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FreeNAS 11.2 new GUI suggestions and discussion thread

Chris Moore

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Well, the "new" way of managing pools is very cumbersome in the new UI. You constantly have to expand the views after making a change. I find this pretty annoying. Just have an overview of all the pools or an "expand all" button. And keep the UI in the state it was in when editing something.
Just be aware that the developers are most likely not checking this thread any more.
See this post from above: https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/freenas-11-2-new-gui-suggestions-and-discussion-thread.58815/page-14#post-485594
 

kdragon75

FreeNAS Expert
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Aug 7, 2016
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While it looks interesting, you could give some indication what you expect.
Nothing. I expect nothing. I hope that someone might read some of the design principles and think about them while working on their own projects.
 

garm

FreeNAS Expert
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Aug 19, 2017
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Nothing. I expect nothing. I hope that someone might read some of the design principles and think about them while working on their own projects.
As a first impression this is what I feel, there is no coherent underlying idea about what they want to achieve in the UI, all the focus had been on remaining the framework to be more modular, flexible and/or scalable. Which is not a bad thing in it self, but as a user what I get is also important and it’s costing lots of $$$ to do UI testing and development. Maybe if there is some objective testing done it could be of use to someone :)
 

Kam

FreeNAS Aware
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Messages
35
Hi,
how is it possible in 11.2 iocage jail unhide some /dev devices in new UI?
Under Edit Jail -> Jail Properties is checkbox for "mount.devfs" with description that it will apply default ruleset. But no box to specify which devices not to hide.
Something which will run after jail startup command similar to:
devfs -m /mnt/tpool/iocage/jails/test/root/dev rule apply path "vbox*" unhide
It will be usefull not only for vbox drivers, but some jails may need also access to usb devices, which is now by default blocked.
Thanks,
Kam
 

stillka

Newbie
Joined
Nov 15, 2014
Messages
27
Hello,

in the Snapshots, when I am doing Rollback of snapshot its confirmation dialog which is OK, but in this confirmation dialog menu I don't see name of snapshot which can be confusing.

Can you add name of snapshot to Rollback confirmation dialog? Like "Continue with rollback of <name of the snapshot>?" instead of just "Continue with rollback?"

Thank you.
 

kdragon75

FreeNAS Expert
Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
2,448
Hello,

in the Snapshots, when I am doing Rollback of snapshot its confirmation dialog which is OK, but in this confirmation dialog menu I don't see name of snapshot which can be confusing.

Can you add name of snapshot to Rollback confirmation dialog? Like "Continue with rollback of <name of the snapshot>?" instead of just "Continue with rollback?"

Thank you.
You need to file a bug/feature request for this. The forums are not monitored.
 

Chris Moore

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-fun-

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Oct 27, 2015
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I know this is not new, but I just read this article and thought it was an interesting read:

https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/04/10/controlling-your-environment-makes-you-happy/
Very good read! I disagree with the message in one point though: Most software developers are NOT good UI designers. The reason is quite simple: Software developers _can_ create good user interfaces for software developers. I my experience the problem is that software developers typically have different needs regarding how user interfaces behave than most other people. This is because software developers think differently.

For FreeNAS this may however not be so big of a problem. After all this is not a word processor or a file manager for everyone. It is a rather technical piece of software.
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
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May 19, 2017
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For FreeNAS this may however not be so big of a problem. After all this is not a word processor or a file manager for everyone. It is a rather technical piece of software.
Allow me to disagree somewhat violently. If the intent is for FreeNAS to take over the world, the interface has to be be radically improved. It is currently way too technical for anyone outside of the sysadmin world to grok unless they're really motivated, patient, and have time to spare. Other projects / approaches will simply crowd FreeNAS and ixSystems out of the market over time due to scaling issues. Not because their technical underpinnings are better (see BTRFS at Synology, etc.) but because they appear to get the job done with a much more approachable UI.

Then, when something does go wrong with a Synology, ReadyNAS, etc., I've seen fanbois jump all over the poster claiming that he/she clearly didn't know what they were doing and deserved to lose their data. Or whatever. Many forums can be rather boring echo chambers on the internet. Thankfully, this one is an exception to that.

To me, the Edgerouter UI is a great example of how Ubiquity took a pretty complicated task (i.e. setting up a firewall with lots of options) and simplified it to "choose one of these paths" with a wizard to get a initial build configured. So, the config file is created and 98% of the users are ready to go. The remaining 2% are masochists and then get to wade through the very convoluted UI, learn it, set up the options they need, and hopefully never have to return into that dungeon again. Or they're netadmins and actually enjoy that kind of treasure hunt - it's like mastering Dungeons of Doom.

I can't think of a good reason why FreeNAS doesn't have a great wizard to walk new users through the initial set up process, covering all the bases. Granted, this will not be easy to program and require plopping brand new users in front of FreeNAS to see how well it does, but the most important aspect is making it easier for mere mortals to set up FreeNAS in a way that makes sense to them, keeps the data secure, etc.

EDITED 2nd paragraph to clarify intent.
 
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danb35

FreeNAS Wizard
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10,790
I can't think of a good reason why FreeNAS doesn't have a great wizard to walk new users through the initial set up process,
It had one until recently. And pretty much every guide out there started with "cancel out of the wizard and..." So there's one good reason right there--it took a lot of work (as you acknowledge), but nobody used it.
If the intent is for FreeNAS to take over the world,
Who said this is the intent? I'm pretty sure, in fact, that it isn't. FreeNAS isn't intended to be all things to all people. It isn't intended to run on whatever old castoff hardware you can scrounge together (I recall a thread, not so long ago, where someone was complaining that it wouldn't work well with a Pentium 4). And I don't think it's intended to be something that any monkey could administer--if that's what you want, there's other software better suited to you.

And you're right that we aren't particularly patient with people who don't do their homework. They hundredth time you reply to a post of "OMG FreeNAS is reporting uncorrectable sectors on my hard drive, what does it mean?", with (obviously) no thought put into it (because if there had been, it would have been pretty obvious what it means), or any attempt to search for an answer, or read the manual, or the resources, or anything else that would have given an answer, maybe you'll understand why that is.

Nobody's saying there isn't lots of room for improvement in the GUI. But neither is it the opaque, convoluted mess you're making it out to be.
 

kdragon75

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FreeNAS isn't intended to be all things to all people.
Well it IS a NAS, SAN, AD controller, virtualization platform, and container host. So... I had the impression it was intended to be all things to all people... Market share from all the markets!
 

kdragon75

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Nobody's saying there isn't lots of room for improvement in the GUI. But neither is it the opaque, convoluted mess you're making it out to be.
Ill go so far as to agree with this. There is room for WORLDS of improvement but it's able to do most the basic things. At this point they seem to be more focused on the API and middleware than the UI. This makes a lot of sense and having the UI API driven would mean reworking the old UI anyway so why do it twice with such limited resources?

I know Ill be on 11.1U6 until 11.2U2+ or perhaps even 11.3 as the new underpinnings are not worth the switch for me.
 

kdragon75

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Further ramblings...
I would like to see FreeNAS and TrueNAS merged with out all the extra crap. SAN/NAS ONLY. Then fork a new project and call it FreeHost or HomeNAS or something with none of the SAN related stuff and all of the plugins, vms, jails, etc... They could still sell there hardware preinstalled with a certified and tuned FreeNAS/TrueNAS to maintain the VMware Ready certification. Hell, they could even have tunes for the exact hardware that are only available for the paid versions. That will solid iX backed support contracts should be plenty reason for most people to still buy a prebuilt system with decent margens.

They could even swing the other direction and release a SAN only version without all of the bloatware. I would be all over that.
 

Constantin

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It had one until recently. And pretty much every guide out there started with "cancel out of the wizard and..." So there's one good reason right there--it took a lot of work (as you acknowledge), but nobody used it.
... and that should be the signal that there was improvement potential.... which arguably should have led to development... which would have resulted in a wizard that did help newcomers set up a basic NAS. But that requires resources, which are limited by scale. As systems become more complex, every market participant benefits from scale, note the reduction of fab houses, CPU OEMs, etc.

A software project like FreeNAS is no different, scale matters. The bigger the scale of ixSystems, the more money they have to pour into R&D. And if you want to grow your user base (that will hopefully buy the hardware that iXsystems sells or donate to the FreeNAS project) then the software has to be approachable. As the article that Chris posted pointed out, user interfaces are hard to get right, for many reasons.

Also, I never argued for a system that monkey could administer and I take exception to that accusation. You might think that's what I am calling for, but it isn't. You may not agree with my feedback on the new UI, but others do. What the developers do with the feedback is entirely up to them. They may ignore it, they may embrace it, whatever. They asked for feedback and I gave it.

I also don't understand your complaint re: helping newbies that got themselves into a pickle. Presumably, your participation here is entirely voluntary, so if it bothers you to answer such posts, why are you looking at them?
 

kdragon75

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A software project like FreeNAS is no different, scale matters. The bigger the scale of ixSystems, the more money they have to pour into R&D. And if you want to grow your user base (that will hopefully buy the hardware that iXsystems sells or donate to the FreeNAS project) then the software has to be approachable. As the article that Chris posted pointed out, user interfaces are hard to get right, for many reasons.
Your completely ignoring the target consumer. iX is by and large targeting the small to medium business segment where the MSP is king. MSPs care far more about meaningful support contracts than they do about a polished UI. It's a liability thing. They want to point the finger at the vender when there is an issue. If iX wanted better market penetration, this is where/how they would do it. pfSense under Netgate is a great example of this. They don't have a second paid version, only one with a few performance tweaks for the hardware they sell.

I got a bit off track there. The point is that for iX to grow and succeed in the business market, they need to decide if this is a home hobbyists oriented project or a business oriented project. There is some overlap but they are vastly different markets with different priorities and often different users.
FreeNAS is not so complex that it needs a wizard for basic setup by an IT professional (that has bothered to read the manual). However to be idot proof for every n00b... Well, this is just the wrong product.
 

kdragon75

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On that note, I would prefer to see FreeNAS/TrueNAS to be more IT professional oriented. Sorry n00bs, go buy a Synology.
 

Jailer

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I thought this was a GUI suggestions thread? :confused:
 

kdragon75

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@Jailer nahh were offering unsolicited business advice now. ;)
 

Constantin

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I presume that iXsystems has a reason to support the SoHo segment with their Mini and Mini XL product. To me, these hardware platforms are great gateways to the FreeNAS universe, without all the risks associated with rolling your own hardware. Perhaps this is why iXsystems continues to sell them, i.e. they are great platforms to learn on before potentially deploying FreeNAS to more powerful platforms?

There is also nothing wrong with making a UI that is accessible / intuitive to IT professional as well as consumer alike. For example, a when one opens a degraded pool to see which drive is failing, wouldn't it be great if the UI could highlight failed disks instead of showing them with the same background, font, etc. as all the healthy ones? Wouldn't that make everyone's job easier? How about including the S/N for every failed drive to make it easier to identify the drive in question?
 
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Chris Moore

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Then, when something does go wrong, the fanbois jump all over the poster claiming that he/she clearly didn't know what they were doing and deserved to lose their data.
I don't think that is a very accurate depiction of the situation. I don't recall ever seeing anyone say they deserved to loose data, but there is often nothing we can do to help.
At this point they seem to be more focused on the API and middleware than the UI.
They had to rework the middle-ware to make the system able to have a new UI dropped on top of it.
I know Ill be on 11.1U6 until 11.2U2+ or perhaps even 11.3 as the new underpinnings are not worth the switch for me.
It might be ready to use by 11.2-U1, but the big improvement is not just the UI and middle-ware, it is the change to the newer 'supported' version of FreeBSD.
Then fork a new project and call it FreeHost or HomeNAS or something with none of the SAN related stuff and all of the plugins, vms, jails, etc...
Please take a couple minutes to read this as it will hopefully explain why they can't do that:
https://www.xigmanas.com/wiki/doku.php
... and that should be the signal that there was improvement potential.... which arguably should have led to development... which would have resulted in a wizard that did help newcomers set up a basic NAS. But that requires resources, which are limited by scale.
Please keep in mind that the solutions of the forum are not a reflection on iXsystems and the developers of FreeNAS. They provide the forum so the community can help each other. On some rare occasions, very few and far between, an actual staff member from iXsystems will interject, but that is not the norm. We have very little reason to think that they ever read our posts.

The problem (my opinion) with the wizard was that it asked questions that many 'first time' / 'home users' had no idea how to answer and that just lead to confusion and incorrect configuration. The 'solution' was to give a brief tutorial for how to setup a system that would work, without needing to answer those questions. Exiting the wizard was the first step to that. A better wizard might have been a solution, but advanced users didn't want a wizard and new users (by this point) already have the community created guides to work from.
They asked for feedback and I gave it.
I hope they will listen because there is a wealth of knowledge among the members of the forum.
I also don't understand your complaint re: helping newbies that got themselves into a pickle. Presumably, your participation here is entirely voluntary, so if it bothers you to answer such posts, why are you looking at them?
We do want to help. It just gets a little frustrating to answer questions that have been asked so many times before and it is often almost an identical question. Try a search for something like 'unlock volume' and see how many responses there are, and that isn't even a common error. If we didn't want to help (on some level) we wouldn't be here helping. I guess it is like going to the beach. It is enjoyable, but you still end up with sand in places you didn't want it.
where the MSP is king
Nothing against you, but I have a general dislike for acronyms.
https://searchitchannel.techtarget.com/definition/managed-service-provider
Where I work, it is actually a policy that if you use an acronym, because we have so many, you MUST cite the meaning of the acronym the first time you use it in a document and provide a lookup table at the end of the document. I worked on an update to documentation once where the table of acronyms was over two pages long.
However to be idot proof for every n00b... Well, this is just the wrong product.
There really is no way to make it idiot proof because people are always coming out of the woodwork wanting to run it on an old i7 or Core 2 from ten years ago where the system is running DDR2 memory and then they will want to connect the storage drives by USB (not just the boot drive) and after they have it built and it isn't working properly, then they come here and start asking questions about why the drives keep faulting and it takes six messages in the tread before you are able to dig enough details about their system out to figure out the data drives are connected by a USB hub to a Intel NUC with an i5 CPU and 4GB of system memory. Sorry, true story...
On that note, I would prefer to see FreeNAS/TrueNAS to be more IT professional oriented.
If they did that, I don't imagine it would be free.
Sorry n00bs, go buy a Synology.
I wouldn't wish that on my enemy. At least send them to QNAP. FreeNAS is not for everyone, I agree, but it is not so complicated that someone willing to read some documentation can't be successful with it. That appears to be a problem with society though, and out of scope for this forum, many people refuse to reference documentation, even a little, even when they realize they don't know what they are doing.
I thought this was a GUI suggestions thread? :confused:
It is. This is just discussion around the philosophy of the GUI.
 
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