Since a lot of people are unhappy with the current wallpaper of Gutsy, I decided to start this page, so we can list all the thoughts of what the default wallpaper should look like, instead of just whining. Wink ;-)

After reading through the comments on the forum, wiki page, etc. I disagree - there are indeed very many positive comments. I do admit that the wallpaper can be lighter and less grainy. That will be fixed. KennethWimer

  • Unfortunately I don't know what thread in the forum or which wiki page you are referring to. So you might provide a link to those "very many" positive comments that I must have missed. --NickBauermeister

    • (look just below the block of pics) and just to mention one or two from the forum: and from that thread (just picked the first two KennethWimer

      • None of the four comments in the wiki page are directly to that particular wallpaper. Or do you define "With a little more work it can be nice" as one of those "very many positive comments"? And you must be kidding to quote two posts in a thread of two hundreds postings that are mostly negative. If I had the time, I'd skim through the thread and I'm sure the amount of negative posts are at 80% (similar to the outcome of this poll). I don't mean to come off like a whippersnapper but you chose to disagree with the obvious here. I can't believe we are even discussing this. --NickBauermeister

        • I agree with you that there is no point in discussing this - keep pushing your agenda while the rest of us work out a plan to improve things in the future. KennethWimer

          • I am not pushing any agenda at all. I tried to turn the negative comments into something positive by creating this wiki page. It's just that I can't understand how the whole situation was handled. The wallpaper has been submitted on the very last day without a public hint that it would be this one. Then a lot of resentment arose and that didn't change a thing. There has been no public statement as to why it has been chosen and by whom. If you feel that you don't have to explain yourself to the community, fine. But then say so and don't act like it was a transparent decision or there has been a lot of public praise for it, because that is just not the case. I tried to improve things by calling attention to the animal texture wallpapers and there has been an enormous amount of positive feedback to them. I don't know why you choose to ignore that, there has been no statement as to why you are not considering one of them as the default wallpaper. --NickBauermeister

            @KennethWimer:"keep pushing your agenda while the rest of us work out a plan to improve things in the future." ... The Ubuntu Community Code of Conduct states that all participation in the Ubuntu Community, explicitly including the wiki, shall (1) "be considerate", (2) "be respectful", (3) "be collaborative" and (4) "When you disagree, consult others." --Added by PeterCruickshank Saturday 13 October

As pferraro stated in the aforementioned thread:

One of the main reasons why us gutsy testers are so invested in our wallpaper is the first impression Ubuntu gives to new users. Just think of how many screenshots (starring Gutsy's new wallpaper) will be plastered all over the web when gutsy is finally released...

This is the wallpaper in question:


Full resolution here

Those are the points already made against the current wallpaper:

  • »it looks like a brown version of some of the Vista wallpapers.«
  • »it is very dark.«
  • »it is inconsistent with Ubuntu's general look and feel. Leans very much towards a yellow colour scheme, and does not bear a connection to the Human theme beyond its use of brown. A better connection with the theme would be achieved if this inspired elements that connect humans, such as our environment.«
  • »the image quality is not very good due to many grainy, out of focus spots -- particularly in the dark areas. Frankly, it looks like a cheap digital photo, which makes it particularly surprising that this image is indeed a scalable graphic.«

So let's turn those into something positive (feel free to add other criteria):

The default wallpaper should be

  • innovative (Edgy and Feisty were very similar, Hoary on the other hand was very unique)

  • bright (which will go better with the new default window manager anyway, because on a dark WP you can't see the panel and window shadows)

  • matching the Human theme (the Human theme has a bright look & feel and is rather orange than brown)

  • clean with high resolution (the artefacts on the current one are really awkward)

For example the lion texture wallpapers from here would make a good candidate. It is very unique and fits very well to the "roots" of Ubuntu. I agree that you can't please anybody but this idea matches the Human theme in my opinion. It has always been a matter of controversial debate but anytime I do a clean install of Ubuntu I stick to it for the first weeks because it's really a high quality theme that has becaome a trademark of Ubuntu - it's just not for everyone, but that doesn't matter in the long run, because we know Linux is all about choice Smile :-)
I remember it left a good impression on me the first time I booted Dapper because I thought it was a nice change to all those default themes that tend to look the same.

--NickBauermeister 2007-09-21 10:53:09

The comments that it does not fit with the look and feel of ubuntu makes little sense to me, just look at the older wallpapers from warty and breezy and you'll see that they had similar colors. KennethWimer 2019-08-24 01:54:52


I think the Human theme in Ubuntu is a powerful idea, but it has so far been handled with less than it deserves; its potential is being ignored, and the past default wallpapers have definitely not approached the Human theme with interest. This theme is not just a colour scheme. I (and when I say "I", I am sure I mean "We") want that idea to persist across every facet of the desktop!
Artwork, such as the prominent default wallpaper, should connect with being human; it should quietly inspire ideas of what life is at its core, and what it means to maintain the spirit of Ubuntu. Our environment connects us - in particular, trees are a good symbol of our environment connecting us, or the animals with which we share this planet. Another valid theme to approach could be some aspects of being human that we all share, such as writing. Humans, genetically, tend to prefer light, warm conditions, because of our warm blood, our diurnal nature and our similar eyes. Humans also quite consistently strive to be warm and gentle, as we can gain from the term Humane. I think we need a wallpaper that inspires confidence; that looks powerful, but not sharp. Solid, warm colours, I think do a much better job of that than the very dark background here, which looks cold and fragmented, where the stripes are completely disconnected from, and unrelated to, the background of the image.
What I suggest does not need to be an obtrusive, eccentrically applied association to the Human theme, and I do realize that this needs to be scalable, so it is not as simple as "just snapping a nice photograph". Regardless, I think the wallpaper should at least contain a nod to the Human theme and a quiet inspiration for the spirit of Ubuntu.
--Added by DylanMccall (Friday, 21 September 2007)

The animal desktops look great, are innovative, unique, and high quality, especially "Lion (clear version)"; it even matches the Ubuntu colour theme and doesn't put any strain on the eyes. However i would opt for a more "modern" approach, as for example the first image (in the upper left) of this page . I have no idea where the full-resolution version is, or even if it looks as good as the preview, but then again it doesn't have to be the exact same wallpaper. I just believe it successfully combines modern style with the ubuntu color scheme.
With no offence to the creator of the animal wallpapers, they are really great, but i wouldn't advise any of the people working on the ubuntu-look to implement edgy, irregularly-patterned wallpapers (as for example wood/fur/skin) unless they want a complete makeover of the theme. In addition the wallpaper should match the Ubuntu splash screen because it really seems out of place with the feisty or the new gutsy wallpaper ...
--Added by Chymera; Saturday, 22 Sep. 2007.

@Chymera: that's Hoary's default wallpaper. I uploaded the full version here
--Added by NickBauermeister 2007-09-23 12:56:48

I don't comment much on Ubuntu matters, especially things like this, but I have to speak up this time. I think the "Animal" series is probably one of the single most defining things we could do for the platform. It makes a statement almost the first instant you look at it; some part of you just "connects" with it almost the second you see it. The problem with the curves is that they're so overdone and tired, they've been killed sequentially in every Mac OS X edition and now Vista, the "Animal" series just jumps out and says "We're different, we're real, we're tangible". The texture is absolutely amazing. The colours are spot on, not so dark to strain the eyes, but dark enough to starkly contrast icons and windows placed on top of it. Whether or not they end up shipping as the default, they've earned a place on my desktop. --Added by Awalton

I agree with the people suggesting one of the Animal themes ... I love the elephant and giraffe, but if everybody wants the lion then go with it, without the logo. It would be really cool if you could do a Gibbon fur texture for Gutsy Gibbon. That could set up a pretty cool series, where Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" would have a brown texture of heron feathers. But for now, the current animal themes are great too. --Added by PeterCruickshank Sunday 23 September

I would just like to add that everybody who wants to know what people actually think should read this discussion:
--Added by Ludwik Sunday 23 September

I registered specifically to make this comment. I do not run Ubuntu, and one of the reasons I do not is because it is butt ugly brown. I mean, if I want brown I'll call the UPS guy. Brown is too reminiscent of the colour of a turd for me. I know that everyone says that you can change it blah blah blah but I expect things to look and operate proper out of the box, and I do not consider a religious adherence to the colour brown to be so. I do not care if it is 'Human Theme' policy that dictates that you have to adhere to that colour or not, if it is then that policy needs to change. --Added by eclectro Sunday 23 September

Its my first time too talking to the Ubuntu community. I'm reading the artwork mailing list for about 1 1/2 years now and now i think its time to speak up. Whoever made the decision about this wallpaper seems to made it alone. I never saw any proposal about this wallpaper and I certainly saw way better wallpaper ideas than this one. I ask myself what this wallpaper have in common with the Ubuntu "brand", is this the way we want to approach new users? I don't have anything against using a brown touch in the Ubuntu brand... but this looks way to dark. Isn't there a way to make such decisions a little more democratic? Sure taste is different ... but in the 3 days this wallpaper is in repos i saw way too much complaints about it. I wish someone in charge would step in front and opens a dialogue about it ... Isn't Ubuntu about freedom? so why is the artwork process made in such an dictated way? In hope of a better future! --Added by Brainiac Sunday 23 September

I wanted to chime in another vote for the animal themes. The folks on Digg seem to really like them as well. --Added by MichaelAlexander Sunday 23 September

First off, Eclectro, I really have to say that I - and probably a significant majority of other people - am offended by your instant classification of the colour brown as ugly and reminiscent of poop. If you have not noticed, the natural colour of human skin is most definitely a varying shade of brown; some people are particularly brown, while others (such as myself) are not quite as brown, but more than capable of being coloured brown after some time in the sun. It is also a valid statistic that brown hair and brown eyes are both extremely common traits. With this comment of yours, do you also mean to say that my hair and my eyes appear to be made of feces? How about take it a step further and start referring to people as "disgusting turd-boys", since brown seems the natural colour of a huge number of things on this planet?
I don't like the colour yellow, or orange. After all, people tend to urinate much more frequently than they poop, so the association of those colours with urine (ooooh, gross! pee!) is much stronger.
In other words (assuming you don't actually think this - which I sincerely hope), there is nothing wrong with the brown! It is an important aspect of Ubuntu's Human theme. The trick is to make it meaningful. I do agree that, in this case and most others, the brown is being very poorly wielded. With the abstract lines images, brown seems forced. The abstract lines are a bit of a compromise, making due with the fact that nobody has imagined a working tactile image to use, that can carry the brown theme in a way that actually says something. They show nothing because they are not meant to show anything; they just stay out of the way the moment they appear, and I consider that a shame. Why not just spare us the anxiety and use a solid brown colour? There is no reason for them to not be blue, or green or grey. They do not make sense. With such a meaningless image, people fill in the gaps themselves, and come up with absurd images such as the association of brown with one's bodily excretions.
The animal skin backgrounds finally break from that mould by having something real, and beautiful, that really is brown and proudly so. With that lion texture, the heroic shade of sunset brown is completely natural, since lions are indeed similar in colour. Even better, that image cannot work with another environment; Ubuntu is the only one that dares to be brown.
--Added by DylanMccall 2007-09-23 21:51:09

I agree that the animal art, particularly the "Lion" (clear) really stand out as beautiful and different, even unique. As has been articulated above, they give a "real", tangible feel, and their very earthiness makes them a hundred times more "human" than just another swooshy thing that could have been turned out by a robot. Swooshy things (particularly brown ones) are tired and derivative. Let's be different and human! -- TomMaisey 2007-09-23 23:50:18

I completely agree with Awalton. The glassy look is tired. The animal wallpapers (especially Giraffe) really draw you in and demand that you take notice. That being said, there are plenty of great submissions. Why not include 4 or 5 of them in addition to a default? And why don't we open a poll, so we all can have equal say? -- JohnnyK 2019-08-24 01:54:52

Alot of people seem to like the animal wallpapers. I was thinking that the developers and artists could have fun with them. For every release, you could have a wallpaper that matches the fur of the animal that the release is named after (Just think -- Lazy Lion). It would really make Ubuntu stand out (especially to people who know nothing about it). Just out of curiosity, does anyone else think it would be a fun idea? -- JohnnyK 2019-08-24 01:54:52

Another vote here for the Animal wallpapers, the proposed wallpaper is just a brownish version of the ones we are used to see in OS X, Vista done the same and changed the color theme to match their own, there's no need to do the same here in Ubuntu. The Animal wallpapers have an organic feel that could be the way to go, even if the chosen wallpapers aren't the ones we've already seen. -- T3mujin 2019-08-24 01:54:52

to summarize suggestions on the forums and wikis (including this page):

  1. primary colors = the colors of the logo.
  2. animal textures that match the release codename.
  3. an image that conveys the message of the codename (something that feels gutsy, for this release)
  4. images of nature (it should be vast open spaces, IMO)


What's the status on the current wallpaper? Is it definitely going to be included? It's clear that most people want an animal background. Is adhering to a deadline really more important than giving the users what they want? If people have a less amazing first impression of Ubuntu, will you be saying "Well, at least we followed our schedule!" Don't get me wrong, the current wallpaper is very nice, but why should anything stop us from making the user experience even better? -- JohnKarahalis 2019-08-24 01:54:52


"' number one: "' the artwork in question , I think , has been selected because of a blind predisposition towards the author. Some rules were created at . At one glance this artwork breaks rule four : the elements in this image go clear off the screen. Large portions of this image are also one color : a drab brown that does remind me of UPS uniforms. This is not, to my eyes, art. It is very close to being art , but there is no unique element to the picture. Just a few simple curves that could have been done in svg. I say the people who are in charge of this need to reconsider who they are favoring and set up a voting thread on the forums so people can vote on this. Spreading the word around , I calculate if effective polling is to be done , we need about 5-10% of ubuntu users and development personnel to vote on this for it to be in any way favored. As it is , this image has been selected with NO criteria in mind IMHO. just my 2 cents , --terlmann. (I for one would like you to choose Smile :-) )

The rules that are mentioned on the wiki page are just guidelines. Saying that no element should leave the page is probably the worst part of those rules. In any case it is always true with art that sometimes rules are broken for good reasons. The elephant pic will be included in the default set, the others will be included in the community wallpapers package. In addition, I am not sure what you mean with blind predisposition towards the author. The people who picked this image do not even know the author. KennethWimer 2019-08-24 01:54:52

I'm really not a great fan of brown/chocolate style wall papers. I think it would be nicer if by default you were given a different one of the animal themes on each workspace (if compiz fusion/equivalent was included as default you could do this with viewpoints). Or why couldn't the installer just ask you which theme you want? -- Tom Wright 2019-08-24 01:54:52

Artwork/Incoming/Gutsy/DefaultWallpaperCriteria (last edited 2009-04-13 16:01:10 by p5089689E)