15 December 2010

Second class citizens

Yesterday Fedora Design Team weekly IRC meeting had on its agenda a sketching session about what will become the default wallpaper in Fedora 15, it was supposed to be a new experiment for the team.

Then the bomb dropped: Mo forwarded a "special request" (from the sound of it looks non-negotiable) from the Red Hat Desktop Team: in Fedora 15 the wallpaper in the default spin, the Desktop Live CD, which is under discretionary control of the RHDT, to be the default upstream GNOME 3 wallpaper. The reason: F15 is supposed to be the first distro featuring GNOME 3 and wanting to increase visibility of that feature, it looks to me as a desperate move to pimp GNOME 3 (in the light of Ubuntu ignoring it and going for the competing Unity) and a much awaited dismissal of our team. Also, an insult to the other Fedora spin and a break of the consistency of the user experience. Some people inside Fedora think GNOME branding is more important than the Fedora branding, and they have control of our default image.

To be fair, the proposed wallpaper is made by jimmac, for who's work I have great admiration, and look professionally done, even if a bit bland: a set of vertical blue stripes.

The reactions inside the team ranged (see the log) from outright opposition, to doubts and to surrender to the greater powers. Some brainstorming happened towards a graphic concept that may be an alternative on the default spin and the default on the the [second-class] others.

In the end "we" avoided to draw a conclusion, letting it in suspension, for people to get used to the idea, which later may be showed easily down their throats.

Happy holidays. And bend over.


  1. Nicu already saw this on identica, but here's KDE's stripes.jpg in kdebase-workspace-wallpapers for quite a while, alongside the proposed wallpaper...


  2. Oh great let's start breaking the habit of creating a unique artwork for Fedora that in essence differentiate us from other GNU/Linux distro's out there and is one of the more exiting things that the Fedora user ( The existing user base, you know the ones that Fedora Gnome Desktop team always forgets about while chasing that rainbow of hypothetical *new* users ) awaits for shall we..

    No matter how you look at it this is bad either for us or other distro's that are going to be shipping Gnome 3.

    This is just plain wrong this effectively means every artwork has to be adjusted to the upstream gnome wallpaper like sleeves installer etc. which means that if any other wallpaper is going to be used by any other *DE or spins it would be out of place for them.

    What the Desktop team should be doing is the exact opposite of what's transpiring here as in first and foremost create more generic artwork that every spin, sleeves etc could use.

    btw there is nothing forcing the "Design community/team" ( Community/team != one person ) to follow certain corporates *vision* Just say no this is wrong and team up and seize control.

    Create a SIG for the Design team so no one person and or no one corporate can rule the Design process.

    The already existing user base and the whole internet is behind the Design *team* it's one of the things that all Fedora users and reviewers await eagerly for and talk about with every release so just make your self heard.

    There is no I in team . . .

  3. The RHDT has taken the worst decision ever. I completely agree with you all !

  4. Ok,
    than it's easy - we will switch to default Plasma wallpaper as upstream asked us to spread KDE brand some time ago. But we were defending our - Fedora - identity. If we don't want to spread our brand and our identity... I was happy that we have common wp, one Fedora look and feel, one identity.

    PS: actually current Gnome Shell wp is just a Plasma like one, see Ryan's post ;-)

  5. @mrtom whats worse then RHDT makes bad decision is the people that do nothing about it when they do so..

    @Jaroslav yeah even thou we could have different *DE spins etc they shared same/similar Fedora Identity. ..

  6. RHDT *has* the power to do anything they want: they have direct and total control of our default download.

  7. I'll play the devils advocate here...

    The shell guys are fighting a lot of negative energy from people who don't like change. So obviously the Gnome wants the shell to make the very best first impression they can. There's always the chance the F15 wallpaper could have otherwise turned out to be a real piece of dog poop and cause people to associate that with the shell being ugly.

    Politics aside. I think the gnome 3 stripes (http://git.gnome.org/browse/gnome-themes-standard/plain/themes/Adwaita/backgrounds/stripes.jpg) is a very nice clean default wallpaper. The fact it's blue plays nice with Fedora. Perhaps a compromise could be to insert a fedora branding somewhere discretely but also install the default stripes as an available option.

  8. So, I guess this is maybe the wrong place to come with this idea, but it seems to me that it's a moot point. If we follow one of the other mantras in Fedora, we'd just contribute upstream.

    Why not just make a few wallpapers for GNOME3 (that have the Fedora touch) and submit them to the GNOME foundation as a patch for their new desktop.

    Simple, yet elegant and everyone wins.



  9. because they want 1. that wallpaper to be only on the Fedora GNOME spin, not on the other spins, like install DVD or KDE and 2. because they want to use the default GNOME wallpaper... do you see any distro shipping a Fedora touched wallpaper?

  10. Then join KDE SIG ;-) It's community driven spin but community understands what RH need and we understand what community wants to create the best Fedora and RHEL desktop experience ever!

  11. Maybe it is time to think about a FDeSCo (Design Steering Committee) so that we can avoid such things in the future?

  12. Leif,

    Your confidence in the Fedora Design team's ability to not push out dog poop is underwhelming. Maybe now you understand why Nicu refers to this as:

    "a much awaited dismissal of our team"

  13. All the people who were/are behind the great success of Fedora is either unhappy, or has left. I am not sure how long it would survive it's reputation about having a great community.

  14. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we also were the first distro to ship KDE 4. Why didn't we use the KDE wallpaper then? ;)

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. "Why didn't we use the KDE wallpaper then?". That's a strong point. Did the KDE people request it?
    Its not clear who the real beneficiary is in this case ... Upstream or Gnome. One thing is clear, the request tests the cohesiveness and autonomy of the Community if a refusal should have adverse consequence.

  17. Nicu,

    As a fairly recent team member, I don't know the history behind some of your statements about other fedora groups trying to push out the design team, so maybe there's some context I'm missing?

    I really did not get the impression that this was either an immutable command from on high, or an affront to the design team's prerogative. There were several different implementation ideas discussed in the meeting, and my understanding was that in the end it would be *our* decision.

    Again, maybe I'm missing something? I really don't get the apocalyptic pronouncements...


  18. Hrm, maybe it's time to make Gnome 3 second class citizen in Fedora. I know I'm not the target of gnome shell while I still prefer gnome, but upstream telling us to almost forsake our brand or our flagship spin? And with stripped wallpaper that albeit looking professional looks like from '90s? Sorry, I'm not buying that one. Maybe we should adopt XFCE or LXDE and implement what's missing in there…

  19. I don't see the need for this drama. It seemed clearly a request and I don't see the big deal. It is just a wallpaper and it fits pretty well into the traditional Fedora look and feel. Declaring that it is a desktop team demand just doesn't seem very factual.

  20. @susmit: indeed, many of the old timers are more and more unhappy, if they didn't left already. Fedora is a lot less like the place it used to be.

    @emmychan1: yes, is a long and bloody story, too long to list it here, it started in the Fedora 7 development cycle. If you are sometime in the mood for tales, catch me in a PM.

    @meteher: reading comprehension problems? look again at the IRC log...

  21. That decision from the RHDT sounds like the Canoical kind-of-dictatorship management of Ubuntu.

    Heck, I like Fedora... I don't want to go back to Debian (seems the only one truly community driven distro).

  22. Nicu,

    You are implying and saying things that are just not in the logs at all. So no, I don't have any reading comprehension problems. Just a full disagreement of your perspectives. It is very misleading.

  23. What a f^&*ing ugly wallpaper! I understand the RHDT's decision, but the default wallpaper that they propose SUCKS big time. The idea might be good, but the result is a disaster. Also they might also want to approach the open source community and work towards a better result. If they want to push down the image of Gnome 3, it has to be something else, NOT STRIPES and not a decision that puts aside all the open source community that deserves the right on this operating system and over gnome 3 too. RH benefits from the open source community to embed the work into RE Linux that is the commercial distribution. They should not have any reach within the open source version besides trying to shape something with the community. This sucks! RedHat did a HUGE mistake!

  24. @Anonymous: i come from a different angle, i don't think jimmac's wallpapers is ugly, just plain. i don't even had a problem with stripes (still, would prefer them oblique, not vertical). my main problem is the strategy: Fedora *is* the operating system, not GNOME, GNOME is just a [replaceable] part of the OS.
    and i make the difference from Red Hat and the Red Hat Desktop Team, the later is just a team inside the company playing their little power game.

  25. "my main problem is the strategy: Fedora *is* the operating system"
    You say that like a windows user , because you put together, desktop gui and operating system. Operating system has a self-image. It's the same thing as putting a Windows user to drop the logo. Perhaps many would like.