Improve Ubuntu+1: startup menu

2 03 2008

One of aspect of Ubuntu that need a review is the start-up menu. The bootloader menu (Grub). I’m going to explain why…

Usual grub menu

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First I’ve to apologize with you for my bad English, but I’ll try to explain it in the easier way.

We’re in front of startup menu (like above), like in all standard Ubuntu installation. It’s clear we’re in front of a loss of style…
Style not intended just in aesthetic way; the main difference between Ubuntu and Debian is that Ubuntu is simple by start, Debian not.

»What’s wrong?

  • Into the menu there are few lines with more words and numbers that a newbie can’t understand. There are word like kernel, 2.6.15-25-386, 2.6.15-23-386, recovery mode, memtest86+, etc… These kind of term are not simply for a new Linux user, and are not aesthetic pleasant.
  • The menu is just in English. For a user with experience is not a problem, but for one that don’t know
  • Same OS more kernel version… Wrong! Into the menu list each Ubuntu have to be listed just with the last kernel. To choose a different kernel version will be a sub-menu. Is rare that the main kernel version doesn’t run. So the others are more.
  • There’s not a logical structure into the menu. There is necessity of logical structure. User want to choose clearly. Into the first (and main) part of the list will be the main versions of the OSs, down the recovery modes and Utilities.
  • Memtest and other utilities like this will be into a sub-menu like Utilities. You have to run them just some times, there’s no need into the main menu.
  • Apply Ubuntu theme into the background. With the image we can divide the two logical part in better way. Also the grub menu theme will be maintained by the Ubuntu artwork team. The distro need to be in one aesthetic way by the startup.

The prototype of what I intend (realized with theGimp)

Other problem: when you overwrite the menu.lst file (the grub menu file) and the system upgrade the kernel, this file will be overwritten by the system. And you lose all the customization and the Windows entries.

Don’t forget that a lot of users are attract by the shiny graphics. There are a lot of new user that try Ubuntu for compiz and these kind of things.
And the aesthetic part is what can make the difference and the success of a OS (like osx…)


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One response

29 05 2008

Is rare that the main kernel version doesn’t run…

This is the only statement I disagree. It’s not so uncommon, specially if you have restricted modules in your kernel, that upgrading the kernel will break your system. At least that happened to me with my Wifi card…

Anyway this is another problem. If Ubuntu offers the ‘restricted modules’ functionality, it would be great if it worked smoothly even when updating your system.

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