Fedora 18 Wallpaper Hackfest Report

It’s about that time in our current 6-month-driven cycle to start figuring out the wallpaper for Fedora 18. Ryan Lerch made the first call on the Fedora Design Team mailing list. We started discussing possibilities over IRC in #fedora-design; gnokii kept us on task and made a lot of great suggestions to help us move forward. So we proposed a Fedora 18 wallpaper brainstorm / virtual hackfest for the wallpaper, which happened today!
I’m really excited about how well the virtual hackfest went today, and I think we’ve now got a great set of concepts and mockups for it. I want to talk a little bit first about how we organized the hackfest and the high-level progress we made, then I want to dive into a bit of discussion on the six proposals we worked on today.

Hackfest Organization / High-level progress

We first got together in #fedora-design, and the first agenda item was the Fedora 18 schedule. Jreznik told us that we should have the artwork ready by Friday, August 10th, and packaged by August 14th. We talked a little bit about what we would do with all of the proposals – we definitely want to ship more than one wallpaper if they are all of good quality, as a set. We might decide together which one would make a good default as they’re developed further. Finally, we gathered the proposals that had been made thus far and discussed each individually.
This is where we ran into a bit of an issue. There were a lot of design team members in the channel, with a lot of discussion, ideas, and links flying by – all at once. It was so hectic that it became very difficult for twohot to follow what was going on from his cell phone and limited data connection. So, we ran down the list of 6 proposals and broke into separate channels for each one, and used the main #fedora-design channel for more general conversation. I think it worked pretty well, although it was confusing at first because we kind of just decided to do this on the fly, to try to emulate a real hackfest where folks pick what they want to hack on and grab a room to work on it. One key difference, though, is that you can be in more than one room at once in IRC. 🙂 If you lurked in all 6 channels, as ideas came up during a brainstorm in one channel, an idea might apply to another channel where you could just jump in and pose it to the folks working in that channel.
Here’s the meetbot log from #fedora-design where we discussed everything up until the breakout sessions.
This model of ‘go to the chat rooms for the proposals you’re most interested in’ was a new thing for us, and I think it worked pretty well to focus everyone on making real, visible progress the specific proposals they wanted to dive into in a way that one big discussion in the main channel likely couldn’t have. In a way, you ‘voted’ for the proposals you liked by jumping into its channel and participating.
Okay, so let’s dive into the different proposals that came up.


#1: Bokeh

Butterflies in your stomach
Butterflies in your stomach by Tatica on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-SA license
This is a great composition Tatica had posted to a Flickr group stream of free wallpapers from Venezeula. It would make a great wallpaper as-is, we all agreed, but it would be cool if Tatica was willing to try some Fedora-themed bokehs (e.g., the Fedora infinity, freedom, and voice symbols from the Fedora logo, or the Fedora Four Foundations icons.)
Tatica is going to try to come up with some Fedora-shape bokeh over the next few days. She shoots these images in RAW, and adds the colors afterwards, so she said it’s very flexible as to what the background color and bokeh colors are. For Fedora, we discussed bringing out more more blue in the image which she agreed to experiment with.
Tatica shared her process for producing the image from her blog, so if you’d like to learn the technique, she’s linked to a great tutorial that shows how to do it.
#fedora-design-bokeh (on freenode) is where we discussed this wallpaper; please pop in and give us your feedback or just lurk if you’d like to see the progress.

#2: Steel

Stainless blue cloth by Máirín (me 🙂 ) on DeviantArt, licensed CC-BY-SA
I created this in Gimp a while back as a dual-screen wallpaper, just for fun. It’s inspired by a photo I took of water hitting the windshield of my car (I never claimed to be normal) while on a roadtrip with Ray.
We actually discussed this design earlier on the design-team list. The problem was that I made it in Gimp, and the file size, even when compressed, was 1.7 GB, making it really difficult to collaborate on. Tatica suggested recreating it with SVG, and gnokii suggested some ideas for getting the stainless look in Inkscape.
So today gnokii, Ryan, and I discussed it in #fedora-design-steel and we tried to recreate the image in vector. Gnokii pointed out a brushed metal filter on Open Clip Art. Ryan gave it a shot, building his own Inkscape filters from scratch. I knew that Inkscape is capable of some pretty amazing things you’d not imagine possible from seeing the materials gnokii produced for his LGM/Linuxwochen tutorial, but he walked me through how to do it over IRC and it is pretty impressive how simple it is once you get the hang of it. Anyway, this is where I left off tonight after lots of help from gnokii:

It still needs some work, but now we can effectively collaborate with a source file that is only 34 KB compared to the Gimp version’s 1.7 GB. (I still love Gimp though! Garrett walked me through some tips on squeezing down images in Gimp I’ve been meaning to post because of my 1.7 GB chubby little file; I’ve been meaning to post them!)
Please, please feel free to play with this design and share what you come up with!

#3: Mountains

cfoch, who is one of the newest design team recruits, proposed this as a wallpaper. It’s actually a photomanipulation in Gimp using this CC-BY-SA photo by ginsnob on Flickr as a starting point. cfoch has a talent for transforming landscape photos into pieces that almost look like they are painted. The feedback this mockup received was mostly that it is a bit dark, could use some more blue, and isn’t high- resolution enough. We’re looking to have wallpaper art that is at least 2560×1920 so we can chop it down to the other two aspect ratios we carry. One suggestion we made for this proposal was to recreate it using Inkscape, with a lighter overall brightness to it.

#4: Nebula

Gnokii had this screenshot from a game we saw at Linuxwochen in Vienna this past May that reminded us of spherical cows. Gnokii, Sadin, and twohot discussed it in the #fedora-design-nebula channel. Gnokii came up with an initial mockup in Inkscape, then iterated to create this:

Twohot had an idea / sketch to convert it to a cow.

Anyway, this idea seems like an interesting concept if we can help gnokii iterate on the rendering, so if you have ideas please share them. 🙂

#5: Dandelion


While we were discussing the nebula idea during our initial discussion, it was pointed out that the spiky balls looked a bit like dandelions. Dandelions are kind of a cool symbol of free software (and the mascot of opensource.com) because you can imagine the seeds of the dandelion as free code spreading far and wide and helping new things grow.

So we thought maybe we could find a nice CC-BY or CC-BY-SA shot of a dandelion and with minimal treatment use it as a wallpaper as well.

Elad, tatica, and I, and many other design team members searched our own photo collections and Flickr for openly-licensed dandelion photos. Above is a shot Elad and I found and liked a lot. I modified it in Darktable to have a blue-ish tint to it. It’s just a slight modification of Neal Fowler’s CC-BY photo “Cant Stop Now Dont You Know…” on Flickr.

If you’ve got a better dandelion composition to suggest that’s CC-BY or CC-BY-SA, let us know. Or if you have ideas on treatments… please suggest them! 🙂

#6: Dahlia


Mackenzie, who is my Fedora design intern at Red Hat and also a beefy believer, proposed a nice shot she took of a dahlia. I think as-is, it’s a nice wallpaper, but I suggested maybe some vignetting or some treatment to make it a bit less crisply-focused. If you have some suggestions or critique on developing this image further as a desktop background, I am sure Mackenzie would appreciate it!

What do you think?

Let us know what you think. Also, I think we should collect more candidates for a fresh supplemental wallpaper package. Tatica set up a fedora-wallpapers-pool that you can submit to, or, send a link via comment here. We are mainly looking for wallpapers that are CC-BY or CC-BY-SA licensed, but any Fedora ‘Good License’ for content will do. If you’d like to volunteer to manage the Fedora 18 supplemental wallpaper process, please let me know!

Also, just a note…

Gnokii has been a huge help with Fedora’s design team for a long time now, and he has done a lot for us, as you can see even in these notes: he’s a really helpful and productive member of the team! His laptop, however, is not in good shape right now. Kai-Uwe and some other friends set up a Pledgie campaign to raise money for a new laptop for him.
In response, gnokii is currently working on a project to produce amazingly high-quality clip art, public-domain and free to use, for the Open Clip Art Library. (An example of his vacation set is above.) For every 10€ donated to the Pledgie campaign, he is creating one of these pieces of clip art. So not only can you help provide gnokii with a nice, new, and up-to-date laptop to create more awesome artwork with, but you’ll be helping directly with his efforts to create really amazing public domain art for everyone – including you – to use freely.

Click here to lend your support to: Sirko


  1. Leif says:

    Really like the vectorized steel blue.
    I see potential in Nebula and Bokeh.

  2. […] misses is a face and thats not so an easy task with an name like Spherical Cow. Some might read Mizmo’s post about the things that happend yesterday arround the design for Fedora 18. We had yesterday a little brainstorming what to do and it turned into an hackfest and things moved […]

  3. Oliver says:

    Steel looks very nice and would make a good default. Bokeh could be great if she manage to make it reflect fedora’s brand image, for example a blue background and use the fedora f, the black background looks depressing. Maybe it would possible to mash Bokeh and Steel.

  4. http://www.sandro-mathys.ch/2012/05/common-dandelion.html
    Sandro sent this for the dandelion idea, has CC-BY 3.0 licensed it, and he has higher-resolution and RAW available as well.

  5. Marcus Moeller says:

    I am not sure if it’s already a bit late, but I would like to propose a discoball concent.
    What’s more spherical than and spacy than a disco ball 😉
    There are also some good tutorials available, describing how to draw one in inkscape:

  6. M.M. says:

    Steel is great. After some (imho) not very nice wallpapers in the most recent releases, this one makes me remember some simple, elegant, relaxing, blueish wallpapers of the past (i.e. Infinity).
    Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.