusing," Zimmerman notes.

Deb-thumbnailer is tool that makes the icon both more distinctive and more informative, so it's being considered for packaging into the main repository.

5. Keeping Time Accurate Over the Internet by Default

Ubuntu has actually included automatic Internet time synchronization with Network Time Protocol since the very first release, "so some of us were a little surprised to see this as one of the most popular ideas on Ubuntu Brainstorm," Zimmerman noted.

Nevertheless, since then it was discovered that there was at least one case where time wasn't working. So, it's now fixed for Ubuntu 11.04, and patches have been sent upstream to Debian and GNOME.

6. More Detail in GNOME System Monitor

Ubuntu's System Monitor lets users follow their system's inner workings, but some have asked for more detail. Robert Ancell of the Ubuntu Desktop Team has offered to mentor a volunteer to develop a patch, and someone has already stepped up with a first draft, Zimmerman says.

7. Help the User Understand When Closing a Window Doesn't Close the App

This one is pretty self-explanatory, and work is already in progress to resolve it, according to Canonical creative strategy lead Ivanka Majic.

8. Ubuntu Software Center Removal of Configuration Files

Rather than removing packages by default when the user requests it -- an option that can leave some files behind -- this idea suggests defaulting to purging them instead, which wipes the slate clean.

9. Ubuntu One file Sync Progress

Ubuntu One file synchronization "works behind the scenes, uploading and downloading as needed to replicate your data to multiple computers," Zimmerman notes. "It does most of its work silently, and it can be hard to tell what it is doing or when it will be finished."

Plans are in the works to address the issue comprehensively, he adds, but there are also tips that work today, as engineering manager John Lenton notes on the AskUbuntu Q&A site.

10. Multimedia Performance

Given all the multimedia content available today, it's important that Ubuntu be able to keep up with it all. Allison Randal, Ubuntu Technical Architect, addresses the topic in a separate post.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags open sourceLinuxoperating systemsunixsoftwarenon-Windows

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?