Artwork Quality (was Re: Sound themes)

Matthias Clasen mclasen at
Wed Oct 29 03:29:09 UTC 2008

On Tue, 2008-10-28 at 20:33 -0400, Mairin Duffy wrote:

> This is the problem - not talking about anything in particular, making 
> very general and vague statements without any specifics.

Well, the quality of artwork to a large extent consists of the general
feeling that it gives the users. Which is a somewhat vague and
unspecific thing, and varies from person to person. It is next to
impossible to identify the one or two specific things that are wrong 
to cause the impression. I'll try anyway: the default Fedora backgrounds
are stuck in an 'abstract, blue' box for a long time now. Jon's timeline
(that you dismissed as 'just screenshots') shows this very nicely. 

> I understand that there are a small number of very vocal desktop team 
> members who do not like the artwork very much. We have known this for 2 
> years now. I have never seen any specific feedback about how the artwork 
> is inappropriate nor any discussion about what audience they would like 
> it to be designed for from these individuals. They seem to be in the 
> minority, 

This I can just not let stand. Mairin. The old us vs. them game again. 
While some desktop team members may be more vocal and harsh in their
critique than others (and, as you pointed out yourself, not native
speakers, this applies in both directions), I can assure you that the
dissatisfaction with some of the Fedora art is not limited to them. 

> Okay. Let's discuss these questions then rather than harping on the fact 
> that 'we may disagree on things and should discuss them':
> - who do you think the audience for Fedora is / should be?
> - what are the problems you see in the Fedora 10 wallpaper with that 
> audience in mind?

Here I guess we come to the core of the problem. To cite the marketing
material you refer to further down:

      * Free and open source software enthusiasts, developers, and

I haven't polled the entire team about it, but I can pretty much
guarantee you that this description is _not_ what we see as the target
audience for the Fedora Desktop.

      * General desktop users

Comes probably much closer to what most Desktop team members have in
mind for their audience (of course, it is too vague to be very useful).

Going back to the second question, and looking at the F10 wallpaper: 
A blue sun ? Who is that supposed to appeal to, apart from the SciFi
audience ? I admit that there is probably a larger overlap between 'open
source enthusiasts' and SciFi fans than between 'general desktop users'
and SciFi fans...

> Our focus right now is on the default wallpapers and other branded bits 
> (firstboot/anaconda/syslinux/various splashes/media and 
> sleeves/banners/etc) and we've never really done anything with the other 
> wallpapers that ship by default. We usually are so busy with the default 
> design that the non-default wallpapers become an afterthought since they 
> are explicitly scheduled or planned, we just take what upstream gives 
> us. For F11, I don't know if you think it's a good idea, we could try to 
> have a focus on the others too and cleaning up some of the cruft that is 
> in our wallpaper packages (there are some really horrible looking 
> wallpaper tiles in one of the packages that the rpm post then deletes, 
> for example.)

Indeed, the focus on the default background to the exclusion of anything
else is very detrimental to the consistency of the background set we
ship. I've mentioned this repeatedly in the past. Again, looking at
Jon's document, it becomes very clear. We are shipping a bunch of
backgrounds basically unchanged since F1. We are shipping a slowly
changing set of upstream backgrounds. And we are shipping the default
background, which is always abstract and blue.

I look forward to continue this discussion with you, but please leave
out the talk about chainsaws in the future. It makes me feel uneasy.


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