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Is there a need for a new system monitor? (KSysGuard)

User avatar mirac
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Hello everybody!

I am wondering this topic. Current ksysguard seems outdated and not enough visual appearance. There are too many technical details and live graphics is not enough for end-user. (not flat ui and not stylish design). It's very complex and complicated.
Even Windows 8 system monitor has more modern appearance than this one.

I think KDE 5 should have a new system monitor.
What do you think about that ? :)
User avatar colomar
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Would it make sense to give KSysGuard a facelift? Sure!
Do we need a whole new system monitor? I don't think so.

Yes, Windows' system monitor has made great progress over the recent iterations, I was really impressed when I opened it the last time. That said, I don't think KSysGuard is overly complicated, feature/implementation-wise.

I wouldn't know which information I would not want to see which it currently shows, to be honest.

Certainly some visual design love would make the information it shows appear less complicated, so I'm all for revamping it visually.
User avatar Heiko Tietze
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IMHO the dialog has a borderline usability. The process table filtering is annoying (though quick search is okay), information is misleading sometimes (my system has 4+4 CPUs and 13% means 1 x 100% which could be divided automatically or not), and I'd challenge the tabs (table/load) because history does not fit the (main) purpose. Plus, the visualization is not appealing - but that's a very personal opinion. I'm missing the integration with the system load plasmoid, which itself is near to useless because I cannot see if one of the eight CPUs is gone wild or something else happens that blocks my system.
What I need is to track down bottlenecks. That could be the network, IO activity (on SSD you don't hear if there is activity), CPU (which includes temperature, frequency, and perhaps voltage in case of overclocking), open files and libraries (lsof) etc. I want to know what happens in the past on several levels from seconds to years. And it makes sense to combine this information with what powerdevil provides. Statistics including benchmarking would be nice to answer the question how well my 5 year old system performs compared with current/other technique. But that's only a quick brainstorming.
We should think carefully about the requirements before redesign.
User avatar ken300
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Whenever i use the process table my main irritation is that the top few entries (the ones using resources) seem to continually switch places. By the time that i've thought 'oh firefox is using more than it should be' then the values change and it moves to a new position in the list. I also find the text figures for CPU % etc. etc to be not the most easy to read if you're having a quick scan through the entries to see what's going on.

Would this work?:

Have the order of the top few entries more 'fixed', not permanently fixed in place, that would be silly, but so that they stayed in their current positions for a bit longer (but still have the actual values in the table updated as often as they are now). Either having the positions change and update after a certain period of time or have a button to press to trigger re-ordering the list with the processes using the most resources at the top so that it would be under your control when they changed. You'd also need some kind of indication that a process that wasn't on the screen because it was further down the list had started using resources too.

It would also be a huge improvement if we could make the whole process table more readable at a glance, at the moment it seems like a sea of text, process name, percentages & figures - information doesn't seem to be very accessible and jump out at you, instead it's pretty well buried in with the rest of the text and you have to look quite hard to see what's going on. I've no suggestions for solving this one, the nature of the table is that it's all about lots of figures, text & information - i just thought it might be worth improving if someone can think of something!

I agree with Heiko that the 'Quick search' is great as it is.
User avatar ken300
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Just a thought - might it be worth having the option of hiding all the processes that aren't doing anything & giving the handful of entries that are doing something more room to display their information?
mgraesslin
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The main problem of KSysGuard is lack of development. It doesn't have any active developers working on it, and this means it's kind of stuck on the state from few years ago. I'm pretty sure that lots of the issues mentioned here would go away if it had a developer looking at the code. So the primary goal must be finding someone to work on it (please note that I consider the codebase as too large to expect the current Plasma team to work on it). Maybe a blog post like "giving love to KSysGuard" with presenting some of the ideas from here to get people brought into it with fresh ideas.
User avatar Heiko Tietze
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mgraesslin wrote:Maybe a blog post like "giving love to KSysGuard" with presenting some of the ideas from here to get people brought into it with fresh ideas.

Thanks for the tip. http://user-prompt.com/de/spring-break- ... m-monitor/
User avatar yungtrizzle
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I'm willing to lend a hand in maintaining and cleaning up the internals but I'm no ui/ux developer. Looking through the codebase, it seems like a classic case of bitrot, but I think a little bit of love will do.
User avatar Heiko Tietze
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Found a dev and will have a kickoff tonight at 5pm UTC (19:00 GMT+2). If you, yungtrizzle, or someone else want to join PM me.
User avatar Kver
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With the recent discussion on system monitors over at user prompt I've started throwing ideas together; As the prompt wraps up I'll refine this if wanted.

Image


Reformed lurker.
User avatar pedrorodriguez
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Kver wrote:With the recent discussion on system monitors over at user prompt I've started throwing ideas together; As the prompt wraps up I'll refine this if wanted.

Image


Looks great. Maybe this approach could also be used for the graphs in the CPU monitor and RAM monitor widgets, and get rid of the blue gradient
User avatar ken300
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Kver wrote:With the recent discussion on system monitors over at user prompt I've started throwing ideas together; As the prompt wraps up I'll refine this if wanted.

Image


That's a good look!

Personally i would make the following changes to make it look cleaner & simpler:

1 - Have the layout just how it is now with two pages, one showing the three graphs for CPU, Storage and Network and another showing the processes

2 - Remove the icons on the graphs - i don't think the little icons of the CPU & RAM chips that are on the left hand side of the two graphs add anything and IMO just add unnecessary clutter

3 - Get rid of the CPU, Storage and Network tabs - i assume that those tabs will show more detail about each of the items, personally i'd have it so that if you want more information about the CPU you just click on the CPU graph itself.

Apologies if i sound negative, i think it's brilliant, i particularly like what you've done with the style of the graphs and the process table (although what are the yellow & red 'square speech bubble with a cross in it' things?).
User avatar Kver
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ken300 wrote:That's a good look!

Personally i would make the following changes to make it look cleaner & simpler:

1 - Have the layout just how it is now with two pages, one showing the three graphs for CPU, Storage and Network and another showing the processes

Thanks!

One of the ideas I had (with the graphs being on the same page) is that you could highlight a process, and the graphs would then show the usage generated by the selected applications; the main use-case being the isolation of an application to see what it specifically had done, such as seeing the CPU/memory usage of just Firefox.

ken300 wrote:2 - Remove the icons on the graphs - I don't think the little icons of the CPU & RAM chips that are on the left hand side of the two graphs add anything and IMO just add unnecessary clutter

But I drew them myself! Visual pizzaz! SADNESS!

In all seriousness, I think you're on the right track. One other reason to take them down is because it's a highly technical representation of internal computer components - most users probably have no idea what 'RAM' even looks like. I'd be sad to see them go, but I agree for several reasons that they aren't really serving any purpose.

ken300 wrote:3 - Get rid of the CPU, Storage and Network tabs - i assume that those tabs will show more detail about each of the items, personally i'd have it so that if you want more information about the CPU you just click on the CPU graph itself.

I'd keep them as separate tabs; mostly because of the idea that the graphs would reflect the currently selected processes. I like the idea that you could highlight an application and see if it's what's been choking resources; you can't do that when the entire page is just graphs.

Individual CPU and memory tabs could show much richer information; for example, we could see per-cpu graphs and temperature details on a CPU-specific tab, and a RAM tab may show a pie/ring chart breaking down free/used/application/buffered memory in a much more digestible manner. If we included the process list in each tab it would be useful to be able to highlight a process and see the detailed information too; imagine highlighting a process and seeing how much of its memory is used/shared.

ken300 wrote:Apologies if i sound negative, i think it's brilliant, i particularly like what you've done with the style of the graphs and the process table (although what are the yellow & red 'square speech bubble with a cross in it' things?).

Oh! That was something I mentioned on the user-prompt, I'll explain!

Methinks 99% of the time users open the monitor because an application is misbehaving; usually that means finding the appropriate program in the process list and killing it. The goal here is that the monitor would check to see if a program is using excessive CPU, consuming extraordinary RAM, or is responsive - and would bump them to the top of the list (along with the reason they have been bumped) and mark them. In this case, Firefox is monopolising a CPU and being flagged for it, while Chrome is using a lot of RAM - but not enough for a 'red alert' like Firefox had. Similarly, if an application is non-responsive, it might also be bumped up. The name of the game for those little bubbles is to flag what you're probably looking for.

Anyway, I don't think you're being negative - it was valid, valuable, constructive criticism - and I already know tweaks I want to make, so thank you!


Reformed lurker.
User avatar ken300
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Kver wrote:One of the ideas I had (with the graphs being on the same page) is that you could highlight a process, and the graphs would then show the usage generated by the selected applications; the main use-case being the isolation of an application to see what it specifically had done, such as seeing the CPU/memory usage of just Firefox.

Now that's a good idea - i hereby withdraw most of my moans!

To me though i still think the Overview screen is a bit 'cramped'. Instead of displaying the whole CPU & RAM graphs and having the Process table looking a bit squeezed in at the bottom, might it be worth doing something to the 2 graphs to make them more compact and give the Process table more room?

An idea - Put the graphs side by side instead of full width:
Because we're having separate pages dedicated to each graph (so a CPU page to show detail of the CPU activity - i see now that's a good idea!), doesn't that mean that the graphs on the Overview page don't need to show that much detail & they don't need to show what happened a long time ago either? They're a bit like a little summary of the CPU activity, if you want more detailed information go to the CPU tab. Don't they just need to show what's happening now and very recently? Therefore couldn't we still have CPU & RAM graphs but instead of having each graph the full width of the window, could they be 1/2 that width an put next to each other so that they'd take up the same room as one of the full width graphs?

It might be a bit odd comparing what happened at a certain time one one graph with what happened at the same time on the other one though. Maybe being able to click on one graph to put a marker on it (a thin vertical line?) that moves to follow the graph as it scrolls sideways and have an identical marker appear on the other graph too would help with that?
User avatar Heiko Tietze
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Kver wrote:Methinks 99% of the time users open the monitor because an application is misbehaving...

That's a wild guess. If you read the comments about the half uses KSysGuard as a monitoring tool and a lot of people want debugging functionality. Nothing about design drafts but without a comprehensive list of requirements it makes not much sense.

 
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