Userful Desktop™ ChangeLog

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Copyright © 2008-2015 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2015.09.25)


Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 442

This Userful Desktop update is currently offered as a Stable Release.

Updating from Userful Desktop 343 (our previous Stable Release) will download approximately 101 MB of new files.

Version History:

  • Release Candidate v.436 was available as of April 14, 2011.
  • Release Candidate v.442 was available as of May 11, 2011.


  • 128 different improvements have been included in this release.
  • Adobe Reader 9.4 is now included.
  • Adobe Flash 10.2 is now included.
  • Improved language support, especially for French users.
  • Significant improvements for Remote Monitoring & Control, including performance optimizations and user interface and usability enhancements.
  • Significant improvements to Userful Desktop Printing system, including the ability to include usernames in print jobs using CMS style print systems, and support for international currencies.
  • Inclusion of print job statistics in Usage Reports.
  • Improved security, with tighter checks during user authentication and more flexible management of administrative passwords.


Watch this space for more details regarding this update coming soon.

Third-party application support improvements:

  • Better support for Firefox. [3209, 3323, 3871, 4395, 3334, 4382, 4771]
  • Better support for [3413, 3713, 3198, 1548, 3859, 3939, 4593]
  • Adobe Reader 9.4 included and supported. [4163, 4164]
  • Adobe Flash included and supported. [4215]

User interface and language support enhancements:

  • Improved French language support.
  • More complete internationalization (multi-language) support in Remote Monitoring & Control.
  • Improved multi-language support throughout.
  • Improved multi-language and font support in Welcome Screen.
  • Various user interface bug fixes.

Printing support improvements:

  • Debut of new Userful Desktop Printing subsystem implementation.
  • Improved printing integration with Remote Monitoring & Control.
  • Improved support for print pricing in international currencies.
  • Enhancements to provide option for print stations to use user bar codes instead of station numbers.
  • Various printing support bug fixes.

Session configuration improvements:

  • Supports improved structure and customizability of Userful Desktop's Start Menu. [3724, 3725]
  • Usage Tracker now has configurable time penalty.

Performance, stability, and security improvements:

  • Along with other administrative passwords, the computer's GRUB password can now be changed through Userful Manager. [1574]
  • The location peer list received from Userful Manager will no longer contain deleted computers. [4080]
  • Various performance-related optimizations.
  • Various stability-related bug fixes.
  • Improved authentication and security features.

Desktop support and update management enhancements:

  • Remote Monitoring & Control can now be used to remotely invoke configuration updates for multiple machines. [722]
  • Improved support for package repository mirrors.
  • Administrator Mode now has a feature for resetting video card configuration. Useful if your video configuration is no longer valid and you wish to return to defaults. [4465]
  • Various update management-related bug fixes.


Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 343

This Userful Desktop update is currently offered as a Stable Release.

  • Release Candidate 1 (v.343) was available starting the week of July 12, 2010.
  • Stable Release (v.343) was available starting the week of August 16, 2010.
  • 3.2 upgrade begins going out to computers the week of September 20, 2010.


  • 3.2 will be supported in this release.
    • Technical issues related to swapping out 2.x and replacing it cleanly with v.3.2 have been resolved.
    • This new version will provide improved support for .docx files.
  • Language support improvements.
  • Stability and performance improvements.


User interface and language support enhancements:

  • User interface improvements for Tracker features in Remote Control. [33]
  • Improved support for display of non-alphabetical languages in Remote Control. [458]
  • Broad internationalization and localization improvements in Remote Control. [2294]

Stability and performance improvements:

  • System Restore feature has been greatly improved. [1114]
    • This feature allows a damaged filesystem to be restored to a previously working state, without requiring the use of an install disc.
  • The status of the System Restore feature is now displayed in Admin Mode's "System Info" tool. [1507]
    • A sanity check on key System Restore files is performed, and the degree of integrity of the feature is displayed.
  • The Welcome Screen Greeter has performance improvements. It is more responsive and uses far less CPU resources than before. [2871]
  • Improved recovery instructions for Welcome Screen hang-ups. [2964]
    • This new version instructs users to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete if their session does not begin properly. This is a gentler, and less trouble-prone way of resetting the station than Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
  • Fixed an issue where entering Admin Mode would sometimes immediately end the session. [3192]
  • Improved handling of network broadcast addresses. [3410]
  • Ensured that "Advanced Tools" folder displays properly in Admin Mode. [3452]
  • Resolved issues with SSH access being lost in certain circumstances. [3455]

Authentication and security improvements:

  • Added more customer support for Innovative Interfaces' Patron API authentication. [3074]
  • Added customer support for AutoGraphix ILS authentication. [3166]
  • Closed a loophole with a certain ILS which allowed authentication using blank credentials. [3277]

Third party application support improvements:

  • Improved application of Firefox's default font settings during session starts. [2991]
  • Improved support for playback of audio CD's. [3252]
  • Adobe Reader has been updated to 9.3.2. [3260]
  • Fixed handling of upgrade from 2.x to 3.x. [3405]
    • Only 3.x will be available to the user. 2.x will disappear entirely.
    • This will finally provide proper support for .docx files, including proper handling of MIME/media types.
  • Java has been upgraded to version 1.6.0_20. [3512]
    • Security improvements in this update are required by certain sites.
  • Adobe Flash Player/Plugin has been updated to 10.1. [3634]
    • This new plugin seems to have significant performance improvements over earlier versions.

Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 331

This Userful Desktop update has been provided as a Stable Release since March, 2010.

  • Release Candidate 1 (v.318) was available the week of December 14, 2009.
  • Release Candidate 2 (v.330) was available the week of January 25, 2010.
  • Release Candidate 3 (v.331) was available the week of February 5, 2010.


  • Firefox 3.5 now included!
  • 3 now available as an optional addition. See below for details. (New in v.330!)
  • Improved security features.
  • Improved speed and functionality of Remote Monitoring & Control™ (formerly DiscoverAssist™).
  • Stability and performance improvements to Userful Desktop system level services.


Language support enhancements:

  • User login instructions from Userful Manager are now properly passed to the Welcome Screen. [#132] (New in v.330!)
  • The Welcome Screen's language list now uses vernacular language names. [#1093]
  • Supports new Userful Manager option to start SCIM (Smart Common Input Method) for all languages. [#2189]
    • By default, SCIM will only start if the session language requires it. This new option forces SCIM to always start for that session.
  • The Welcome Screen now shows the Usage Agreement in the language selected (if the proper translation was added in Userful Manager). [#2236]
  • The default language is now en_US (American English) not en_CA (Canadian English). This supports the broader market better. [#2340]
  • Remote Monitoring & Control™ (formerly DiscoverAssist™) now shows proper language names instead of language codes. [#2520]
  • The Welcome Screen now properly handles language codes to show session names in other languages. [#2529]
  • Italian translations of many Userful Desktop interface elements have been added. [#2559]

Security/authentication system improvements:

  • New session locking feature has been introduced. [#216]
    • This feature will be enabled in the upcoming Userful Manager 310 release.
  • Now allows authentication without an Acceptable Use Policy. [#1223]
  • Staff members can now use a unique password to log in when standard credentials are not convenient. [#1571]
  • New firewall support has been added. [#2413]
  • Admin mode can now be started from the Welcome Screen (so you don't have to start a session first). [#2482]
    • Going forward, this will be the recommended method to get into Admin Mode. Use Ctrl-Alt-A from the Welcome Screen.
  • System level improvements have been made to various authentication modules. [#2598,#2623,#3099,#3188]
  • Station user's home directory is properly wiped clean again. [#2728]
  • EZproxy integration is now supported. [#3074] (New in v.330!)
  • Fixed cases where logout warning message sometimes would not display. [#1588,#3110] (New in v.330!)
  • Fixed loophole which sometimes caused authenticating sessions not to start. [#3111] (New in v.330!)
  • Fixed issue where starting Admin Mode from a timed session would bounce back to the Welcome Screen. [#3245] (New in v.330!)

Remote Monitoring & Control improvements:

  • Now login through Remote Control is possible even when the station's screensaver is active. [#1790,2331]
  • "Open URL on Station" feature has been removed for unprivileged staff logins. [#1824]
  • Now consistently allows remote logging into authenticating sessions. [#1900]
  • Print jobs now properly show up. [#2330]
  • Scalability improvements have been made to handle more stations with smaller performance hit. [#2362] (New in v.331!)
  • Tracking required for compliance with laws in some countries now possible. [#2570]
  • Log into session list now properly handles non-ASCII characters. [#2783]
  • Improved command result messages (less confusing). [#2799]
  • Now remotely ejects discs properly (just because!). [#2863]
  • Fixed browser frame issue when clicking on links to external sites. [#2891,#2917]
  • End-of-day logout now behaves consistently with various forms of authentication. [#3123] (New in v.330!)
  • Fixed an issue where changes in Remote Control between UD 305 and 329 would cause it not to start up. [#3242] (New in v.330!)
    • The workaround was a reboot after the update from UD v.305. This should not be necessary with UD v.330.

Improved troubleshooting tools:

  • Improvements to system level troubleshooting tools. [#1557,1565,1566,1568,1971,2915]
  • Now keeps track of "greedy" processes' CPU and memory usage for troubleshooting purposes. [#2655]

Installation/configuration/distribution support improvements:

  • Obsolete software packages have been cleared out of repositories. [#1711]
  • Improved messaging to encourage applying configuration from Userful Manager after installation. [#2349]
  • System level software package juggling. [#2492,#2500,#2555,#3132,#3081]
  • Temporary repository switch now returns to default upon nightly update check. [#2569]
  • All required fonts for low resolution device assignment screens now included. [#2662]
  • Removed legacy code preventing proper use of station number "100". [#2794] (New in v.330!)
  • Launching YumEX tool in Admin Mode now gives a warning. [#3153] (New in v.331!)

Stability improvements:

  • Improved use of multithreading so dbus and fifo calls don't block. [#2716]
  • Improved admin password dialog handling so that input focus stays with the dialog. [#2836]
  • URL Tracker reliability improvements. [#2895]
  • Standardizing fifo protocol. [#2932]
  • Fixed Greeter permission issue so it runs as the proper user... properly. [#3079]
  • Better recovery from problems with extremely large print jobs. [#3119] (New in v.330!)

Third party application support improvements:

  • Specially crafted components allow for Google account integration with Userful Desktop. [#1013]
    • Requires special tweaking.
  • 3 is now available as an optional install. [#1548] (New in v.330!)
    • OOo 3 is provided in the additional repository, rather than replacing OOo 2 in the base repository. The reason for this is that this OOo 3 bundle only supports a subset of languages, whereas OOo 2 supports far more languages.
    • The computer needs to be rebooted after OOo 3 is installed.
    • Although this does not overwrite/replace OOo 2, OOo 3 will be launched by default when a document is opened.
    • This version of is capable of opening .docx files.
  • Adobe Reader 9 icons have been updated. [#2307]
  • Now updated to Firefox 3.5! [#2675]
    • This update fixes several recent issues introduced by changes to the AOL, Facebook, and MySpace sites. [#3037,#3082,#3091]
  • User-Agent-Switcher add-on for Firefox is once again installing properly. [#2721]
  • Some other upstream updates are now included. [#3094]
  • GnomeBaker dependencies for burning MP3 files added. [#3133] (New in v.330!)


Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 305

Earlier changes released April 9, further changes added July, 2009:


We've made dozens of improvements in this update! Here are some highlights in this release of Userful Desktop:

  • Numerous stability improvements.
  • More consistent behavior in the user interface.
  • More reliable print services.
  • Security/privacy improvements.
  • Upgrade to Adobe Flash 10.
  • Improved video drivers and handling of drivers.
  • More reliable support for USB storage devices.
  • Improved troubleshooting tools.
  • Improved support for various languages.


Here are the various user-facing features and issues fixed that are part of the Userful Desktop (Swordfish) 305 release:

Enhancements for Administrators:

  • Administrators can now cancel end of day locking with Ctrl-Alt-A key combination. [#8]
  • Now a reliable reboot from admin mode. [#15]
  • Now includes instructions for installing OpenOffice and other apps not on the Userful Desktop Install CD (does not apply to DVD). [#374]
  • Removed redundant 'Install License' tool from Userful Desktop. [#918]
  • Created 'light install' for Userful Desktop for small drives. [#984]
  • Added Release Notes on install screen. [#895]
  • Changed timing of license agreement during install to increase convenience. [#1254]
  • Renamed "Userful" to "Userful Control Panel" in Advanced Tools menu. [#1262]
  • Separate Userful Multiplier install bundle now included on Userful Desktop install DVD. [#1283]
  • Readme for Desktop Multiplier now included on Userful Desktop Install CD. [#1339]
  • Improved flow of user messages during first boot configuration. [#1425]
  • Removed non-functional option from nag screen. [#1515]
  • License detail date is now current. [#1593]
  • Initiated desktop clean-up when entering Admin mode. [#1604]
  • Updated display configuration screen to match new parameters. [#1656]
  • Fixed greyed-out icon for Userful Control Panel. [#1743]
  • Improved performance of system restore at boot-up. [#1762]
  • Newly-installed Userful Desktops' software version now properly handled during Userful Manager configuration building. [#1775]
  • Added ability to launch Admin mode from Welcome Screen. [#1927]
  • Improved handling of legacy Welcome Screen configurations. [#1936]
  • Hosts configuration now updates when a computer's IP address changes using DHCP without rebooting. [#2075]
  • Changed to more accurate wording on 'system enabled without configuration' warning. [#2110]
  • Added better Admin Mode desktop wallpaper. [#2195]
  • Resolved station freezing issue with Admin functions requiring user confirmation. [#2288]
  • Added hardinfo system profiling tool in Admin Mode. [#2448]

User interface and language support enhancements:

  • Decline button on acceptable use policy screen moved to prevent mis-clicks. [#14]
  • Logout warning now more visible to users. [#44]
  • Acceptable Use Policy now properly aligned when using DualView displays. [#88]
  • USB Floppy drives now always appear in 'Computer' file browser. [#1349]
  • Improved Arabic font appearance in Firefox. [#1384]
  • Updated icons and logos to make sure branding is consistent. [#1392]
  • Revised Userful Desktop Start Menu for improved usability. [#1393]
  • Userful Multiplier (included with Userful Desktop) now fully rebranded. [#1441]
  • Resolved conflict with Gnome settings daemon. [#1761]
  • Changed Greeter login screens to enhance readability of messages. [#1915]
  • Changed log-out icon to standard 'Running Man'. [#2037]
  • Logging in using certain languages (such as Chinese) no longer causing problems. [#2119]

Print service improvements:

  • Ability to cancel or go-ahead with print job enabled. [#19]
  • Improved monitoring and purging of old or unprintable print jobs. [#174]
  • Userful Desktop print confirmation has cosmetic improvements. [#311]
  • Streamlined process for uploading printer configuration after updates. [#497]
  • Improved accuracy of page counts when printing. [#995]
  • Can now switch printers from Print Management. [#1417]
  • Now automatically resets print service after changing the printer settings. [#1521]
  • Improved time-syncing to prevent problems with print service. [#1601]

Security/privacy enhancements:

  • Administration, Reboot and Add Time dialogs have improved password security. [#9]
  • Added an option to ensure barcode data is kept out of debug logs. [#579]
  • Gmail homepage now always clears after logout. [#1853]

Applications and user-space utilities:

  • Now easier to do multiple station recordings with different default output filenames. [#246]
  • Upgraded to Adobe Flash 10. [#1105]
  • Gnome Hearts now added. [#1585]
  • New Adobe Reader 8.1.3 added. [#1820]
  • Added more resume templates for [#2029]
  • Added improved screenshot tool. [#2127]
  • odf-converter-integrator included with new version of Userful Desktop. [#2185]

Improved troubleshooting tools:

  • Network diagnostics now clearly labelled. [#1168]
  • Reboot testing from Administrator Mode now only tests a single reboot. [#1356]
  • Added system restore status to System Info. [#1507]
  • Fixed error in system uptime (as shown in System Info) on multi-core systems. [#1511]
  • Diagnostic tool Sanity Check no longer disrupts print job display. [#1641]

Hardware compatibility and networking improvements:

  • Improved control of Internet filter. [#703]
  • Improved network connectivity when proxy is configured. [#1169]
  • Solved conflict between Intel video card driver and X. [#1180]
  • Filter icons now always available to desktop. [#1195]
  • Resolved issue with ethernet card when installed from drive image. [#1212]
  • Video configuration now grabs correct VESA/Intel driver. [#1354]
  • Can mount and format USB floppy drives again. [#1393]
  • NVIDIA cards now initializing with correct number of screens. [#1673]
  • Added driver support for Ricoh printers. [#1768]
  • Increased stability of USB devices on systems with more than 4 stations. [#1827]
  • Updated video configuration to work with newer monitors. [#1897]
  • Resolved problem with mounting USB flash drives. [#1957]
  • Improved video configuration with some driver/monitor combinations. [#2027]
  • Tested capacity of dansguardian whitelist/blacklist. [#2031]

Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 296-C

First released March 2009.

  • umx-utils updated to resolve some video card compatibility issues.


Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 296-B

First released December 16, 2008.

This is a small release of incremental improvements. It is largely a "respin" of 296, hence, only a minor version number change.

  • Userful Multiplier subsystem:
    • Automatically initialize video card on boot.
    • Added system ID.
    • Minor improvements to license handling.
    • Fixed some re-branding issues.
    • Improvements to Control Panel:
      • Fixed some installation issues. One in particular caused some screens to be blank upon reboot after an "unclean" power-off (no "safe" shutdown).
      • Improved license handling.
      • Improved handling of increasing stations.
      • Re-branding.
    • License text is now translatable.
    • Fixed handling of Admin Mode icon.
    • Improved support for video cards and their detection.
  • Userful Desktop core:
    • Minor changes to support re-branding.
    • Takes advantage of new Userful Multiplier Control Panel UI.
    • Added "Run Basic System Check" feature for Admin Mode.
    • Fixed the creation of the sessions list in Remote Control.
    • Fixes to several authentication modules.

Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 296

First released October, 2008.

  • Fixed font issue for improved printing
  • Updated Remote Monitoring and Control (formerly DiscoverAssist)
    • Now loads systems faster
    • Keeps better track of different peers
    • Updated annoy-user function error messages and fixed the mouse issue in which the mouse wouldn't revert back to normal.
  • Fixed USB problem in which drives were not viewable from "Computer"
  • Updated Print Management
    • Fixed pop-up issue (there was a problem with the interface)
    • Invoice price calculation issue fixed
    • Invoices now show the barcode of the user
  • Improved translation support
  • Improved floppy disk support
  • Fixed video driver problem with Intel video outputs
  • Added more User Help icons
  • Added back-up clock synchronization method (for machines where NTP is blocked by firewall)

Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 294

First released August 11, 2008.

  • Translation updates
  • Fixed 'system error resetting station' dialog when upgrading SF from before 291
  • DiscoverAssist - DiscoverPrint is now "Print Management" (the module works the same).
  • Fixed "end of session" warning dialog not showing
  • Added floppy-disk formatting utility
  • Firefox optimizations (loads pages faster)
  • Fixed crashing (display goes black requiring reboot) on single station x100, x1000 and any motherboard with on-board Intel graphics
  • Added support for Intel G33 based onboard video cards
  • Fixed some minor problems with proxy configuration
  • Fixed Flash blocker bug
  • Added support for changing currency on prepaid cards
  • Fixed licensing issues concerning network connections on non-eth0 interfaces

Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Version 291

First released July 28, 2008.

  • Hotmail no longer throws up "upgrade" error
  • TuxPaint now an extra package (installed by default)
  • DiscoverPrint now Userful-Desktop-Printing
    • GUI Console now allows refresh when there are no print jobs
  • Calender template added to list of templates in OpenOffice
  • Epiphany's language settings now based on session settings
  • Updated translation strings
  • Fixed print button configuration in Firefox
  • Fix "block Flash" feature in Firefox

Userful Desktop (Swordfish) Base Release - Version 284

First released June 23, 2008.

This is the first stable public release of Userful Desktop™ (the successor to DiscoverStation™).

Feature Highlights

Below we list a number of key changes since DiscoverStation 5. This list is not exhaustive, but is intended to give an overview of the major changes in functionality shipped with Userful Desktop.

Multimedia Support

  • Improved media player browser plugin -- works with Real Audio/Video and Windows Media Player media in Web pages. You'll be able to listen to music in the background on many Web pages as well.
  • The newest Flash -- Userful Desktop has the newest Flash player provided by Adobe (10.0.12). 2.3 Office Suite

  • Easier to make charts
  • Greater program stability
  • Better calender support
  • Kerning used to make more readable text
  • Enhanced Microsoft file format support

Firefox 2.0 Browser

  • Visual interface has been improved to make it more intuitive to use
  • Built in phishing protection helps keeps your patrons information safer
  • Better support for Web page printing
  • Inline spell-checking
  • Just as with all applications in DiscoverStation, users may customize Firefox's interface or install plugins, but everything is wiped clean when they end their session

Userful Manager (formerly Network Personalizer)

  • User interface improvements -- design and usability improvements, with a new look-and-feel consistent with DiscoverAssist
  • Improved help and documentation -- in-depth context sensitive help for each page and feature

System Level Services

  • Improved print dialog -- better usability, simple to use
  • Improved file chooser dialog -- the location entry and the dialog remains responsive even when performing time-consuming file operations

Hardware Support

  • Better support of USB devices and newer processors and drives
  • Supports a broader range of video cards
  • Multi processor support -- Userful Desktop now automatically detects your processor configuration and enables full support and utilization of multi-processor systems such as Intel Core Duo and AMD Dual Core and Quad Core processors
  • Monitor resolution settings -- now dynamically configures monitor resolution and refresh rates to limit the amount of manual configuration required (new X11R7 software)

Network Support

  • Wireless networking tool helps with the wireless setup process

Note: This applies to customers who have Userful Desktop on laptops currently. Development is underway for desktop wireless support.