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What Really Happened To Ubuntu's Edgy Artwork? 297

angrykeyboarder writes, "Many Ubuntu users expressed surprise, dismay, and disappointment when Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) nixed the popular community-developed artwork during the beta phase of Ubuntu 6.10 ('The Edgy Eft'). Some Ubuntu community members were downright shocked, and many were ultimately dissatisfied with the final product. What exactly happened? Short answer: the Art Team was less disturbed than some other community members were. has the scoop." Slashdot and are both part of OSTG.
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What Really Happened To Ubuntu's Edgy Artwork?

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  • ok, I'm pissed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:55PM (#16847816)
    this really pisses me off. Would it be so fucking hard to just fucking link to an example of "edgy art" Jesus. They have links that go to text, and links on the text pages go to more text. Hello? Don't waste my time with this. Just show me the art which is the subject of the article.
    • by Alkivar ( 25833 ) *
      mod parent up... this is sooo true.
    • I found some... (Score:5, Informative)

      by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:03PM (#16847870) Homepage
      Found some... with some digging. Peace [], Tropic [] and Blubuntu [].
    • Re:ok, I'm pissed (Score:5, Informative)

      by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:05PM (#16847900)
      Digging around the wiki, this is what I could come up with... lan/Polish/Incoming []

      Now, assuming this is the art in question, which I wouldn't know for sure, not only is this a completely shitty non-article, it's also a terrible headline. The whole 'edgy' pun attempts to make it sound like they had naked women or something, when in fact it's plain old boring splash screens with round letters and glossy effects. Snore. I guess they had to do SOMETHING to attempt to make this look like it might be newsworthy, so why not throw a potentially sensational headline out there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) P lan/Polish/Incoming

      Thats one link found buried in the wiki. I never really noticed much difference. In fact, as an Edgy tester, a ton of the proposed artwork never hit the repo at all. This is partly because, as a glimpse at that single step in the process ("Polish") will show you, there's a ton of ideas floating around. However, much of the art concepts were incorporated. I vaguely also recall a page somewhere that pretty much had the boot splash concept a
      • Re:ok, I'm pissed (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @05:37AM (#16849802)
        "Maybe some day an ambitious junior college graphics design course will have "make a gdk theme" for a project instead of the silly fake things they do now (obviously this would be more online oriented than print oriented)."

        Aiming high huh? Let's get some Junior College kids to skin an OS in a semester.

        IHMO this is one of the major hurdle's facing Linux adoption outside of the IT arena. Very few people in the software development industry fully understand visual communication, interactive design, and or the design process. Interactive design is viewed as some sort of BS skinning process that can be pumped out by some peons in a few months.

        Interactive design for an OS should be conducted by a team of professional interactive designers. They should understand visual communication, cognitive psychology, quantitative / qualitative usability research, and at least a CS101 understanding of what a conditional statement, class, etc is. These people should be given 6 months to a year (if not longer) to do their work. They should be paid a salary which doesn't force them to live in their parent's basements. Furthermore, they should work with software engineering to build an interactive design specification that is adhered to religiously and implemented as closely as humanly possible.

        Themes are retarded. They almost always result in something spec'd by software engineers and turd-polished by a lame underpaid or inexperienced graphic designer.
      • by bit01 ( 644603 )

        Of course, if you don't like the theme as it stands, search your repos for things like "blubuntu" or "tropic".

        Yep, both blubuntu-look and tropic-look are there. However, there are multiple themes already installed; just select menu item System/Preferences/Theme. Easy. I prefer the default "Human" theme myself.


        Don't be a programmer-bureaucrat; someone who substitutes marketing buzzwords and software bloat for verifiable improvements.

    • There's nothing edgy about it judging by all the links in the thread - everything is pretty well rounded off.
    • by Wavicle ( 181176 )
      How about this [] or this [] or maybe even this []

      I don't know that any of those were the artwork in question... but there you go. I know they're all from the same contributor, but is really slow right now... for some reason... hmmmm...
  • Screenshot? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by catbutt ( 469582 )
    ...or something? Call me shallow but I'd like to look at some pictures.
    • Looking at those, I'm glad the branding team killed it. They look like cheap OS X knock-offs (one wallpaper image looks like a default OS X one turned from blue to brown). If Ubuntu wants to succeed (and not be sued out of existence for trademark violation), it needs to establish its own brand image, not copy Apple's. I don't use Ubuntu, and so I don't know what the art it actually uses looks like, but I sincerely hope it's more original. By all means, keep themes that computer users will find familiar
    • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Informative)

      by kernelpanicked ( 882802 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:17PM (#16847986)
      Have any of you even seen Edgy installed? The artwork you keep linking to isn't what was turned down, it's the artwork for the damn release.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Fnkmaster ( 89084 )
        Furthermore, it looks extremely similar to the Dapper Drake artwork. I haven't seen Edgy Eft yet, but I immediately knew from looking at it that this must be the boring, incrementally modified theme since it looks incredibly similar to what was there before.
        • Nice job reading the article! That's exactly what they did -- rolled back to Dapper Drake's artwork and polished it up a bit.
  • by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:24PM (#16848058) Homepage Journal
    "Edgy Eft" is the "nick-name" of the release of Ubuntu. Like "Woody" was a Debian release and "Zod" was a Fedora release.

    "Edgy art" does not refer to "provocative art", but "art for the 'Edge Eft' release".

    All Ubuntu releases are named with an adjective and an animal, and they have to alliterate. I have no idea why.

    • by digitalderbs ( 718388 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:37PM (#16848158)
      The next release will be the Fellatious Ferret.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by modecx ( 130548 )
      Holy moly, I wish someone writing the article could have explained that.

      And here I was looking forward to seeing something that some overly-zealous conservative twit thought was immoral or something.

      Curse you, write-up writer, curse cauliflower, and curse the Olson twins.
    • by dcapel ( 913969 )
      pun n. use of words, usually humorous, based on (a) the several meanings of one word, (b) a similarity of meaning between words that are pronounced the same, or (c) the difference in meanings between two words pronounced the same and spelled somewhat similarly.
  • by daniel23 ( 605413 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:27PM (#16848082)

    sorry, this is a part of OSS culture I entirely fail to understand. Like, when there is a new version of distro X and some OS News sites have nothing better to report than a 15 pages of hires screenshots of the default desktop etc.

    You mean you install a new distro and then judge its worth by the look of the default theme? You don't change the theme first thing? You don't know how to install a custom theme if you don't like the preconfigured choices?

    But then again, my boxen run headless 98% of the time, so why should I care...
    • by Doctor Crumb ( 737936 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:33PM (#16848134) Homepage
      Ubuntu is billed as "linux for human beings". In practice, this means "usable and welcoming to non-geeks"; those same non-geeks who purchase a new windows OS because it has a new default desktop background and shinier buttons. So, while you may not judge a distro by its art, there are plenty of people who *do*, and those are the people ubuntu is trying to reach.

    • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:33PM (#16848138)
      When I have this monitor in front of my face as much as 80 hours a week, I really DO care what my desktop looks like. While I'll change stuff like themes, etc, fonts and icons tend to me part of the "I have better things to do with my time" department, so if it doesn't look nice out of the box, and its not packaged with my theme somehow, it has to look semi-decent.
      • by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @12:24AM (#16848396) Journal
        When I have this monitor in front of my face as much as 80 hours a week, I really DO care what my desktop looks like.

        I use my computer 80+ hours a week too. But mostly, I'm looking at what's in the windows, not what's around the edges of them.

        • by Shados ( 741919 )
          Makes sense. I personally like the entire thing to look at least semi-decent. I didn't use to. Over the years I changed my mind about it, because it was seriously getting boring and feel too much like "work" (to me, even work shouldn't feel like "work"). But hey, different people, different tastes.
        • amen! 99% of the time I have the following maximized on my two screens:

          left (1280x1024) - firefox
          right (1920x1200) - emacs/eclipse depending if I'm programming C, python or java at the time, + some random rxvts to alt-tab to

          I don't think I have seen my desktop background in months: who cares about themes! As long as windows have some sort of a (small) title bar and (even smaller) borders that I can use to resize them I'm as happy as can be. All these screenshots of people with 4-5 windows taking up 1/4th o
    • sorry, this is a part of OSS culture I entirely fail to understand.

      It's the AOL-ization of linux. Lots of people without much technical ability, but lots of time on their hands to talk about it. So you get a focus on the trivial because all they can understand.
    • You mean you install a new distro and then judge its worth by the look of the default theme? You don't change the theme first thing? You don't know how to install a custom theme if you don't like the preconfigured choices?

      First impressions matter. It isn't fair, but it is true.

      Custom themes are fine for personal and home use. Less so, perhaps, outside the cubicle, in the library or on the shop floor where dozens of machines may greet the visitor and systems must be shared.

      But then again, my boxen run he

      • > First impressions matter. It isn't fair, but it is true.

        hm, with OSen first impressions have been long since forgotten when you really have reasons to to get angry. Like, trying to upgrade SuSE from 9.1 to 10.1 on a remote server. Or the versionitis (or lack of it!) after years of updates. How long will you have to wait for the most recent version of clamAV being available for your distro? How does this particular distro fare when it comes to strange keyboards and funny characters cause of exotic langu
  • Ooohhh, Shiny... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tymbow ( 725036 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:30PM (#16848100)

    I don't know what direction was required for the art, but the samples have that "ooohhh shiny" web 2.0 feel to them so they just must be better :p

    Meeehhh, it will all change again anyway when everyone jumps on the Web 3.0 graphic design bandwagon or whatever the next hot trend will be.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @11:38PM (#16848160)
    Some Ubuntu community members were downright shocked, and many were ultimately dissatisfied with the final product.

    Why should this happen? Why should "some community members" be shocked if Ubuntu is being developed as "an Open Source OS?" And I guess they were following Ubuntu's development pretty closely.

    I need this question answered: Is Mark Shuttleworth a benevolent dictator in Ubuntu's Development?

  • by dantheman82 ( 765429 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @12:05AM (#16848318) Homepage
    Chief artist head honcho summed it up: "We set out to start from scratch and to top Dapper, while Dapper was arguably very close to what Mark had in mind."

    Hmm...sort of reminds me of the Slashdot CSS Redesign Contest []. Need the Slashdot "Shade of Green" and Coliseo font. Basically it has to be very similar to the old one, but better. Sometimes it fades into the background once the hubbub dies people realize that visual continuity and product branding do count for something...
    • Basically it has to be very similar to the old one, but better. Sometimes it fades into the background once the hubbub dies down...

      Oh yeah, you hardly notice the new /. theme...

      If you
      two words
      at a

      Center column squishing bug is alive and well after several months.
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
      Speaking of Slashdot redesign, perhaps they could remove the bizarre link-style 'hover-disappearing underline' they've implemented for all of the Linux section topic titles recently? It looks very amateurish, like a warez page or something.
  • by Chief Typist ( 110285 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @12:29AM (#16848420) Homepage
    The icons were professionally designed: []

    By one guy. Working directly with Mark.

    My suggestion for the art team would be to establish someone as an art director. Someone that Mark trusts to implement his vision. And then have that art director give specific tasks to the designers that report to him.

    It sounds like they're heading in that direction by giving Frank Stroep the title of "Artist in Chief". His task now is to tell people what he wants. And if you think it's easy being a hard ass when it comes to design & the people who do it, let me assure you IT IS NOT.

    If this doesn't happen, they'll end up taking the "design by committee" approach. The result of this kind of process is something that no one loves -- a lowest common denominator. Sort of like when software is designed by a committee :-)

    For what it's worth, I'm a principal in the company that did the Ubuntu work -- so I speak from experience about this stuff :-)


  • Having installed Edgy on a couple of computer these last few days, and upgraded a few Dapper machines, I find its artwork pretty relaxing. I didn't like the brown colors at first, but you get used to it very quickly.

    Efty's new boot up logo looks much better than the old one, and I am happy that they got rid of all the boot up messages on start-up, which was just distracting crud.

    Nice one -- on the computers I installed it on, it just worked and the upgrades went smootly. Your milage may vary of course.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ankur Dave ( 929048 )

      I am happy that they got rid of all the boot up messages on start-up, which was just distracting crud.

      I always found it annoying that Windows by default shows nothing but a little green/blue thingy scrolling around -- that doesn't even show boot progress.

      Before Edgy, Ubuntu has always showed nonverbose messages about which services it's starting, etc. I couldn't understand these messages when I first started using Linux (I started with Ubuntu Breezy) but after 6 months they were informative and useful to

      • I have been watching Linux boot up screens for years -- and its never usefull for anything, except when you are having trouble setting up the machine. I have setup one Ubuntu machine on a 37" display, and a quiet "Ubuntu" while the machine loads so that we can start presentations is very nice. There is no need to scare anyone with complicated language ; these machines are run by non-tech staff who don't need to know whether the DHCP address was succesfully obtained, the RAID array mounted etc.

        But for the sa
  • who flippin cares??!!! just install vista! :P
  • While we're on the subject of how Ubuntu works, someone should come up with a new logo for the system. It probably means something to someone but I don't think it's being effectively conveyed. Furthermore, it doesn't translate well to small sizes which is a big problem considering that's how it's going to appear often in the OS. It looks like an indistinguishable ring of colors.

    The Ubuntu name also fights with the graphic. It looks like each element was designed by two different people and forced together.
  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @12:55AM (#16848598) Homepage
    They are talking about []. I'm not a big fan of brown or generally dark colors on my desktop.

    As for the complaining, I'm a bit perplexed:
    "A prominent factor in much of the submitted artwork -- which is still publicly available -- is the use of visual effects, yet even as the feature freeze approached, there were still unsolved technical problems, such as inconsistency between color palettes. After Shuttleworth announced the rollback, Stroep, Jonathan Austin, and Jozsef Mak reworked the Dapper art packages for consistency, and limited the effects enhancements to a gloss finish."
    That sounds like a legitimate enough problem. Unfinished artwork and effects can make a distro look amateurish.

    Besides, I thought the point of OSS is the flexibility that comes with it? Are these Ubuntu users going to be forced to use it.
  • by wysiwia ( 932559 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:33AM (#16849074) Homepage
    What a achievement, new backgrounds and splash screens! I thought 'Edgy Eft' was meant to try out some new kinds of technology or some new kind of user interactions. I even hoped there might be some provocative design decisions which allows to bring the Linux desktop a footprint forward. Yet backgrounds and splash screens don't improve my working system by a single inch. So what's so edgy on 'Edgy Eft'?

    O. Wyss
  • If you like the screenshots (links posted earlier) for Peace, Tropic, and Blubuntu, then install them through your favorite package manager - they are in the Ubuntu repos.
  • .. and it should come as no surprise than anyone would turn it down.

    What IS disappointing about Edgy Eft is that the release was at first intended to be edgy and risky, because they had the Long Term Support release, Dapper Drake, to suggest to anyone wanting something conservative and stable.

    In the end the only thing edgy in the release was the new event based startup system which isn't yet that visible for the end-user. People can say what they want about 'Edgy Eft' just being a name, but it was fairly cl

APL hackers do it in the quad.