Vincent mailinglists at
Sun Aug 3 10:02:56 UTC 2008

On Sun, Aug 3, 2008 at 2:28 AM, jmak <jozmak at> wrote:

> On Sat, Aug 2, 2008 at 5:33 PM, Jari Rahkonen <jari.rahkonen at>
> wrote:
> > jmak kirjoitti:
> >> On Sat, Aug 2, 2008 at 3:01 PM, Vincent <mailinglists at> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> On Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 7:38 PM, jmak <jozmak at> wrote:
> >>>> Hello all,
> >>>>
> >>>> Please read this article.
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>  I have been advocating something similar since day one, but always
> >>>> ignored. We need to pay more attention to xubuntu's aesthetics.
> >>> The gist of that article as I see it is that not too many people should
> be
> >>> working on Ubuntu's artwok - and those who do, should be good at it.
> What
> >>> kind of reply do you expect here?
> >>>
> >>
> >> Vincent,
> >>
> >> I posted this link to draw attention to the visual features that
> >> should be given more priority in xubuntu.
> >> One component doesn't make the desktop "pretty" (like many people
> >> mistakenly believe, for instance wallpaper) but all the components
> >> (usplash, gdm, theme, icons, panel, fonts) together. Like in the
> >> symphony, every instruments have to work, in accord with each other
> >>
> >> Yes, after so many years, they start realizing that the programmers
> >> paradigm doesn't work in art (that everyone does a bit and at the end
> >> put all the bits and pieces together). This method produces a horrible
> >> patchwork.
> >>
> >> jmak
> >>
> >
> > I don't think this is anything new or that no-one has realised this
> > before. The fact of the matter is that there simply aren't enough
> > talented volunteer artists around with the required expertise,
> > motivation and time to work on our beloved open source projects and
> distros.
> Hi Jari,
> Good that you replied because I felt all along that my message didn't
> go through due to my saying things too politely. So it is time to say
> them a bit more bluntly so that the message is understood
> unequivocally.
> Your take on the issue is off here. It is true that not many serious
> designers around but this is not due to the fact that there is not
> enough interested designers; I myself met with many on the art mailing
> list; but when they figure the way Ubuntu people handle visual matters
> they quickly depart. The fact of the matter is that the sorry state of
> Ubuntu is due to the fact that incompetent, visually illiterate people
> decide on aesthetic matters. Imagine, you are a programmer, and
> someone who thinks that  C++ an exotic sandwich from the Caribbeans
> gives you instructions of coding. Something has been happening at
> Ubuntu. I spent more less two decades working on various design field
> but if I have ever come up with such a visual hodgepodge like the
> Ubuntu interface, I would have fired at the second day. This is the
> said truth about Ubuntu; these are conditions that actually
> discouraging artist to joining to the bandwagon.
> But there are more to this. In general, Ubuntu people do not
> understand one thing. Collaboration in art and design DOESN"T WORK; at
> least not in the way it does in coding. A portrait cannot be drawn by
> many artists even if these artists are geniuses. Why? Because each has
> its inherent style that manifests regardless of the intentions.
> Drawing a collaborative portrait would end up in a Frankenstein. The
> same is true of design. Drawing on my experiences, I can say this. So
> far, I haven't heard better collaboration method than the studio
> paradigm. In this context, the customer and the art director hammer
> out all the niceties of the design and when it does go down to
> production all the details are already decided upon; after that
> graphic artists simply follow the guidelines and work out the details.
>  This way the unity and the coherence of the design can be maintained,
> of course its quality depends on the original idea and the its
> execution. A unified and coherent design, even if not as brilliant in
> its details, is better then a patchwork with superior items.
> > So as I see it, it's all a matter of resources, or more specifically the
> > lack of them. Not that it's a wonder that open source projects attract
> > more coders and users than let's say graphical artists or sound
> > designers. This is evidenced by the fact that to my knowledge you are
> > and have been the only active artist in the Xubuntu team for quite a
> > while. It's certainly not because artists are actively discouraged from
> > joining the team.
> Jari, this is not the matter of lack of resources but the proper
> understanding of the issues involved. But now, lets talk about
> xubuntu. Xubuntu development suffers from the exact same shortcomings
> as Ubuntu does. Decisions are made by those who have no understanding
> about design issues. You are here long enough and probably remember
> that I have been advocating changes in xubuntu since almost day one.
> And what happened? up until now almost all of my recommendations have
> been ignored. I suggested, replacing the icon theme, cleaning up the
> icons, improving the icons on the panel, changing  the gtk theme,
> theming the panel and so on and guess what, all of them ignored. Plain
> and simple without even giving indication why. This is what
> frustrating and not the lack of resources.

This still sounds like a problem with a lack of resources to me. Someone has
to create and package the new icons and the panel theme, package the icon
theme and gtk theme - who's supposed to do that? If I knew how to package
I'd gladly be of help, as artwork is something I do care about, but
unfortunately I don't know how to package. And even if I could, there still
isn't a panel theme I could package since nobody has created one.

> >
> > I understand that this can make you frustrated, and that you feel the
> > need to draw attention to the matter, but I can't see how this helps in
> > any way. You have pointed out problems and vague sketches of an optimal
> > situation, but no way to get there from here. Solutions and the
> > resources to implement them are what Xubuntu needs, not stating the
> obvious.
> >
> > I (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) would love to help you realise
> > your vision to it's full extent, if only I had the time and the talent.
> > Unless you can find someone who does, I have to say that this discussion
> > is a bit pointless. But please do not let your frustration stop you from
> > working on Xubuntu, as I'm sure the recent attention garnered by open
> > source graphical tools like Inkscape and the Gimp will eventually bring
> > more artistic talent to communities like this. There is certainly hope
> > of a brighter future on this front.
> If the items, I listed above could be implemented that would be a big
> step toward solution. When I asked help, a few days ago, about
> usplash, it was not about creating graphics but about helping figuring
> out the code that perhaps could be modified in order to fix the
> progress bar issue.
> Again, this is not the lack of resources but the lack of vision and
> understanding that retards visual development. Look at dreamlinux, I
> far as I know, one developer and a graphic artist have been working on
> it; and in terms of visuals, it is one of the more professionally
> designed Linux distro. It worth to download it just to take a look at
> it. Every little details from the progress bar to the panel, the gtk
> theme, icons are  fine-tuned to achieve that kind of unified desktop I
> am talking about in relation to xubuntu. Maybe you don't like it
> because you have a different taste, but here we don't talk about
> personal preferences like children but about the particularities of a
> well designed desktop.
> Let's hope that putting things a bit more bluntly, the issue I am
> talking about has become a bit clearer for everybody.
> jmak

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