Some thoughts about xubuntu hardy

jmak jozmak at
Wed Nov 7 15:32:01 UTC 2007

On 11/7/07, Vincent <imnotb at> wrote:
> 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

Somebody has to start it and the others will follow in due course.

> >
> > 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 ;-)

Gray is optimal for backgrounds and for accenting artworks. Good for
the eye and enhances the saturation of the essential colors.

> > 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.

Set the color of the label text to white the rollover text to black or
some other color and you don't have this problem; like gnome or the
other desktop environments (it is highly unlikely that someone uses
white background). And anyway, text labels have secondary importance
from the navigational point of view and as such, they are visual
nuisances; you recognize the icons after their shape or color rather
than after the text label. This is a feature that users complained
about on the xfce forum a lot, as a result xfce developers developed a
workaround to solve this shortcoming.

> > 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
> >
> Best,
> --
> Vincent
> --
> xubuntu-devel mailing list
> xubuntu-devel at


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