Help me correct a bland screen -- screenshots included

Andrew Jarrett jarrett.andrew at
Fri Jun 22 12:29:08 UTC 2007

On 6/22/07, Steven Vollom <stevenvollom at> wrote:
> I just woke and decided to see what is going on in the forum.  It's not
> quite 4am where I am.  Nonetheless, I got to your email and thought 'that
> isn't like my computer'.  If you are talking desktop features, Linux is far
> richer than Microsoft, in my opinion.
> I tried to view the sites you noted, however, both timed out several times,
> so I didn't see them.  Although I am not extremely knowledgeable about
> Linux, being new to the Operating System and using Kubuntu 7.04, I spent a
> lot of time in a System option of the KDE application tree setting
> configuration for all the features for the desktop and came up with a very
> attractive desltop.
> I am not quite sure I understand the language used in Linux, yet, so I not
> may be understanding you, but among the choices I made was a choice for a
> beautiful desktop Background.  Then, I made a hiding toolbar at the top of
> the screen.  Instead of having such a variety of colors of icons randomly
> covering the background, I used a feature that made all the icons of their
> various design variations of white and greys to black.  With several on the
> screen, they uniformly contrast the screen, however having the appearance of
> texture by their differing shapes and designs.  I placed those Icons on a
> transparent background so that all you see is the basic Icon shape against
> your Desktop Background of choice.  It looks great.  I placed the toolbar on
> the top of the screen.  The only time it is visible is when I need
> something.  I place the cursor at the top of the screen and the toolbar
> drops down to give my choices.  I used the Macintosh approach  of having the
> Icons kind of fade in when you place the cursor over an Icon.
> For a working background, I chose the dark blue theme.  Unlike the extreme
> contrast of a black screen with white lettering, mine is dark blue
> background with light blue in contrast in its features.
> I used a light cream color for the buttons and some of the lettering on the
> dark blue background.  The effect is peaceful and not too high energy like
> you would have on a black screen with white letters.  Even when you are
> typing a letter, it is very pleasing and quite attractive; you just have to
> remember that when you print the letter, it will be black letters on a white
> background.
> I used the same dark blue/lighter blue background on my email program.
> However this time, I used a pale peach background for the portion you write
> an email and  blue print.  Actually, I am not finished yet, because, the
> choices are so many using Linux, that sometimes, where links change colors
> or the like, when I use a dark background, all the lettering has to be light
> in color to contrast the background (if a link is a dark color, it won't
> show up against a dark background, so you have to make sure that all print
> is in varying choices of light colors)
> Take a look at  They use the dark background color scheme in a
> similar way.  To me, it is a very rich appearance, unlike the stark white
> dominance of most websites, same with cbs and nbc.
> I have been a fine artist for the past 50+ years, so it makes sense that I
> do such a thing; it also makes sense the the major media outlets use high
> color and more artistic design and use of color for their sites.  However,
> with Microsoft products, the option to create this environment is generally
> only available to someone who knows how to use HTML.
> Wiith Kubuntu, which is the Linux OS that I am using, it is just an unending
> choice of check-boxes and radio keys making the selections that liven up the
> screen.  You just have to contemplate in your mind what the combinations you
> are choosing will look like when you are making your choices, and you want
> to make sure you don't choose a dark, dark blue background with a black
> font, because it is very hard to read without contrast.  Just think about a
> black screen with white contrasting letters.  It is very extreme on your
> eyes.  But then imagine a dark blue backgroun with a pale cream or pale
> peach color for the print.  Can't you see the softer contrast and potential
> beauty, by the combination that you might choose for colors.
> Other choices permit you to design the buttons and other features so that
> they have a three dimentional appearance.  Additionally, you can have these
> buttons change color as you pass the cursor over them. I only go over to my
> XP operating system partition, when I need to something I haven't yet been
> able to do using Linux.  While using the XP OS, I am dominated by the
> feeling of boredom from the appearance and function of the Microsoft
> presence.  I am further troubled by the hundreds of extra mouse clicks I
> have to make to do the things I do.
> For instance, how many times have you ever clicked, 'no, I really don't want
> to make this change'.  Microsoft is continually reminding you that there is
> another choice to what you want to do.  And each time they do that,you have
> to double your mouse-clicks.  DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THAT?  DO YOU REALLY
> DO?  That is what it feels like now.  I can't remember ever being saved by a
> Microsoft warning in a way.  Or, when I open Linux mail and on the screen is
> the last email sent.  I don't have to read a list of emails first if I don't
> want to, then double-click the one I want to read first to get it on the
> screen.  Then click X to get it off the screen and right click, then left
> click to delete it from the Email list of emails then double click on the
> next one I want to read.
> Using Linux the last email received is already on the screen when you open
> the mail.  You can still read the list that came in, if you want to read
> another email first, however, if it doesn't make a difference the order you
> read them, you simple read the one on the screen.  If you don't want to save
> it, you right-click and delete it, and immediately the next in line appears
> on the screen without having to go to the list to open it, and with a
> double-click.  I get to thinking that I am probably going to gain weight by
> not having to click the mouse so much.
> No!  I very much like the much richer look that you can achieve using a
> Linux system, and I love the reduction of the inumerable number of mouse
> clicks thay you don't have to make when using a better organized system.
> Linux developers are always trying to improve the Linux system.  Microsoft
> developers are always trying to stand out among all their competitors while
> complying to the demands of the Microsoft system of computing.  I guess it's
> all right if you don't mind others making up your mind all the time, but in
> Linux, the free part isn't just saving money on programs, which ain't bad,
> it is the freedom to express yourself using your own computer.
> I am sure that being a fine-artist all my life has helped me to make an
> attractive and living desktop, but even if you don't have an artistic sence,
> you probably are still affected by beautiful things.  And if you like the
> opening of ABC.COM, or any other website out there, analyze what you see
> that you like and copy them.  That is the way that most of art is made
> anyway.  There are very few Van Gogh's out there.
> I know this is a very long response, but you wouldn't be reading at this
> point, if at least some of it didn't make sense.  I have only used Linux for
> less than a month, however, already, I know I must learn the Terminal and
> the filing function, because as I do, I find that it is easier, more
> logically assembled, and definately a richer and more beautiful experience
> that anything Microsoft has yet come up with.  Those things you see using
> Microsoft products that you like are usually made by professionals who have
> no affiliation with Microsoft, they are just made Microsoft compatible.
> Haven't you noticed when you enter Synaptic or Adept Manager that you have
> immediate access to over 20,000 programs, few of which are beta.  You
> install them and they work.  It may take you a while to get the right
> combination of programs into your system to have that perfect stability you
> are looking for, however, you rarely have to make serious changes.  Most
> upgrades are not fixing bugs, although that happens when a program is very
> new sometimes, most upgrades are just improvements, just juicy little
> enhancements to make the system even more wonderful.
> Enjoy designing your desktop.
> Steven, fine-artist

Isn't it amazing at how Microsoft's operating systems love to limit
the appearance of the desktop?  How many things can you do to change
the appearance of the desktop? Most users only know how to change the
background and choose between three color schemes (two if you are like
me and think the olive green one is the ugliest thing you've ever
seen).  One of the main appeals that got me to switch to linux was
that it seemed like linux users had all the freedom they wanted to
completely rearrange their desktop.  Although I am not an artist, I
still believe that a computer user should only be limited by
themselves instead of a company when trying to create a beautiful


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