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Ubuntu Gets a New Visual Identity 683

buntcake writes "Canonical has launched a new visual identity for the Ubuntu Linux distribution. Ubuntu is shedding its previous brown look and adopting a more professional color scheme with purple and orange. The colors will be used in a new GNOME theme and boot splash for Ubuntu 10.04. According to updated design documents that were published in the Ubuntu wiki, 'light' is the underlying concept behind the new visual identity. It displaces the 'human' concept that has been part of Ubuntu's theming and brand vernacular for the past five years. Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon has posted a screenshot and additional information."
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Ubuntu Gets a New Visual Identity

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  • Dear Ubuntu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pinkj ( 521155 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:03PM (#31353456)
    Don't change all the time like Windows seems to do. Be yourself and we'll accept you. Rebranding almost never helps. Consistency does.
  • by JustinFreid ( 1723716 ) <> on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:05PM (#31353468) Homepage

    Is professionalism a virtue? I like the notion of Ubuntu as being warm and fuzzy, especially with the adjective+animal names for the releases.

  • Anonymous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:06PM (#31353472)

    Does anyone actually ever use the default Ubuntu theme? I know whenever I install Gnome the first thing I do is set it to clearlooks.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:07PM (#31353504)

    Amen !!

    Consistent quality is MUCH more important than eye candy !!

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverHatHacker ( 1381259 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:08PM (#31353506)
    As sentimental as that is, for the last five years I've heard nothing but complaints about the color scheme. No one accepts others for who they are unless they already like who they are.
  • by meow27 ( 1526173 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:08PM (#31353514)
    now im going to have to spend extra time getting the window tools to the right side of the window?
    ugh this blows

    cmon everyone knows the left side is the wrong one![/pun]

      in other news they really should be using the technix theme. it could use some tweaking with the font colors, but other than that, its excellent imho
  • About Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by honkycat ( 249849 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:11PM (#31353548) Homepage Journal

    This is long overdue. The brown theme was a major turnoff for me. It seems silly, I know, but the first impression is an important one. This was at least part of the reason I preferred Kubuntu. The quick screenshot looks a lot better to me.

    And yes, of course you can change the colors, but there's a lot of value of a nice out-of-the-box experience. Developing your own color scheme is trickier than you'd think to get "right."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:12PM (#31353558)

    Don't like that the Window control buttons (maximize, close, etc.) are moved to the top left of the window, instead of the top right where they used to be.

    1. I'm used to them being on the right in both current Ubuntu and Windows. I know Mac has them on the left, but I never liked that.
    2. If the window is partially dragged off-screen, I can click either the X on the right side, or File -> Close on the left side. With both being on one side, I need to or drag the window back (if it works, which often doesn't if its dragged so much to the extreme that it's hard to grab the title bar with your mouse).

    I know the problem usually has trivial workarounds (such as a keyboard shortcut to close), but meh. Why not leave it the way it worked before.

  • by FallinWithStyle ( 1474217 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:13PM (#31353568)
    I agree. The biggest problem I have with the default theme in the pictures, though, is the movement of the window-control buttons from right to left.
  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:18PM (#31353602)

    You might have heard nothing but complaints about the color scheme because the theme is UNPOPULAR.

    Sometimes it's just that simple - the majority of people find the shit-stained brownness of Ubuntu uninviting. So Canonical are trying something different, for better or worse.

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:20PM (#31353614) Journal

    "Purple and orange" is a professional color scheme?

    I don't even know what color tie goes with a blue shirt, but even I know that's awful.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:20PM (#31353616)

    I don't care so much about the color scheme as the general UI. Windows has come a long way since 2002. Gnome hasn't.

    Not complaining... the Windows guys get more money. But still... competition is competition, and money or not, Gnome isn't competing with Windows 7 like it could with Windows XP.

  • by dtbw ( 716889 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:25PM (#31353664)
    I would be happier if things like mounting digital cameras worked consistently from one release to the next without scouring the web looking for the latest hoop to jump through. Yes I can find the answer and make it work but a lot of potential converts will give up and pop the Windows 7 install disk in.
  • New theme (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ianare ( 1132971 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:33PM (#31353728)

    Ubuntu gets a new theme and ./ STILL uses the Debian icon?

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linhares ( 1241614 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:34PM (#31353734)
    PERHAPS because you actually know how to change it? Fine with me; but all these folks saying that it's a great visual really want to keep as away from the masses as possible. AND the effing irony is that there an immense amount of actually good artwork done by the community, and Canonical just ignores it. Mod me flamebait if you will, but the most popular linux distro seriously looks like its "Made for losers".
  • Re:About Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:34PM (#31353746)

    Around here it is known as the "fisher-price" interface.

  • Bubblegum fudge (Score:2, Insightful)

    by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:35PM (#31353752)

    I wish they'd stay focused on usability and 'ergonomic' issues, and not waste time on colors and wallpapers and other bubblegum that half of the user base will be guaranteed not to like anyway. I'm not picking on Ubuntu; this criticism certainly applies to Windows and other OSs and Linux distros, too. Too much time wasted on fluff that doesn't matter much.

  • Re:About Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:35PM (#31353754) Journal

    Guess what, it's still brown. Just a different shade of it. Oh, but the default wallpaper is now whitish-purple. How exciting!

    And just so it helps your aunt Tilly switch from XP, it also tucks those window close/restore/minimize buttons to the left. "Oh, great, like OS X!", I hear you thinking? Well, no, not really - to prevent further confusion, the buttons are still in the same relative order as on Windows (that is, Close is rightmost, not leftmost). I imagine it is done for the sake of fairness, so that users moving from either platform are in for a pleasant surprise.

    It's truly going to be a top-notch out-of-the-box experience, I'm sure.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linhares ( 1241614 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:40PM (#31353802)
    The ironic thing is that Mint and some other distros would go the way of the Dodo if only canonical actually stood down from their pedestal and listened to, hmm, basically everybody in the linux world?
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack ( 1011407 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:45PM (#31353846) Homepage

    They've moved the window frame buttons to a place that's counter-intuitive for most people but they've also cocked that up in a way that doesn't even make sense for people used to OSX (the buttons are still laid out in the same order as if right-aligned). So now you've got buttons in places nobody is used to, the X button no longer benefits from the 'infinite-dimension' effect of being in a corner, and plus you've got the window frame buttons directly above the menubar - instantly making 10% of attempts to open the Edit menu into accidental window closes. I guess they never stopped to think why most WMs have them on the right and OSX has them on the left.


  • Re:Dated? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @10:52PM (#31353890)
    I don't know. MacOSX feels like a dated MacOSX to me. I was shocked when I recently got a Mac, and found how inconsistent the UI was, and simple things like being able to drag a window larger can only be done by grabbing the lower right corner. I thought I was done with that kind of limitation when I gave up my beloved Amiga.
  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @11:02PM (#31353966)

    KDE doesn't look/behave like Windows either.

    Agreed that you can choose the UI, but when there's not much to choose from... I guess I would have to write my own. But I'd rather pay Microsoft a couple hundred instead of doing that.

    I like Linux. I'm on the LFS list. Been through most of the distros over the years. But I give credit where it is due... Microsoft has an edge in the UI world. Apple had an edge over Microsoft for years (not as much any more). Personally... I think the Ubuntu Netbook Remix UI is the direction of the future that could take it past both Microsoft and Apple.

  • by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @11:09PM (#31354012) Journal
    Never mind the use of 'professional orange and purple'. From TFA:

    "We're drawn to Light because it denotes both warmth and clarity, and intrigued by the idea that 'light' is a good value in software. Good software is 'light' in the sense that it uses your resources efficiently, runs quickly, and can easily be reshaped as needed," the design documentation says. "Visually, light is beautiful, light is ethereal, light brings clarity and comfort."

    Why do "design documents" always have to be so banal? I mean, "visually, light is beautiful"?!!? Seriously?

  • by piripiri ( 1476949 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @11:13PM (#31354044) Journal
    It's called Kubuntu.
  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @11:13PM (#31354048)

    If you're marked flamebait, it's because Slashdotters do not understand the concept of a "good first impression".

    Image is everything these days, and it's human nature so people need to understand that if they wonder why Ubuntu is continually criticized so much for its default theme. Doesn't matter that it can be changed; default matter. The default theme becomes an iconic part of the OS (whenever people think XP they always think of the blue Luna theme for example). Having said that, we might find the blue Luna theme ugly but evidently most people didn't mind the default, so Microsoft didn't do that badly in the theme stakes.

  • by Kintalis ( 592836 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @11:31PM (#31354126)

    Just a nit-pick: I think the 'infinite-dimension' effect of corners you mention only applies to the corners of the screen, not to the corners of windows. The idea is that corners are very easy targets to hit with the mouse pointer because the pointer is constrained within the edges of the screen. Unless the mouse pointer is constrained to stay within the bounds of the window, there's no 'infinite-dimension' effect in this case.

    I agree with your other points about familiarity and misclicks though. I personally think the color scheme is an improvement, but usability is very different from aesthetics.

    Happy to see them at least trying to improve though. Hopefully they'll see reason and put the close button in the corner, at least. :)

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pjbgravely ( 751384 ) <pjbgravely2@gmai ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @11:40PM (#31354170) Homepage Journal
    Of course don't forget everyone is different. One of the things that I liked about Ubuntu when it first came out was the pleasant brown theme. Lately the default theme is too bright for me so I use dark room now.

    When ever I use a desktop environment with a blue theme I cringe. It must remind me of the first GUI OS I used, Microsoft windows 98.
  • Re:Still brown... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icannotthinkofaname ( 1480543 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @12:35AM (#31354480) Journal

    Oh, wow, I didn't notice that the first time I went over the images.

    Also, I saw this image [], and I was briefly confused when I saw that oblique image of the screen. For a minute, I thought there was a picture of a Mac with this wallpaper [] for some reason.

    I hope I don't boot up the liveCD to find a dock replacing the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Ubuntu (or I guess GNOME) should be creating its own look, not ripping off of Microsoft and Apple.

  • by kjart ( 941720 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @12:37AM (#31354492)

    So, your first point is that the right corner is way out of the way compared to where you are most often clicking (menus) and the second point is you are always clicking in that corner? In any case, I'd think the far more common missclick would be someone hitting the window controls if they were right above the menus.

    Also, in case you didn't know, you can resize the window from any corner - though I must say that I don't think I've ever seen anyone resize with that corner. Seems like the kind of nonsense someone who likes window controls in the top left would do.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @12:51AM (#31354578) Homepage

    Those are actually functions that X window managers had for decades. They ended up being removed from the default Gnome configuration because Windows users complained about them.

    Now, that Microsoft itself had approved 20 years of X window managers' development, can we put them back into default configuration, or will you just start complaining about some other superior interface feature?

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @01:08AM (#31354664) Journal

    I think the parent is just trolling, but nonetheless, one tip that some people might find useful.

    In my experience, the single most annoying thing in 7 is when you have more than one instance of the same application open, and they all combine in a single icon on taskbar, so now it looks like you need two clicks to get there from another app (one on the combined icon to display the window selector, second one on the window you want).

    This is further exacerbated by new applications which put their tabs in there as well - e.g. IE8, new Opera. Where before, if you wanted to e.g. switch back to the tab you were reading with Opera, you'd just have to click its icon on the taskbar, in new version you again need two clicks.

    The trick is that you can Ctrl+click on a taskbar icon to select the last active window/tab in that group. Finally, sanity restored.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:2, Insightful)

    by curveclimber ( 17352 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @01:12AM (#31354680)

    I like the earth tones. So now all you people bitching makes them change it to PURPLE!

    What the hell!? Let me guess you probably like a blue scheme, like every other fricking GUI has been for decades?

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @01:21AM (#31354742) Journal

    First, which side of the window, and for that matter the screen, are all of the menus on? That's right, the left-hand side. So why would you want to have to move your mouse a thousand pixels to close a window?

    One obvious reason I can think of is because you don't want to miss "File", and accidentally click on "Close" instead.

    Second, what is the most destructive operation you can perform on a window? Closing it. Why on earth are you beating your users over the head by putting the most destructive operation that close to the corner? When it's on the corner, it's much easier to hit by accident, for example when reaching to resize the window.


    Every Mac user can immediately appreciate the position of the window controls, if they use them at all.

    Uh... guess where the Close Window button in OS X is?..

  • by curveclimber ( 17352 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @01:21AM (#31354744)

    Nah, I use OS X at work and Ubuntu at home: right side is the right side. You spend most of your time in a GUI opening, scrolling and closing windows. Putting controls on the left side means you have to cross the screen every time you want to work with a window. How do you accidently close a maximised window? I suppose your argument would make sense if a lot of what people did with windows was drag them all over their screen. Maybe people do. I certainly don't.

  • Re:nice to see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @01:24AM (#31354758) Journal

    Makes me wonder why this is even newsworthy.

    It's newsworthy for two reasons.

    First, it's the look of the OS out of the box. It's how it wants to show itself off to the users. If next Windows or OS X comes out with orange text on red background, you betcha it's going to be newsworthy!

    Second, default Ubuntu theme, and specifically the color palette, has been ridiculed by practically everybody for a loong time.

  • by pseudonomous ( 1389971 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @01:36AM (#31354818)

    I think if anybody ever bothered to use the default GNOME theme, the one the upstream developers ship, they would appreciate much of an improvement every Ubuntu theme has been over the default.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @01:45AM (#31354872) Journal

    They didn't even copy OS X. If you look closely, the relative order of the buttons is the same as it was before - and not with Close in the left corner.

    It's a major WTF no matter how you look at it. It's like they were deliberately trying to confuse users coming from as many platforms as possible.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VanessaE ( 970834 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @02:00AM (#31354940) Homepage

    It is commentary like this that makes me wish the score could range down to -5, Flamebait. Despite 25 years of experience hacking on computers and electronics, I would still be one of those "drooling idiots" by his metric, just because I glossed my desktop as much as I reasonably could. I did this for one simple reason: I was sick and tired of having a boring, ugly environment.

    These days, I just use my computers mostly as a hobby (and so, many of my skills have faded), but what I do would normally be branded "real work" if I were being paid for it (which is occasionally the case). I decline to describe exactly what I do because it is irrelevant to this discussion. Point is, I resent being lumped into that "drooling idiot" category just because of how my desktop environment is set up, even if the comment wasn't directed specifically at me.

    Why can't a person have a pretty desktop and still get real work (paid or not) done with it? Is having all that extra eye candy somehow preventing you from filling your screen(s) with plain-Jane terminals or editor windows?

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @02:01AM (#31354944)

    These open source designs always scream open source. They just lack the polish and careful thought that you get with Windows or OSX. Far too often the designer resorts to being different for the sake of being different. Having done interface design for years now there are a few things that come to mind off the top of my head I'd work on.

    A few critiques:
    Overall the design looks a bit dated. I'm not suggesting they should have done something obnoxious, but it feels like insufficient effort was put into this.

    Icons are flat, like they tried going for a dimensional look but either lacked the talent or the inclination to go all the way.

    Font selection is clumsy. The font itself is quite good, but it's a bit on the large size given the scale, but more importantly everything is crammed together.

    Icons and buttons almost look randomly placed. Why is zoom sitting between some icons and view selection. Is view selection even so important that it needs to be featured prominently? The folder buttons are too pronounced in relation to everything else and there's insufficient visual separation between that and the places dropdown.

    There's insufficiently visual separation between windows in the foreground and background, although honestly I think OSX has this problem too. It gets problematic trying to pick something out when multiple windows are open. There's no sense of prioritization to anything so everything blurs together at a glance.

    Those windows are poorly balanced. Why is everything left aligned, leaving most of the title banner empty?

    This really looks like the rough draft of a GUI. If you want to sell an OS to the average user you've really got to make it approachable. That means making it visually appealing and polished. This is one of those things that doesn't seem important when done right, but people always notice it when something is missing. Also important is giving real consideration to the user experience. These designs look to me like someone simply copied Windows and added in a bunch of elements from OSX. Certainly there's a sense of familiarity users have with Windows, but why not study both OSX and Windows and try to get a sense for what works and what doesn't then build your GUI around that? And based on some comments I've seen it seems elements of the design even break Fitt's laws.

    Having used the previous version of Ubuntu I wouldn't really say this is an improvement at all.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @02:58AM (#31355212) Homepage
    But he's talking about Ubuntu. Why does the standard gamut of replies to criticism of any OSS project always include "well, you don't have to use it...". Half the point of OSS is that the user base can improve it, but clearly it's important to be consistent and not have 100 forks of every project just to have different colour schemes. The brown theme has been a big turn-off for many people, and this may be fixing it, which is a good thing.
  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:11AM (#31356390) Journal

    The new branding [] looks very, very good. Purists may complain that this has nothing to do with Linux or its popularity, but the truth of the matter is that branding matters. Very much.

    The new website, CD cover design, store and goodies and the new smoother lighter themes are part of the things that will attract people to Ubuntu. I love the new design and think its much clearer and simpler and above all more consistent than either Windows 7, Microsoft's site (which is chaotic on a good day) and Mac OSX (and I say that typing this on a Mac Pro). People like shiny, and it will make a difference, even to corporate IT where the PHBs will be attracted to (or at least not put off by) the design, even if they know nothing about the technicalities of Linux.

    Now, if only they could provide some input into better IDEs for developers, then I think it will be on a much better track.

Hold on to the root.