Mumble evolvement

Mumble about Mumble

Mumble evolvement

Postby AkQ » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:26 am

Hello,

I'm 29yo ICT engineer student from Finland and I host Mumble for my friends on my private server. English is not my native language. That in mind.. here goes:

In my humble opinion, Mumble needs to evolve. Not just by improving the code, making it faster, adding features, but evolvement as a whole project.

One of the core problems of Mumble is that it's designed/made by nerds, for other nerds. By nerd, I mean a person who more or less knows how to use a computer properly.

Most of my classmates (ICT engineer students) don't know how to use computer properly. They know how to use photoshop, or how to write a program, or how to design & install & maintain a network. But they don't know how to choose parts for a computer, or how to build a computer, or how to install an OS (any OS) or how to use that OS properly. They know what they have been taught, and nowadays it's limited to the field they are studying. Everything else is irrelevan since it's made too easy. Computer doesn't work if it has no internet. That's what they know. And no student (with an exception of the telecommunication students) can fix the problem of non-working internet connection.
Additionally, they can't use Mumble, at least not without guidance.

I've invited all my gamer classmates to Mumble and they did join but not without problems. All of them had one or more issues, about how to get it working properly. Mostly the issues were simple, like how to get into the server or how to properly setup the microphone settings. All of them said it's quite hard to start using Mumble. I agree with them. Later on, they said that Mumble is ok. They got used to it, so all was good. Then came Discord and all the classmates of my Uni switched to that instantly. They said they switched because it's just so much easier. And again, I agree with them. Personally I don't like Discord and I will never use it.

But the problem is there. Mumble is too hard to use. People who aren't so tech-savvy, will never use mumble, or if they are using it, they tend to get away from it and they will leave, when a chance is given. Discord is suuupeerrrr easy when compared to Mumble. Also it looks nicer and is generally more social-looking than Mumble.

I've made it as simple as possible for my users: they can use just one small info to join my server: "akq.fi" - that's the address, with default port, and no password - "just download and install Mumble and come akq.fi !" I say. But it's not enough. It's still way too hard.
Personally, I love Mumble. It's super effective, lightweight, fast, efficient, minimalistic and just works very well. But I am a nerd. For me, this stuff is easy and I love it. But my friends - the users of my Mumble - don't really care for Mumble as a software. They just want something that works.

My dad used to know everything about cars: how they work, how they are built, how to fix them and so on and so forth - I have no clue or interest about cars. To me, they are just tools: all that matters to me is to get from point A to point B. Just like my friends want from VoIP-software, or a computer. Back in 90's, when 5% of the people had a computer, 95% of those knew how to use them properly. Now that 95% of the people has a computer, 5% of those knows how to use them properly. Cars have evolved to a point where knowledge of how the cars work is not needed anymore. All you need to do is drive, and soon, even that is not needed, you just need to know the location where you want to go.

Also Mumble needs to evolve in similar way. Otherwise, Mumble will wither and die.
Or that's how I think it will go. It's an amazing software that I love and keep loving until it's not usable anymore - like IRC :)

How much does the greatness of a software count, when the targeted users can't or wont use it?

What can be done? Well, as a nerd, I don't know much. But I think Discord has done something right. Maybe copying some ideas from it would help? Mumble-server usable through a web-page, without client-software?
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Re: Mumble evolvement

Postby mkrautz » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:00 pm

I think your analysis and your thoughts are correct.

We're currently working hard to get Mumble 1.3.0 out the door.
This release has taken us a very long time -- too long -- and Mumble development has suffered as a consequence.

Once 1.3.0 is out the door, one of the things I would like to implement is a WebSocket backend:
https://github.com/mumble-voip/mumble/issues/2131

A web client will allow us to experiment much more with the user interface and it would be natural to optimize such a client for a nice first-run experience.

This, combined with good Let's Encrypt integration should make it very easy to self-host Mumble servers and use them without too much hassle.

However, there are many UX problems with Mumble currently that I'd like to address,
some of them targetted at the developer experience as well:

- Non-intuitive UI for beginners
- Non-intuitive client configuration
- Non-intuitive authentication system
- Non-intuitive permission system
- Lack of a good manual for both Mumble and Murmur
- Lack of good developer documentation
- Lack of easy-to-use integration points for Mumble and Murmur
- Lack of a Mumble SDK for developers

etc. etc.

Hopefully, once we have Mumble 1.3.0 out the door, we can begin ticking some of these off!
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Re: Mumble evolvement

Postby DGMurdockIII » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:55 pm

mkrautz if you need help with getting any ideas together or testing stuff i can help im always in the IRC channel

and yeah i agree that permission system needs to get easer to use
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Re: Mumble evolvement

Postby DGMurdockIII » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:57 pm

mkrautz if you need help with getting any ideas together or testing stuff i can help im always in the IRC channel

and yeah i agree that permission system needs to get easer to use

but the UI is very friendly maybe some small changes can be had
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Re: Mumble evolvement

Postby kissaki » Fri May 05, 2017 2:45 pm

Some analysis on the differences could be useful. Specifically, I'm thinking about mic setup. We have an audio wizard to introduce users and make them set up their mic. If it's so much easier on other applications, how do they do it differently? Is it less effective in some scenarios because of that? (e.g. with background noise or using speakers)
MumPI: Your Mumble Web Interface in PHP
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Re: Mumble evolvement

Postby DGMurdockIII » Tue May 09, 2017 7:38 pm

kissaki wrote:Some analysis on the differences could be useful. Specifically, I'm thinking about mic setup. We have an audio wizard to introduce users and make them set up their mic. If it's so much easier on other applications, how do they do it differently? Is it less effective in some scenarios because of that? (e.g. with background noise or using speakers)


I think you could have a sticky post that on here that you could ask the users of this forum for there imput on that and what stuff they think mumble needs improving
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Re: Mumble evolvement

Postby DGMurdockIII » Tue May 09, 2017 7:42 pm

personally I think the mic setup is easy and the the setup wizzard is good but i now alot of people just cancel out of it don't run it or just click threw the screens not Me i read each screen and did it all carefully but that the problem not everyone will
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Re: Mumble evolvement

Postby h4890 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:58 pm

Great observation AkQ. I come from a different background and I completely agree with you. I'm not a gamer, but my interest in mumble is as a self-hosted alternative to Skype once it started to deteriorate on linux. Philosophically I like self-hosting or complete decentralization and I experimented with the following projects:

1. Mumble.
2. Mumble + Tor for getting a kind of DNS alternative.
3. Ring.cx.
4. Tox.
5. Retroshare.

Ideally, clients should exist for IOS, Android and Linux, and that eliminated Retroshare, Tox and Ring.cx. If IOS is eliminated as an alternative, the quality of the implementations for Ring and Tox made them useless (also add to that battery drain and traffic consumption).

But mumble actually worked quite well, even over tor! A tor hidden service was a great way to get a decentralized DNS alternative, and that meant that I could run mumble on my laptop and have people calling me from all over europe, using the same TOR hidden service address, no matter where my laptop is. With orbot on android, it worked there, and I wasn't quite able to test it on IOS, but the clients for mumble look great.

Now for the problems...

It is very clear to me that I'm trying to squeeze mumble into a use case it wasn't designed for in the beginning. It's origin is gaming, but apart from that, and a UI which can be quite uncomprehensible for non-technologists, the technology itself is rock solid!

So in terms of evolving the problem, I'd like to see some massive simplification and streamlining. My dream would be if it could be connected with the phone book on android, so I could use one "tap" to call friends who are self hosting, and they could use one "tap" to call me on my self hosted server.

If tor hidden service support could be included by default (without torify or other software) as well as a defailt tor config that minimizes the nr of hops (there is a new feature for doing that in the newer versions) that would be a great built in alternative to dns.

But I do realize that develoepers and time is limited and my proposed changes are probably difficult to implement without too much trouble, but in terms of redesign or expanding the use case for mumble, I'd say that the motto "simplify, simplify, simplify" would be a good one.

With that being said, thank you for the great software and the great job you have been doing. As a technologist I find it easy to use. My feedback is based on my parents and non-technical friends experimenting.

Best regards,
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