Some thoughts about xubuntu hardy

Vincent imnotb at
Wed Nov 7 10:14:19 UTC 2007

On 06/11/2007, jmak <jozmak at> wrote:
> Hello all,
> <snip>
> In this spirit of radicalness let me propose a few ideas relating to
> xubuntu next release. The most radical among these  would be the
> suggestion of changing the current gnome layout back to the original
> xfce layout. This is why. The two panels layout is a usability
> disaster for older machines with small monitor size. It doesn't
> optimize but rather restricts the availability of valuable
> screen-space. The two oversized panels simply takes up too much
> precious screen estate that users of older computers would like to
> utilize to the fullest. Furthermore, copying the gnome layout prevents
> xubuntu to develop a healthy personality, which is a fundamental
> requirement for a brand. It is like in real life, you are original
> when you are yourself, as soon as you try to imitate someone else you
> become a fake. In addition, the traditional layout is much more
> pleasing, but this is a matter of preference. It is my experience that
> new users, when they have choices, always prefer the traditional
> layout to the gnome mimic.

>From a usability point of view this is a disaster. Well, not a disaster, but
not optimal too. The screen corners are the areas that are clicked most
easily, so not placing anything there is terrible. A panel ought to be full
width to at least be able to put e.g. the applications menu and a "Show
desktop" button in the corners. I could agree with the top panel being
removed because then you use the hot corner in the top right-hand side for
the close button of windows, but a panel that is not full width is terrible.
Furthermore, IMHO it looks weird, when you have a window open to be able to
view the desktop.

I do really think that, even if the panels were to be kept, they should be
decreased in size. 34px is *way* too large. I think 26px would be fine,
perhaps a bit larger to be safe.

Also, I don't think we should change it "just to be different". This layout
has been researched, thought has been put into it, and it's not just
something pretty, it's something that's useful. I mean, the whole WIMP
concept is something other OS's use, so should we abandon it to keep
Xubuntu's own identity? Of course not, it's what users are used to and what
many like. Personally, I have not seen that many Xubuntu screenshots where
the panel layout was customized, even though the makers of those screenshots
did customize their machine - e.g. decrease the panel size, change GTK
theme, etc.

> Notice the themed panel. It is medium gray, from the usability point
> of view make more sense than using the contrasty white. It provides a
> more appropriate background for the application launchers.

Gray *is* considered ugly by most people, but on the other hand, what you
did with Gutsy was awesome, so I'll trust you one this one ;-)

As the ubuntu people said, Hardy would be all about polish and usability.
> In the spirit of the above, I am proposing the following items to be
> considered for xubuntu Hardy. Some of the proposals require subtle
> fine-tunings but they are necessary to develop a consistent and
> polished look and feel.
> The list.
> 1) Let's go back to the original xfce panel layout.

See my comments above.

2) Let's theme the panel

How are they not now?

3) Add new icon theme-NuoveXT, the one we already agreed upon during
> feisty phase.

Yeah, it's time that gets in ;-)

4) Take out the icon label backgrounds. They are distracting and are
> usability anomalies. And ugly too.

The problem with that would be that the labels might become unreadable once
a user customizes his background. This is a problem because there is no easy
graphical way to bring back the icon label backgrounds and to set its
colour, and since Linux is also for a big part about customizability, users
*will* want to change at least their desktop backgrounds.

5) New gdm.

Sure :)

6) New usplash--let see how is the new usplash re-write program will
> affect the artworks' parameters.

/me hopes it will make the boot more unified, without flashing.

7) New wallpaper

Cool :)

8) Keep the current murrina theme for the time being; however, if the
> ubuntu people come up with better ones we might consider switching.
> Look at some of the ubuntu proposals below, they are really great.

The current one has received many positive comments. The Ubuntu proposals
may be cool, but I think this affects "Xubuntu's own identity" much more
than the panel layout.

9) Customize the Gimp splash screen like ubuntu developers are
> planning. I already suggested this a couple of releases ago but then
> it was ignored. I still have the artwork, which can be implemented
> now.

It wasn't ignored, it's just not possible since we use the same package as
Ubuntu so we have to use their splash.

> <snip>
> jmak


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the xubuntu-devel mailing list