Ubuntu Software Center Updates With Wrong Password

A bug or what? While I was tinkering around with the gksu ‘force-grab’ functionality with the Ubuntu Software Center (USC) I realized that it was updating the cache every time I entered a wrong password.

Although the Software Sources window did not come out, as expected, because of the wrong password, nothing else should have happened except for an alert that the password was incorrect. Unfortunately, gksu does not appear to have that functionality by default. It is a hit or miss event and it will not repeat or warn the user if the process failed. It will simply terminate. (Try ‘gksu geditor’ on a terminal, or Alt + F2, and type in the wrong password.)

What this means is that it can confuse new Ubuntu users at first because they are not familiar with how gksu works. Windows 7 will prompt the user again and again if the password is wrong until it is cancelled, how annoying that may be, but it does tell the newbies that, “Hey User, the password you entered is wrong! Try again.. .”. USC updating its cache after a wrong password was entered will put the impression on newbies that the operation was successful when in fact it was not. No warning or no repeat from gksu, even for up to 3 times only, may give the impression that it’s broken.

Who cares when my password is as simple as “letmein”? Right. But anyone can accidentally hit the wrong key(s) even for simple passwords or confuse your Ubuntu password for another one (because you have to remember about 10 passwords for 10 different accounts), what more when the password is complicated and long?

Bottomline, USC updating the cache after a wrong password – Is that intentional? And, in the event that the wrong password is entered, gksu should provide a feedback, even if it is optional, and it would be nice if there is another option to ‘repeat-ask’ the user for the password even for up to 3 times only before it terminates.

Why should Ubuntu even care? The focus of Ubuntu is the average desktop user. While geeks and power-users abound in the Ubuntu world, Canonical does not try to hide the fact that it has been trying to penetrate the desktop market. So make it stupidly simple. Little things like these are important to give a good, if not great, impression for possible converts. Eye-candy is a treat, but the little functionalities help a lot too.

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Notice: This article was published on June 1, 2011 and the content above may be out of date.