Red Hat Dictates Fedora 15 Wallpaper

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 15, 2010

Fedora ran a wallpaper and theme concept contest for version 14 to entice community members to get involved with distribution development. With its recent release out the door the design team gathered to discuss the direction of artwork for the upcoming Fedora 15. That's when the news surfaced that Red Hat had already made the decision.

During an IRC team meeting the discussion for planning the Fedora 15 default wallpaper came up. That's when Máirín "Mo" Duffy broke the news. The Red Hat Desktop Team, who has discretionary control, wants Fedora 15 to use the upstream GNOME 3 wallpaper by default. And it didn't sound negotiable.

Of course several design team members weren't happy about this. The biggest issue is that Fedora likes to have one consistent look across their entire release. The artwork package includes things such as GRUB screen, boot splash, login screens, desktop and application splashes, all the desktops wallpapers, installer graphics, jewel case covers, t-shirts, boat sails... So, the choice is either have GNOME 3 stick out like a sore thumb or design the whole release around that wallpaper. In addition, Duffy expressed concern for the community participation process. This decision could possibly cut the community out. Also, it would be hard to transition to the next release.

That's when Jakub "jimmac" Steiner, graphic artist who designed the default GNOME 3 wallpaper, said "I think you guys are making it hard on yourself to theme the default fedora wallpaper per release name." Duffy then asked how the team would feel about doing new graphics every other release instead of every release. The consensus was that they continue to put out a new look each release.

The whole purpose of using the upstream GNOME 3 wallpaper for Fedora 15 was because Fedora 15 will be the first distribution to feature GNOME 3 in its entirety as default. But as the conversation continued it came out that there is still a slight chance it would not ready for Fedora 15. In any case, GNOME 2 would be provided as a choice and fallback for those without sufficient hardware. So do they use the GNOME 3 wallpaper for GNOME 2 too?

From there the conversation was joined by other team members very much against having to use the GNOME 3 wallpaper either as a basis for all the artwork or just as the GNOME 3 background because it breaks consistency. Alternative choices and default for other spins were also discussed.

As the meeting ended, no real bottom line was explicitly stated, but everyone knew the upstream GNOME 3 wallpaper will be default. Just how that will effect the rest of the distribution is the question left unanswered. Needless to say some team members stomped off, slammed the door, and walked into the sunset with steam puffing out their ears.