Sound themes

William Jon McCann william.jon.mccann at
Thu Oct 23 17:34:21 UTC 2008

Hi Nicu,

On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 2:41 AM, Nicu Buculei <nicu_fedora at> wrote:
> Maybe you saw Lennarts' call for XDG sound themes:
> I am afraid we may have driven away Chris with the lack of feedback when he
> tried to create one:
> Also, with the Echo experience fresh in mind, I wonder if we create a new
> set only to get it called a "charade" and "if you think what you're doing is
> 'value add' that makes Fedora look better than the 'competition' you are
> wrong".

However well intentioned Chris' effort may have been, the results are
not suitable for use in a high quality desktop product.  Have you
actually listened to the theme that you reference here?  There is
absolutely nothing wrong with creating lots of fun and creative
themes.  This is exactly what Lennart and I would like to see happen.
However, at some point we have to discriminate between what is play
and what is the right choice for our product and intended audience.

This is the same problem that some of us have with the way the icon
theme and background art work has been handled in Fedora.  I
personally love to see lots of energy and experimentation going on.
But at the end of the day we have to be concerned about our audience
and how everything integrates into a coherent product.

It is not often fun to be told that your work is not good enough or
inappropriate.  However, that is a very essential part of how a
meritocracy works.  And it is an essential part of how human
development works.  You simply can't grow without it.  In this aspect,
art design is no different from software design.

You would be right to point out here that we don't all agree on what
our audience is and what our product should feel like.  That is indeed
a serious problem.

Another problem is how you define who the judges are.  Do you try to
poll your audience? (requires you to clearly define the audience) Do
you trust your peers?  (must define peers)  Do you trust the
critics/experts?  It is a tough problem.  But it always goes back to
audience.  Otherwise you may create something that is beautiful,
complete, and wrong.

I think that the desktop wallpapers we've used by default are a good
example of this:

Switching gears slightly.  When resources are limited, fragmentation
often results in inconsistency.  Or, when the problem space is too
large or unbounded the best we can do is to define standards.  For
desktop apps we have the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines.  For icon
themes we have the Tango guidelines, and the upcoming Mango
guidelines.  Widget themes are slightly different because the problem
is basically bounded - there are only so many widgets to theme.

So, back to sound themes.  I am maintaining the default freedesktop
sound theme.  It is very new, incomplete, and definitely a bit rough.
If anyone has any high quality sounds that meet the guidelines listed
in the README please let me know.

One thing that we need to stop right now is the "us" versus "them"
mentality.  I've heard that there is a long and sorted history between
the Fedora art and desktop groups.  Frankly, I don't know or care
about any of that.  It is all in the past.  We need to focus on
creating the right product for the right people and making it feel
beautiful.  Let's do it.


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