14 July 2009

Wallpapers, contests, infrastructure, freedom

I see people in the Fedora community looking up to the Ubuntu way: short sighted, taking convenience over freedom, like the karmic wallpaper contest which is held at flickr and wonder how they ended contributing to Fedora (well, this is rhetorics, I know how, is all about the money).

As opposed, we at the Design Team are playing these days with something that was on the wish list for over a year: a self-hosted test instance of Gallery2, exploring some ways to get the larger community in submitting graphic work, instant feedback and a better collaboration platform, all this while keeping the freedom.

Is too soon to say more about that, as we are in the early stages, but we are trying a new and more inclusive approach for wallpapers in Fedora 12: instead of just one default which you may or may not like, provide a default and an additional set, from where you have a better change to find something to your liking. And to make everyone really happy, the plan is to have both collaboration and a kind of contest.

On a sideline, I can't stop thinking about the Microsoft-Yahoo negotiations, which are going in secret these days, may get to a conclusion and suddenly have the graphics for your favorite Linux distro hosted by a Microsoft service. That would be funny!

Note1: if know why using flickr is a better option for Canonical's business model, is all about marketing and flickr offers the best marketing exposure. It also works for the targeted submitters, who are not long time contributors, but independent artists with an one-shot try to enrich their portfolio.

Note2: a good deal of the images in the flickr pool are useless, without paying a "pro" account, you can't upload images at an usable resolution, only previews (the limit it at 1024 pixels).

Note3: we are not flickr haters, we have our own group, but that is not used for anything mission-critical.


  1. Eh, I personaly think that spreading out to flickr is a good idea. Maybe the contest should be held on deviantart also.
    One of the reasons why I think its a good idea is that Canonical's art team posted guidlines on the wiki page a couple of releases in a row urging artists not to use the releases mascot or the ubuntu logo/ release number in the artwork for various reasons I wont go into here.
    Unfortunately even though the guidlines are a few paragraphs most do not read them.
    If you look at the current proposals on the wiki page you will see that the problem persists with the latest release.
    Also, thus far there have been a higher amount of submisions due to the inclusion of flickr as a medium to contribute.
    More submisions means more competition and that is a good thing.
    The submisions have also been more diverse this time which is also a good thing.
    And lastly, when it comes to wallpaper submision I dont think that the current wiki medium is the best approach to take to aggregating them.
    Wiki's are a bit long in the tooth to edit, someone which creates gtk themes might not have a problem taking the time to add to a wiki but an artist or photographer might not be so patient.
    All in all i think this is a good move, its an approach you wouldnt see a propietary company like microsoft or apple use as they would most likely refuse to leave their own mediums if it came down to it. But your anylisis of whats happening is a good one as it has brought up the question of why do we need to streatch out to other mediums and whether we can make the current medium more appealing. This problem of ui design on the web is a problem which both ubuntu and gnome could use some work on, at leat from the contribution side. Depending too much on wiki's in my opinion is a bad idea.

  2. @Tretle: who said anything about using wikis to store photos? We at Fedora Design are struggling to move away from wiki for the task and trying two approaches: ssh in a shared storage pool and Gallery2.

    Shared storage is better for geeks at it will allow having SVG, GIMP sources, Scribus sources and more and the gallery is better for having a short learning curve for newbies.