[packagekit] PackageKit 0.1.3 comments / suggestions

David Zeuthen david at fubar.dk
Wed Nov 14 11:16:26 PST 2007


Here's a few comments/suggestions about PackageKit-0.1.3-1.fc9 as
shipped in Fedora Rawhide. Certainly not an exhaustive test or anything;
just issues I ran into while playing around with. All in all PackageKit
totally rocks; most of these things are cosmetic issues that should be
easy to fix (except for the first one)

1. Clicking around... if the yum metadata is out of date this totally
   blows. I keep getting the bouncing progress bar for minutes. This is
   especially the case when clicking on an uninstalled package; nothing

   My suggestion on how to fix this is brutal and controversial and will
   make the UI worse. Still, I think it's the right thing to do.

   Suggestion follows:

   PackageKit's yum backend should never decide when to refresh the
   meta data. In the case of Rawhide the metadata (primary + filelists)
   is in the 10MB range. This surely affects dial up users too. Here
   on the RH Boston network I'm getting like 25kb/s.

   Suggestion: Instead, you should configure your yum instance
   such that it never refreshes the meta data. In the UI, however,
   you want a Firefox-style notification bar, like this


   explaining how old the meta data is and giving the user an
   opportunity to refresh it in case the server has newer meta data
   (you should be able to do this check without downloading it, right?)

   For unattended updates you just download it in the background.

   This also very similar to apt-get update vs. apt-get upgrade; the
   mantra here is to avoid being smarter than the user. It's also
   similar to pkg managers on many small devices; e.g. my iPhone and
   lots of other cell phones.

   Anyway, for PK to actually be useful what I did was to manually
   run yum(1) on the command line such that the meta data was current.

 - The windows should be taller; both for the Add/Remove software and
   the updater; am I the only one who always manually resize them?

   Suggestion: Make the windows taller.

 - Multiple feedback is bad

   Suggestion: use unicast signals for reporting errors and only
   multicast if the initiating caller jumped off the bus

 - Somewhat related: Heisenbugs; There's a few pretty apparent bugs here
   and there. Sometimes I'm told dependency resolution couldn't be
   resolved; for example press Depends on the hal package:


   I'm not sure what this even means; a modal dialog certain isn't the
   right place; a better place would be to put this in the text field
   on the tab

   Suggestion: Do more smoke testing and sanitize error reporting
   paths and handling

 - If I click on an uninstalled package it normally takes some time
   for the description etc. to appear. If I'm clicking the "Homepage"
   button while PK is spinning I am brought to the "homepage" of the
   previous package I was looking at

   Suggestion: Make the Homepage button insensitive if you don't have
   the URL

 - Homepage is a weird name for a button; ; maybe use Website instead
   (at least in in en_US)

 - Depends and Requires tabs are ambiguously named; depends on the
   point of view whether you're on the inside looking out or on the
   outside looking

   Suggestion: Depends -> Depends On  ;  Requires -> Required By

 - Would be nice to have a ChangeLog tab too.

 - The list of packages should be sorted alphabetically. Would be nice
   if search in the package list treeview worked.

Anyway, most of these things are purely cosmetic. Rock on PackageKit
team. Hope this helps.


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