[ubuntu-art] Getting something done

Kenneth Wimer kwwii at ubuntu.com
Sun Jul 27 03:18:11 BST 2008

Hi all,

I've had my head up a time-zone map for the last couple of days (it went so 
far as to require a new computer). Sorry if it seemed like I was gone, I was 
really there but just acting like a zombie...mockups made in free time this 
weekend coming soon :-)

I'd like to touch on a few issues directly in response to the general 
discussion, not all of which were included in this thread but all of which 
are certainly pertainant to the matter.

I use the word artwork later, it almost hurts me to do so. What we lack, more 
than anything else, is the framework to do something amazing.

The art teams goal is to produce artwork which one can use in ubuntu. 
Basically, this means creating installable debian packages for ubuntu linux 
which include artwork and configuration information to create a distinct look 
and feel based on the technical possibilities/limitations. Usually, in order 
to do this as a team you'll need to do it all with launchpad.net and bazaar 

Because there is a big difference between the various jobs you'll almost 
certainly need to do it by coordinating your efforts with others. To this 
end, the idea of theme teams arose in which the community can bridge the gap 
between proposing random ideas and working as a team(s) on specific 

As stated on the FAQ (http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Artwork/FAQ) the default artwork 
is decided by the Canonical management team. The community can work on new 
ideas for the default artwork but should not expect to make any final 
decisions. Parts of the default artwork currently in Hardy are community 
efforts. Part of my job at Canonical is to be the official voice for the 
company in relation to artwork matters.

As Salane has mentioned, creating coordinated efforts to change parts of the 
default look *is* possible....it is just really, really hard for many 
reasons :-) 

Defining an artistic direction would greatly increase the productivity of 
talented artists, talented artists are what we lack most of, funny how that 
works, eh?

In the meantime an interesting wallpaper idea is probably the best way to 
start, but don't tell anyone I said that, it defies the whole idea of 
artistic direction. Reality meets "the-way-things-should-be".Fight the evil 
spirits and overcome those who defy you (based on a very conservative 
assumption of what is currently technically possible).

Basically, you have to do the same thing as a theme team does, even if only 
for one specific aspect of the current theme. Show your ideas by actuallythe 
producing something.

I would add that you'd also need to accept that radical change is only going 
to happen in the rarest of exceptions and to be willing to listen to 
criticism (whether you agree or not, and more importantly in many cases, 
whether you understand exactly what is meant or not) and act upon it in a 
productive manner.

There is a big difference between random discussion and doing something which 
proves your necessity, skill/talent, willingness to stay on the train for the 
whole ride and serve drinks, whatever. This is the necessary first step.

We've tried for a while now to revive art.ubuntu.com but little has happened, 
it got stuck in code review and is forevermore lost :-) I suggest using 
ubuntu-art.org for general submissions. The person who runs it is a friend of 
mine, so there shouldn't be any problems. We can, as desired, reserve the 
wiki for serious theme team proposals and work in progress.

On Thursday 24 July 2008 20:25:47 Matthew Nuzum wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 1:03 PM, Salane Ashcraft <salane89 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Its just I hear stuff from people who have been here long, but what
> > have they done? Ken himself has said the art team needs to prove
> > itself to be trusted with anything substantial.
> In order for this team to have a success this time around, one person
> needs to take ownership of a project (a theme) and ensure that
> whatever needs to be done in order to get it complete and installable
> gets done.

Right, this has been what we want to achieve for quite some time now. Groups 
of people working towards their own goal(s). Talents from one team benefit 
others, more gets done and it becomes easier for everyone. Get something real 
out there, that is the whole point, or? 

> There are very few people who can create all of the graphical elements
> of a theme AND package it AND get it ready for distribution. But
> that's ok because one person doesn't need to *do* all of that. They
> just need to be tenacious enough to get it done, asking for help where
> necessary. As a matter of fact, the right person may not be able to do
> any of the tasks other than being able to get something done.
> It is a challenge but people on this list have accomplished it. For
> example, "Who" has been very active on the list lately and he is one
> of the people who achieved this goal a few releases ago. And he didn't
> even have PPAs available for his project! As a matter of fact, you can
> benefit from his hard work by starting with the bluebuntu source
> package and using it as the base for your own theme. If in doubt, ask
> for help either here or the MOTUs.

Indeed, I could note a couple of people who have been really helpfull in the 
last couple of years. In respect to the good work they have done I tend to 
value their opinion very much. The nicest thing I learned about this team is 
the fact that you can meet people with whom you totally disagree and still 
work towards something better by expanding each others understanding of 
design, desires, needs, etc.

I hope to see more people working together.

I have offered to help various people with bzr, launchpad, etc. If there are a 
group of people interested, we can make some kind of session out of it.


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