Suggestion: Use launchpadadduser.py to help from remote

The blog post at Launchpad news.launchpad made me thinking. Some of companies that offer proprietary software offer remote support. If you allow them to, they can take over your screen to help you out with your problems. And a problem you often have when helping via forums or Launchpad’s Answers system is miscommunication. You don’t get what the asker means, and the asker doesn’t get your suggestions. Something that would help to solve this problem is adding a support to Launchpad and Ubuntu to help from remote. The script published at the blog post I’ve trackbacked this post to would be something that could be used for this. This could be done by writing an application for Ubuntu which can be used for adding users, and restrict them. The answer reports could get a button where you can offer yourself for fixing it and askers to accept an offer. This would give an ID/code to put into the program to add the user with the correct permissions(if you have a question about Firefox, the user doesn’t need sudo rights). The user chosen from the list of helpers will get limited access to the system with it’s launchpad ID(username and password).

Something that people would immeadiatly say is that it is extremely dangerous. That’s true, very true. There would be a lot of people wanting to abuse this. Therefore such a system would need extreme seccurity. If something goes wrong the image of open-source would get a large blow.
I suggest to create a special support team that is assigned to this feature. That team needs to have a triple signed GPG key in it’s LP profile and it’s membership need to be confirmed by the owner. Having signed to Code of Conduct in such a way that it would be legally valid would also something that I’d recommend. And at registration an EULA that says that Launchpad isn’t responsible for anything that goes wrong and makes the abbusing person chargable. The tool should determine the rights of the person on the package where the problem was reported in and should just get access to that package, related programs and a terminal. If sudo should be enabled needs some serious discussion.

Adding this to Launchpad would bring the support of Ubuntu to a higher level, and make it a lot easier for people to be helped.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts about this.

Sources:

Using Launchpad accounts to manage your local ssh logins

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2 Comments

  1. I’d rather see a feature like in OSX. It would work like this in Linux: You both have a pidgin-able account. You are both signed in. The user could ask a friend to help through pidgin and the session would probably use the same port as pidgin, so that even through firewalls and NAT, you would have a zeroconf connection. It works easy and the user picks a trusted friend that knows Linux (if they know any) to help out.

    Check it out how it works in OSX! Then have it work in Linux!
    Just my thoughts.

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