Ubuntu Friendly sprinting! (Monday)

This week, myself and other 4 members of the Ubuntu Friendly Squad are working together, face to face, to try to have a working prototype of the Ubuntu Friendly programme as a whole. I will be blogging about it during the week to share the progress with the rest of the team.

Ubuntu Friendly Website

The main focus for Monday was to get an idea of how the Ubuntu Friendly site would look like. We think that the most difficult thing to solve is having right the idea of different configurations. As a lot of people pointed out while we were presenting the programme, a model name can contain many different hardware, and work much better or worse depending on those components.

We want to find a compromise between having a UI that’s easy to understand, and having it as complete as possible. For the Ubuntu homepage this is what we came up with:

Every different configuration will be in a different line, with some details of the components that are part of it. If the user wants to know more details about a particular component, hovering over it will do the trick.

You will be able to filter by release, rating or number of results to get you to the results that you are looking for. Once one of these systems is clicked on, the details page will appear that will look like this:

For that particular configuration we will be showing the full details of the hardware, the number of results and their rating it got in the different releases. Also, a box will show similar systems. For this cycle the similar systems will be other configurations of the same model.

There is still one thing that we need to work on for the details page. We need a way to say if a particular component is working or not. But hey! we still have the rest of the week to figure it out.


Another focus for today was to have a complete whitelist that include all the components that we have agreed as part of the UF scope. We added tests for components that were on the list, and removed unrelevant tests.

We are putting our progress in a public branch at Launchpad (https://code.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-friendly-control/checkbox/uf_sprint/). We are hoping to merge to trunk and to have a new version in Oneiric by Thursday, but in the mean time you can check the new whitelist using directly that branch.

While working on the whitelist we discovered a very nasty bug in Checkbox. If you deselect some tests when starting running checkbox, start testing, then close checkbox, and start it again, the whitelist won’t be used anymore, your previous selection will be used instead. This bug affects the Ubuntu Friendly experience, so we will have it fixed before release.


  1. Hi,stupid question but what application are you using for those mock-ups? Or are those really hand drawn images?

  2. Hi. I donā€™t know if u know answers for this questions Ara but i will ask them anyway.

    Will user be able to add comments to specific hardware components and maybe write workarounds for hardware that needs some extra work?

    How far will you go with Ubuntu Friendly webpage. Will it be the only hardware resource/information web page for Ubuntu (Linux) users for hardware compatibility and absorb other sites like Wiki pages that describe laptops and other hardware, or at least link to them? I think it would be great if user could find “99%” of existing information on hardware on Ubuntu Friendly page.


  3. This is brilliant!
    I am a big fan of UF project ever since I heard the talk by Christopher Kenyon at LinuxCon this year. The talk was about producing hardware platforms with Linux. Hopefully this great effort that is started by Canonical will create enough momentum to turn the table around and make Linux the default and obviously the superior choice for desktop platforms.

    I really like your design for the UF website, I think its very clean and functional design. I just have a few suggestions.

    Please include pictures of the device in both overview and the details view. It would be great if the detail view had a few pictures from different angles. Most people will really appreciate that.

    Please make it touch friendly! Or at least make an alternative interface for mobile devices. Remember that many people will look up your website when they are browsing the selection at a computer store and are wondering if that computer will work with Ubuntu. “Hover for details” is a very nice interaction on standard desktop but dons not work on a touch interface.

    I think the search bar can be improved. Is there a particular reason for it being so wide? If it can fit in the column with filters on the left I think it would be great. Also I suggest having an “Advanced” option for search for people who want to specify more search criteria. I would also suggest moving the “0 or more stars” selection to the “advanced options”. Since users can sort results by the number of stars and scroll through them, it is somewhat redundant to have that option right next to it.

    I hope you dont mind my suggestion. I am just very interested in this project and really hope it will be a big success. I am still new to UX design so take my suggestions with a grain of salt ;). Keep up the great work!

  4. šŸ˜€

    As the drafter of the ubuntuhardwaredatabase blueprint [1] and spec [2] I’m ecstatic that the UF team is taking the steps needed to bring this project to fruition. I really like the mock-ups you posted here. I find that they are similar to the mock-ups I had uploaded [2].

    I’d like to be a little selfish and take this opportunity to make a feature request of great importance. UF should be used to help users make a pre-purchase decision on hardware *and* find a fix/bug relating to hardware they own. For this to be possible, components/peripherals and bugs would have to be part of UF. Unfortunately I don’t see a mock up of this so I assume it has not be though of or it has not be accepted into the scope of UF.

    I have to agree with Mike; one of the main features I would be excited for is components. The ability to add comments/workarounds and track bugs by linking them to specific hardware components would be invaluable to me in my day-to-day bug work.

    Currently your mock-ups show one line per PC config, and the manufacturer name of the VGA, WIFI and PROC with optional mouseover to show details (non-touchscreen friendly). I would suggest brainstorming about a better way to present all components as these may not be the key differentiating components between SKUs (audio, ethernet, bluetooth, X input devices) and some computers may have more that one VGA, WIFI etc. so presenting it this way can mislead by not show the full picture.

    I am very happy that this is moving forward and I am excited to start playing with the prototype.

    Keep up the good work and have a look at my blueprint if you need inspiration regarding componenets!


    [1] https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/ubuntuhardwaredatabase
    [2] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuHardwareDatabase

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