Code review comment for lp:~albertomilone/gnome-control-center/randr-virtual

Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

Jordan Mantha [2009-01-29 18:16 -0000]:
> This doesn't make any sense at all. What is unclear about
> "Ctrl+Alt+Backspace restarts the xserver" ?

It's bad for exactly the same reasons as why we disabled it in the
first place: Apparently it is hit inadvertently all too often, and it
mercilessly kills everything you just worked on.

> What is undesirable is for users to have a frozen X and have to hard
> reboot their machine.

What is undesirable is for users to have a frozen X. Once they have,
and their work is gone *anyway*, it doesn't make a lot of difference
whether they reboot the machine, use Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, or use
Alt+SysRq+K. I don't think we should keep this hole open for the very
small minority of people who object to the extra effort of
Sysrq/rebooting, and don't know/want to use the dontzap command line

> > 2. Every option that we add to Ubuntu diminishes the value of every
> > other option. I think this is an important point to consider. Is this
> > option important enough to add to the cognitive effort that Ubuntu users
> > must invest?
> That's a nice platitude but I don't see how allowing an option for a
> frequently used feature that has been removed is going to make the
> 100s of other options in the user desktop any less valuable.

More specifically, the option is (1) at an unexpected place ("screen
resolution"), and a (2) "shoot yourself in the foot" one.

> Good grief, it's a checkbox, not an entrance exam or something.
> According to Alberto's screenshot there is all of 3 checkboxes. If
> we're going to be that strict on UI choices then how about I trade you
> a checkbox for the refresh rate drop-down? Users have to think about
> what the heck a refresh rate is, what numerical value works for them.
> There's no indication of what a refresh rate is, etc.

That might very well be true. Nobody said that the current desktop
was perfect, just that we shouldn't make it worse. :-)

> More often than not, what benefits users benefits us. We're already
> turning off the option by default, why is it so hard to think that
> giving users an option to return a behavior that has been around for
> years is good for the users? Why is it hard to think that users just
> might want to be able to get out of a sticky situation without playing
> CLI tricks.

We actually discussed this a lot. I asked my wife and sister what they
would do if their computer would freeze completely, and moving the
mouse/typing keys wouldn't do anything any more; they said "I'd press
the power button". Which works, if you press it long enough.

> One more point. This is *so* not the place nor time to have a
> conversation like this. This change was already discussed at UDS and
> is ready for prime time. If you have a problem with it, use the
> ubuntu-devel mailing list.

To be completely fair, the spec [1] says

  "3. As part of the Xorg.conf Options Editor specification, GUI tools
  will be implemented that permit re-enabling this. Tools must be
  available for both GNOME and KDE."

and I approved it like that. It does *not* talk about changing the
screen resolution capplet. Thus I actually think that this merge
request isn't the worst place, but of course this discussion would
have lived perfectly well on -devel@ as well.

Thank you!



Martin Pitt |
Ubuntu Developer ( | Debian Developer (

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