Artwork proposals for xubuntu 8.10

jmak jozmak at
Thu Jul 3 02:45:59 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Jonathan Carter <jonathan at> wrote:
> Hi jmak
> jmak wrote:
>> 1) Create a brand new gtk theme. For the time being, I am suggesting
>> the use of Unity. The theme has been created by Cimi, a gnome
>> developer; it is fast and bug free. The theme has a nice gray tone to
>> it. Easy on the eye and contemporary in appearance. It harmonizes
>> with any color schemes. As a bonus, it is already included in the
>> universe repository as a part of the gnome extras package. Cimi will
>> release a brand new murrina engine and a range of new themes in
>> August. We can take a look at these themes when they will be available
>> and we can decide  about their use.
> Unity looks ok, but it does have one usability bug though, you can't
> easily differentiate between active and inactive windows. The only way
> you can really tell currently is by looking at the control buttons,
> which are filled in on the active window but not on the inactive
> windows. I think it's important to keep usability good, even when making
> things look really good.

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for the offer.
I am aware of unity's usability shortcoming you mentioned, but in my
view, it is not a major issue; in addition to the buttons you
mentioned the inactive window also grays out the title of the window
that is quite noticeable. I have been using unity on both xubuntu and
ubuntu for some time and quite satisfied with it. I am advocating this
theme because it has a nice flat look that is trendy and modern and
more in line with the other ubuntu flavors. Unity is still not as good
as the new kde 4 theme, in suse for instance, but this is  one of the
best, I could find that is already ready-made, well tested and bug
free. If we find a more suitable one later we can still replace it.
But for the time being, I recommend using this.

>> 2) Replace the Tango icons to a more modern and visually appealing
>> theme. I have created a new wiki page for visual ideas. If you have
>> any suggestion for icons or any other idea please indicate it on the
>> wiki; this way all ideas will be in one place for easier review. The
>> address is:
> I like those echo icons a lot!

Unfortunatly, echo has a yellow folder icon (the most visible icon)
that is not as good as the rest of the icons. I would prefer a
livelier blue icon theme something like crashbit or oxy-gnome.

>> 3) Make sure that the fine details of the desktop is taken care of.
>> This is something, I have been advocating for many years but always
>> ignored. The details may include theming the panel, improving the
>> icons' appearances on the panel or getting rid of the visual noises
>> (for instance, the label backgrounds).
> Anything I can do to help? Would it help if I played around with some
> mock-ups of what you have mentioned here?

Sure. You can install the unity theme with the Katiola window
decorator, that provides a very similar effect like unity metacity
theme. You can insert these two scripts into your .gtkrc-2.0 file to
see if everything works ok. Play around with the icons to see how they
work. Any feedback is appreciated.

style "xfdesktop-icon-view" {
XfdesktopIconView::label-alpha = 0

base[NORMAL] = "#00ff00"
base[SELECTED] = "#5050ff"
base[ACTIVE] = "#0000ff"

fg[NORMAL] = "#ffffff"
fg[SELECTED] = "#ff0000"
fg[ACTIVE] = "#ff0000"
widget_class "*XfdesktopIconView*" style "xfdesktop-icon-view"

style "panel"
  bg[NORMAL] = "#d6d6d6"
xthickness = 0
ythickness = 0

widget_class "*Panel*"      style "panel"
widget "*Panel*"            style "panel"
class "*Panel*"             style "panel"

>> 4) New Usplash and throbber. The current one (the throbber) is nothing
>> less than atrocious (borrowed from Ubuntu), it made the Usplash look
>> like an ugly patchwork; this needs to be tackled. Lets keep in mind
>> that the Usplash is not there only to inform or entertain, but also to
>> function as a branding image; this is what the user sees at each boot
>> up-- it supposed to burn the brand image in the mind of the user.
> *nod*
>> 5) New gdm theme. We had problems finding the correct size of the
>> login box for hardy. Maybe someone can help me figuring out why the
>> size of the box appears inconsistent at different installations.
> I'll be happy to look into this, I've done some GDM theme work before,
> and I really want to get involved with Xubuntu.

Soon, I am going to make a new gdm artwork for testing to see that the
previously experienced sizing problem still persists. Help is much
appreciated with this.

>> 6) Wallpaper. I am thinking about some darker wallpaper this time
>> (dark blue or even black?) to create a more dynamic look and feel and
>> prevent the desktop from turning into an all too monochromatic
>> experience.
> It seems that the first thing a user usually judges a release by is the
> default wallpaper! What do you mean by 'dynamic'?

What I meant is to increase the contrast (by darkening the background)
between the wallpaper and the theme and the icons in order to avoid
ending up with an all too monochromatic look and feel of the desktop.

> -Jonathan
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