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Thread: A graphic design deficiency

  1. #1
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    A graphic design deficiency

    I'm sure every one is familiar w119ith the LTS release schedule, but some time ago, I looked it up, and found this useful graphic here:

    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LTS

    The graphic says it all, in more ways than one. First, it gives you a very quick and very clear idea of what to expect from standard releases, in terms of support, vs. LTS releases.

    Looking closer, I found that the legend of the graph had three items, all in very close and practically indistiguishable shades of deep purple. I don't want to post the full image here, you can see it in the link above, but I'll post just the part showing the legend.

    Are they @#%$^ing me??? A human being with healthy eyes and no color-blindness is supposed to be able to look at the graph and at the legend and be able to tell which is which? I'm looking at a high-quality ViewSonic monitor on a good, fairly recent nVidia card. I can make out the difference between two of the three, and even that is a strain.

    For yuhts, I saved the image and opened it in GIMP, just to use the color-picker to see the differences:

    Ubutu Desktop LTS - RGB values are R-119 G-33 B-111
    Ubuntu Server LTS = R-94, G-39 B-80
    Ubuntu & ubuntu Server LTS = R-119, G-41, B-83

    The point is not the graphic, although that's severe enough, it's pretty obvious whoever created it just did an color-pick/paste from his/her destkop background to save time. I get it, developers are busy, I've been there many times, having to document stuff for the user-community is not something you're expected to spend too much time on, and I guess I'm grateful there's a graphic at all.

    The point is, it reminded me of exactly that desktop, if you'll all excuse me, the (f)ugly yellow/purple default gnome theme. Someone could benefit from hiring a graphic designer who didn't just find his/her degree in a fortune cookie this morning. Not for the graph, of course, but to design themes that actually make sense. Yes, I know, I wasn't born yeserday, different people with different tastes and all that, but why did this one have to be the default, and why is it so difficult to customize any stock theme to your own liking and save/implement it on your own desktop? I do remember this was available at least since Hardy or Intrepid. And yes, I've been to gnome-look.org, 32,45,634 options is as good as no options, who has the time for that?

    Better yet, while we're all salivating over "unity" -- why not unify the 12,637 different gnome "appearance" tools currently floating around into something coherent, useful, that lets you configure very element of your existing theme(s) in a way that doesn't feel like a straightjacket? I now get panel tooltips in black text on very dark grey background. I'm sure that's not what I meant to do, when I was paying attention to something else I was adjusting. I would kill to know which tool I was using when that happened -- gnome-tweak-tool? ubuntu-tweak? gtk-theme-config? heathen-banshee-voodoo-maker?

    These tools are the reason I'm up so late. Never took me this long to configure any release of Windows to my liking, and I despise Windows.
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    Last edited by r_avital; June 30th, 2013 at 08:04 AM.
    http://folding.extremeoverclocking.c...avital&t=45104
    "I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."
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  2. #2
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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    On the graph, it's actually a conceptual problem, I think - "server and desktop" and "server only" are two things, not three, and there are exactly two distinct colors used, so it works out, and then the key jacks it up. = .

    On Windows - I don't get this comparison, because Windows isn't exactly heavy on the theming. You can make it a different color. Admittedly, with Ubuntu, you're limited to just two of those colors without downloading anything, and the default Ambiance and Radiance themes are fairly terrible. Personally, I do spend much more time configuring a new Ubuntu install than I do a new Windows install, but that's more a difference in the "give up" threshold than a claim that there are fewer things I want to change in Windows. = /

    But for lack of settings access in general - I'd personal rather Ubuntu's extreme than the experience I had recently trying out KDE again. Settings screens that really try to include everything become a goddamn mess of confusion and redundancies, and just knowing that that option you're looking for is probably in there somewhere doesn't help much in finding it. And tabs, tabs, everywhere!

    I don't think Gnome-Look really is too many choices. There are plenty of awful ones, but I'd say that having thousands of choices in this case is a bit like having tens of them, because no one is going to page through more than the first few pages of GTK3 themes to find something that looks decent. I'd think that a newcomer to Gnome Look would be likely to sort the themes by most-popular to help winnow that down; and why the themes are not listed that way by default, I think, is more Gnome-Look's problem than Ubuntu's. There are a lot of minor variations on Adwaita, Ambience, and MacOS-Aqua-inspired themes to sift out these days, admittedly.

    As for Ubuntu Tweak and the like, Ubuntu doesn't produce the extra configuration tools, which is what makes them extra (except for CompizConfig, which is more or less a Canonical project now.) They're all different projects with different purposes. Gnome Tweak Tool is a Gnome project designed around Gnome Shell, so it's useful for settings that aren't included in either Gnome's or Ubuntu's main settings managers, but it's not geared for Ubuntu at all. Ubuntu Tweak, as the name implies, is designed for Ubuntu, and draws together a lot of stuff from a lot of places that go beyond theming and appearance settings (mostly a catch-all for perceived missing features in any kind of settings context.) gtk-theme-config is a very simple little tool that does one thing, written by one person unassociated with Gnome or the Ubuntu Tweak folks. The fact that these guys don't or can't get together has nothing to do with Ubuntu and isn't Ubuntu's problem.

    I guess it was easier, before Gnome 3, to switch theme components and set GTK colors straight from the Appearance Settings window. I don't think of that as "modifying themes," since themes really can be modified directly and that's not what the Appearance Settings window was doing. That said, the simplified settings screens really are kind of a good thing, as opposed to the crazy mess of applications available under "preferences" and "administration" prior to Gnome 3 (though it's irritating that some, like Startup Applications, are still left out of the System Settings manager.) In any case, I don't think fine control of individual colors makes a lot of sense; again, if you really want to dig in and change those things, it's always possible to edit the themes themselves. Not exactly intuitive, mind, but I don't think it's really a common enough task to need a graphical editor for. I mean, there are a lot of colors to set, and there's no reasonable way to simplify the mess of settings that would really represent, but why stop at colors? Should the settings manager include controls all the widget sizes, bevel radii, styles, etc.? Should there be an Emerald-esque Metacity theme manager for controlling title bars? There's a lot of information in a GTK theme, and singling out colors seems arbitrary to me.

    Ideally, I'd rather just see an easy way to install additional complete, packaged themes that would appear in Appearance Settings, like a few really good themes included in the repos and thus installable through the Software Center. A default system theme that didn't hurt might help, too; there's a reason that Ubuntu's choice of such a dark, heavy theme is as unique as it is, and it's not because they're ahead of the curve. The orange is probably a little bright, as well. (I don't know where you're seeing purple, though. That's only in the default background and the Dash, which takes its colors from the background, so as soon as you change the background, there's no purple. The login screen, I suppose, but it's quite pretty.)
    Last edited by Copper Bezel; June 30th, 2013 at 09:23 AM.
    I know I shouldn't use tildes for decoration, but they always make me feel at home~

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    Quote Originally Posted by r_avital View Post
    ... all in very close and practically indistinguishable shades ...
    This seems to be the fashion on several sites. Not found any explanation. Maybe it's just a mindless do as others do.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    Quote Originally Posted by r_avital View Post
    I get it, developers are busy, I've been there many times, having to document stuff for the user-community is not something you're expected to spend too much time on, and I guess I'm grateful there's a graphic at all.
    So if you already opened the thing in GIMP, why not just fix it and replace the one on the site with a readable one?

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    Quote Originally Posted by castrojo View Post
    So if you already opened the thing in GIMP, why not just fix it and replace the one on the site with a readable one?
    Theres an idea... I had no idea I had the privileges on that site to do that. Thanks!
    http://folding.extremeoverclocking.c...avital&t=45104
    "I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."
    ― Albert Einstein

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    Quote Originally Posted by Copper Bezel View Post

    On Windows - I don't get this comparison, because Windows isn't exactly heavy on the theming. You can make it a different color. Admittedly, with Ubuntu, you're limited to just two of those colors without downloading anything, and the default Ambiance and Radiance themes are fairly terrible. Personally, I do spend much more time configuring a new Ubuntu install than I do a new Windows install, but that's more a difference in the "give up" threshold than a claim that there are fewer things I want to change in Windows. = /
    Personally I really like ambiance and radiance, sure they are not colored blue, blue and more blue with lots of gloss and glaze But Ubuntu is trying to stand out here.

    But for lack of settings access in general - I'd personal rather Ubuntu's extreme than the experience I had recently trying out KDE again. Settings screens that really try to include everything become a goddamn mess of confusion and redundancies, and just knowing that that option you're looking for is probably in there somewhere doesn't help much in finding it. And tabs, tabs, everywhere!
    And a contradiction, you complain about how limited Ubuntu is and yet complain that KDE has too many options.
    You just said a paragraph ago you like windows because you can change from the default theme easily without extra stuff.
    Make up your mind.

    I don't think Gnome-Look really is too many choices. There are plenty of awful ones, but I'd say that having thousands of choices in this case is a bit like having tens of them, because no one is going to page through more than the first few pages of GTK3 themes to find something that looks decent. I'd think that a newcomer to Gnome Look would be likely to sort the themes by most-popular to help winnow that down; and why the themes are not listed that way by default, I think, is more Gnome-Look's problem than Ubuntu's. There are a lot of minor variations on Adwaita, Ambience, and MacOS-Aqua-inspired themes to sift out these days, admittedly.
    Again you bring up that Ubuntu has too few choices and yet complain about having too many choices, again please make up your mind.

    I guess it was easier, before Gnome 3, to switch theme components and set GTK colors straight from the Appearance Settings window. I don't think of that as "modifying themes," since themes really can be modified directly and that's not what the Appearance Settings window was doing. That said, the simplified settings screens really are kind of a good thing, as opposed to the crazy mess of applications available under "preferences" and "administration" prior to Gnome 3 (though it's irritating that some, like Startup Applications, are still left out of the System Settings manager.) In any case, I don't think fine control of individual colors makes a lot of sense; again, if you really want to dig in and change those things, it's always possible to edit the themes themselves. Not exactly intuitive, mind, but I don't think it's really a common enough task to need a graphical editor for. I mean, there are a lot of colors to set, and there's no reasonable way to simplify the mess of settings that would really represent, but why stop at colors? Should the settings manager include controls all the widget sizes, bevel radii, styles, etc.? Should there be an Emerald-esque Metacity theme manager for controlling title bars? There's a lot of information in a GTK theme, and singling out colors seems arbitrary to me.
    Again you backpedal here, what KDE has is what gnome lost, gnome used to have the same gui config options that KDE has, you praise Gnome for it and yet scorn KDE?

    Ideally, I'd rather just see an easy way to install additional complete, packaged themes that would appear in Appearance Settings, like a few really good themes included in the repos and thus installable through the Software Center. A default system theme that didn't hurt might help, too; there's a reason that Ubuntu's choice of such a dark, heavy theme is as unique as it is, and it's not because they're ahead of the curve. The orange is probably a little bright, as well. (I don't know where you're seeing purple, though. That's only in the default background and the Dash, which takes its colors from the background, so as soon as you change the background, there's no purple. The login screen, I suppose, but it's quite pretty.)
    And in the same breath you both condemn and compliment Ubuntu default theme, again make up your mind please.

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    Quote Originally Posted by castrojo View Post
    So if you already opened the thing in GIMP, why not just fix it and replace the one on the site with a readable one?
    Immutable page.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    Quote Originally Posted by vasa1 View Post
    Immutable page.
    Looks editable to me when I'm logged in.

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    MadmanRB, I did express a number of opinions in there, but very few of them had to do with which desktop is "better" than another, and not every observation I made was meant as a "point" for one side or another. I actually don't care much about that in this case - I wasn't looking at this as a Spiderman-vs.-Wolverine, who-would-win conversation. Since I didn't make it very clear, I find Windows difficult to fit to my workflow because there are a lot of options I'm used to that aren't there, and I find KDE baffling, but I'm certainly biased by being more familiar with the various flavors of Gnome, too. None of that's really important to what r_avital was talking about. He was saying that Ubuntu needed easier theme customization, and I was mostly disagreeing.

    It was a rather confusing post, I admit. Could have taken some time to organize that junk.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadmanRB View Post
    Personally I really like ambiance and radiance, sure they are not colored blue, blue and more blue with lots of gloss and glaze But Ubuntu is trying to stand out here.
    No, I'm aware of that, and I'm also aware that Ambiance has become a part of Ubuntu's brand identity - it shows up in all the little screenshots when people promote software for Ubuntu, and it probably has to stay for that reason alone. I just happen to agree with r_avital that it's ugly.

    And a contradiction, you complain about how limited Ubuntu is and yet complain that KDE has too many options.
    You just said a paragraph ago you like windows because you can change from the default theme easily without extra stuff.
    Make up your mind.
    Yeah, no. I said that in Windows, the user can choose a theme color. That's most certainly not high praise, and certainly didn't mean that I "like Windows." KDE does have too many options. Ubuntu is limited in terms of theming, but I didn't and wouldn't say it's too limited. The worst I said was that it'd be nice to have some mechanism for installing themes as "packs" that would actually show up in the Settings->Appearance screen, this little menu:



    As it is, it's awkward that newly installed themes don't appear in the most obvious place, and it's made more awkward by the fact that only Ambiance and Radiance are there to begin with, then compounded by my feeling that they're not great themes. It's an amazingly useless menu, and it'd be nice if changing the destkop theme could be handled within the normal settings screens (that is, not Gnome Tweak,) even if that theming was offered in a somewhat limited way.

    Basically, I don't know who's supposed to use that control, because people who use Gnome Tweak would ignore it, and it doesn't do much good for people who don't.

    And in the same breath you both condemn and compliment Ubuntu default theme, again make up your mind please.
    No. I was responding to a thing that r_avital said about the "(f)ugly yellow / purple" GTK theme. I happen to agree that it's ugly, and yet it is not, in fact, purple or yellow. = ) I did say that the login screen (the Unity greeter) is very pretty, but that's nuts to do with any of this other stuff.
    Last edited by Copper Bezel; June 30th, 2013 at 08:05 PM.
    I know I shouldn't use tildes for decoration, but they always make me feel at home~

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    Re: A graphic design deficiency

    Copper,

    Thanks for a very well thought-out reply. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the default theme is an atrocity.

    You've made some excellent points and I agree with most of them. One thing that's being overlooked however, is the relevance to the end-user, especially the novice, or even the experienced one who tries gnome or kde or xfce for the first time (You've admitted yourself your frustrations with kde). Namely, experienced users such as the ones here will know the difference between what's developed by Canonical and what's developed by small teams or even individuals, but many don't know and couldn't care less. Tough tamales for them, I understand that, you need to expect such inconsistencies when you're dealing with free-beer-free-speech software tools. Even Windows users, who have seen a favorite firefox/thunderbird theme disappear and no longer maintained would have that experience.

    Which brings me to this -- have you witnessed the mini-civil war that went on, over thunderbird putting tabs above toolbars? One developer devoted pages and pages on his web site to advocate in favor of that change, and made very convincing arguments, which in the end, did not pacify the rather large portion of users who screamed about it. So he had the decency to release an addon that reverted to the old scheme. That makes it perfectly identical to how TB worked before the change, and is therefore an acceptable solution. But you know that the fallback gnome2 under the current ubuntu releases is not really gnome2, right? For instance, adding a launcher to your panel in a "gnome-classic" session is impossible, without logging off, loggin on with a "gnome classic no effects" session, make the change there, log off/log on again. That's just one example.

    I'm really not much of a wow-factor or eye-candy user. I just want cr@p to work without hurting my eyes, and most of the time it does, with ubuntu. I like the productivity of switching workspaces with a mouse-wheel, but don't like the sudden panic when you flip the wheel into an empty workspace without noticing, and are looking at a blank screen and go wtf how did it all disappear - so I'll use a compiz rotating cube to get the visual feedback that what's happening is happening because I did something, not because something crashed. But I won't bother decorating the cube caps, not trying to impress anyone, just trying to get work done.

    FWIW I've just booted into xubunty for the first time, from a usb stick, I like it so far (just a few minor gripes), and might move to it. But man, this is so much more work than I anticipated, when all I wanted was a smooth transition from one LTS (lucid) to another (precise).
    Last edited by r_avital; June 30th, 2013 at 08:55 PM.
    http://folding.extremeoverclocking.c...avital&t=45104
    "I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."
    ― Albert Einstein

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