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Ubuntu, Buttons, and Democracy

Mar 23, 2010, 22:03 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

[ Thanks to James Maguire for this link. ]

"When Ubuntu drinks, the free and open source software (FOSS) community gets a hangover. The distribution is so influential that its every development sends echoes rippling through the greater community. How else to explain how a simple change in desktop themes should spark not only debates about usability, but about how decisions are made in FOSS?

"This latest proof of Ubuntu's influence began when, a day before the interface freeze for the upcoming Lucid Lynx (Ubuntu 10.04) release, the Ubuntu Design and User Experience Team announced a new set of default themes for GNOME's default window manager Metacity. Instead of the familiar browns of the Human themes that Ubuntu had used with only minor changes since its first release, the distro would be shifting to a set of themes called Light.

"Furthermore, the Light themes would be integrated into new branding efforts by Ubuntu and Canonical, its commercial counterpart. According to Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu's founder and benevolent dictator for life, the new theme "includes a fresh, lively Orange, and a rich, mature Aubergine, which work well together. The use of Aubergine indicates Commercial involvement of one form or another, while Orange is a signal of community engagement. . . . We also identified shades of Aubergine that are more consumer, or more enterprise -- the darker shades mapping to a stronger emphasis on enterprise work.""

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