session sounds improvements in gnome-volume-control

Registered by komputes on 2010-03-10

Freedesktop.org's sound theme spec is good, but most recently has been badly implemented. The usability of gnome-volume-control causes many users to simply abandon the idea of customizing their desktop sounds, making for a negative user experience.

The feature allowing users to customize session sounds was removed starting with Jaunty and now affects Karmic and Lucid. I believe gnome-volume-control was taking the correct direction in Ubuntu 8.10. I am not sure why the ability to customize was removed causing us to have such a restrictive interface. I propose discussing this at the upcoming UDS-M.

There are some points worth discussing when it comes to session sounds:
1) In a sound theme, there are 100+ possible events that can have a
sound. How do we present these to our users without alienating them with
choices?

Proposal 1: gnome-volume-control would be modified to allow custom
sounds for the most common events. An additional sound theme utility
would have to be created to modify additional events.

Proposal 2: gnome-volume-control would be modified to allow custom sounds for the most common events. Other sounds would be accessible by clicking on an 'Advanced mode' button which could allow the user to change the sounds for all events.

2) The creation of sound themes is difficult for the average user. Let's
say a user wants to modify these 100+ possible event sounds and start
assigning sounds to them. How could this be accomplished?

Proposal: An additional utility (to be created) should allow the user to
assign sound files to each event. It will then output a folder/.tar.gz
containing a index.theme file and a stereo folder with all the sounds
(converted to .oga format if needed).

3) Adding sound themes to gnome-volume-control currently requires access
to /usr/share/sounds/ which requires (root privileges and) the user to
access system files outside of /home. This is fine for an administrator,
 but individual users should be able to use custom session sounds for
their own session.

Proposal 1: Adding a theme to your user should be as easy as dragging it
into gnome-volume-control. This proposal parallels the method used by
fonts. By default, sound themes should only be added to the user's
~/.sound-theme (or similar) using the same sound theme spec. Should an
administrator want to add a theme for all users, he must run
gnome-volume-control as root or manually move sound theme folder to
/usr/share/sounds/ manually.

Proposal 2: When adding a sound theme, a dialog appears asking the user
if he would like it installed for his user only or system-wide.

4) Customizing or disabling specific sounds in a sound theme is no
longer possible. Looking back at Ubuntu 8.10, each event which was
presented has a choice of [Default(Sound from theme),Disabled(Sound
Off),Custom(Sound from file)].

Proposal: Return to the way of controlling alerts and sound effects as
it was in Ubuntu 8.10 as this allows complete control over
disabling/customizing individual sounds without permanently editing the
sound theme itself.

Blueprint information

Status:
Not started
Approver:
None
Priority:
Undefined
Drafter:
None
Direction:
Needs approval
Assignee:
None
Definition:
New
Series goal:
None
Implementation:
Unknown
Milestone target:
None

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