Community response of new ubuntu artwork

Mark Shuttleworth mark at
Wed Oct 13 23:09:58 UTC 2004

Ryan Thiessen wrote:

>actually means.  Will the questions of the community go unanswered, or
>will there be a discussion or debate or at least an post explaining
>the reasons why Ubuntu Warty RC1 is shipping with this artwork?  I
>realize that much of the effort today has been correctly focused on
>the release of RC1, and I don't mean to be a nag... but when an isue
>comes up like this the community concerns really ought to be addressed
>in some way.
>I don't mean to be confrontational, or subtract from the hard work the
>Ubuntu developers have done to put out this great distribution.  Just
>hoping for some sort of discussion or explanation, that's all.
Ryan's hit the nail on the head by asking for community discussion - 
that's exactly what this list is for, and so far I think we've seen a 
very healthy discussion on the topic.

The background to the theme is the idea of "spirit of humanity". Most 
people think of computers as machinery, but today they are far more a 
tool of sharing and communication. My computer is how I keep in touch 
with my family and friends, as much as the place I do my work. It's not 
a cold, plastic thing, it's my connection to the world of the people I 
care about. We were looking for visual ways to communicate that and 
realised that there was no way to do it without showing people. Diverse 
people, of different shapes and sizes, being people. Our logo emphasizes 
the idea of people of different ethnic backgrounds working and playing 
together, so we tried to work that into it. Now, visually, it's very 
hard to put people into computer art. You should SEE some of the early 
mockups. Nonetheless, we pursued this idea with professional artists and 
designers, and the images you see today are the first in a series that 
attempt to encapsulate the theme of warmth, human-ness, diversity, 
sharing, caring and nature.

The models are representative of diverse people (they are, as it 
happens, from three different parts of Africa).

I'm aware the images might be controversial. So is any work of art. This 
forum is where that controversy can be explored and where we can 
ultimately take a view on whether this theme is something that should 
stay part of Ubuntu in future releases.

The Calendar image is exactly that - it will be updated every month with 
a new image. You are able to stick with an image from a particular month 
that you like, or leave it on the Calendar mode to get a new image every 
month. None of the images would be unacceptable on a 60 foot billboard 
in any major western city.

One thing that needs to be clear is that the Calendar image is not the 
default desktop, it worked out that way unexpectedly for those of you 
who had installed a previous release and then upgraded. My sincere 
apologies if that caught anyone off guards, especially if it came at an 
awkward moment. For new users the default desktop is the image with the 
Ubuntu logo on it.

It would be great to see community-contributed themes that also capture 
the ideas we are trying to communicate. There may be a much, much better 
way of doing so. I'm a little nervous to call for contributions for the 
Calendar image :-), but go ahead and publish themes that YOU think 
communicate the "spirit of humanity" clearly and warmly. We'll host a 
repository of those themes in due course, or support one of the 
excellent repositories that already exist, to create a forum for that 
artwork. I know there's great talent amongst our community because I've 
already seen a few contributed themes that were excellent, and may even 
be of sufficient quality to be considered for a future Ubuntu release.


Ubuntu! Building a Desktop OS for the 21st century.

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