[ubuntu-art] Sound Gallery

Dylan McCall dylanmccall at gmail.com
Fri May 20 03:38:19 UTC 2011

Yesterday, I was grumbling about how nothing has really happened for
sound themes in Ubuntu. We have one very nice system that is pretty
well the same as icons (and gentler because there aren't a million
different names for the same sounds and you can omit sounds without
breaking things) but nobody's using it. I could grumble more loudly
about how disappointing that is, but it won't solve much. There are
two particular problems I think we can address:

1: It is difficult to find sound themes.
2: It is difficult to install sound themes.

And those both feed into the problem that there are no sound themes,
so nobody thinks to make more.

I think icons and widget themes have been successful because of
services like Gnome Look and deviantART, which make it really easy to
browse through the choices and promote the good ones. Those two are
very visual, though, so not as useful for sounds. In addition, I'm
thinking about sound _themes_. There are lots of packages of
individual sounds (as would be useful with Gnome Sound Preferences
four years ago), but for this to be useful we need actual installable
theme packages.

I'm playing with a solution for problem 1, and from there I'm hoping
problem 2 will solve itself at some point. (If widget / icon / sound
theme archives had their own file extension it would already be


That's my prototype of a little (but, as I learned looking at my clock
at 1AM yesterday, not _that_ little) gallery service for sound themes
that work in Ubuntu. It would be curated because I would like to
encourage consistency in how these things are packaged and because
free-for-all user submissions are hard.
I threw this together because it felt like an interesting exercise,
and I'm hoping I didn't get too carried away :) The site is focused on
sound and _depends_ on Javascript with a very new web browser like
Firefox 4 (maybe 3.6).

As far as I can tell, there are maybe three sound themes out there so
this is pretty simple so far (ergo, it's hosted on static html pages
as an experiment). I don't intend to add comments at any point because
that opens a whole can of worms I don't want to think about, but +/-
ratings might be useful in the real thing. I want a way to submit and
manage sound themes, so I'll start that off with an email link and
make an actual system for it at a later date. I only really want to
add features as they become necessary, since this could easily go
nowhere. (Besides, any server-side stuff means buying web space that
supports Django or convincing a kind soul to host it). I'm also
uncertain about the name, since it implies some level of officialness
that is not present (this being a spur of the moment thing).

Still, those caveets aside, I'm wondering about everyone else's
thoughts on sound themes in general and my mutant side-project here.


PS: It doubles as a musical instrument, and it will be an even better
one with more sound themes / a fast web host / sound samples
compressed on the server ;)

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