Why pavucontrol is not installed by default?

Adam Williamson awilliam at redhat.com
Fri Dec 11 19:31:48 UTC 2009

On Wed, 2009-12-09 at 13:46 -0500, Jon Masters wrote:

> All paranoia and ranting aside, there is some truth to this. There is a
> definite trend in the Linux community to want to cater to the lowest
> common denominator by being more Mac/Windows-esque. I put up with it
> because I can usually ignore it (I refuse on principal to use a GUI to
> copy a file, for example, but that's just me being weird), but I don't
> see the harm in hiding the advanced stuff under a checkbox - the
> advanced mixer stuff is still there underneath after all.

That kind of 'split' interface - with the advanced stuff 'hidden away' -
has several significant problems. It's much more difficult to support
when you have to consider the possibility of there being two different
interfaces the user could be using to the program. It's also been quite
solidly documented in usability studies that just about everyone tends
to consider themselves an expert and hence hit the 'advanced' button,
even when they don't actually have a freaking clue what they're doing.

It also encourages lazy interface design - the designer can always think
'well, I'll just make this a checkbox under 'advanced' somewhere',
rather than considering how to properly design a single configuration

There are probably still cases where it makes sense, but it's not an
unproblematic design, and I'm not sure I'd agree it's a sensible model
for the default volume control.

Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org

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