In the world of Linux distros it's wonderful to find an up and coming OS that has it all together. Being graphically pleasing to the eye is the reason this April tribute to Linux graphics art teams is proud to feature Bodhi Linux. For those not familiar with Bodhi Linux could you tell us about your distro?
Bodhi Linux is what we call an "Enlightened Linux Desktop". We focus on the Enlightenment desktop and end user choice. We come in the form of a 400mb download that boots as a live CD that works on a wide range of both older and newer hardware. For more information check out http://bodhilinux.com/Please introduce Bodhi's graphics art team. Do any on the team have formal training in graphics art?
Jason Peel - No formal training in design or graphic art. Was self taught in both graphics and web design. Jason is always looking to learn more and fine tune his skills. There is a lot of inspiration available and accessible due to the internet that makes you want to do more and progress.
Micah Denn - I started with an interest for animation and my love for graphics, especially vector images, grew from there. I have no formal training.Who or what influenced you to get involved in the graphics design of Bodhi Linux?
Having been a user of Linux for a number of years I was eager to get involved in some way and make a genuine contribution. As I have a great interest in graphics it seemed the right way to go. I first had the opportunity to get involved providing the logo for the PinguyOS project and met Jeff via the forums whilst he was looking at an E17 version of PinguyOS. I like the way Bodhi has started to form and build on its own values. Since early days these haven't changed, we have a clear mission in the Linux world and it is great to be a part of something you can believe in.
Micah Denn - My friend Jason told me about what he was doing for Bodhi and I jumped at the opportunity to have something to draw.How does input from the Bodhi community figure into the final decision on what artwork will be used?
A great deal of what goes out is community in terms of themes and wallpapers. At this point there is no division in community and official. The size of the Bodhi Linux forum shows us clearly that this works.
The distro will grow based on the community input and that therefore needs to be as open as possible - transparent development is key. From a distro point of view we govern the logo and the website and at this point in time that is more than enough. Basically we ask that all art work use the logo and the correct font if displaying the Bodhi name.Who has the last word on design and artwork?
Themes and wallpapers etc are down to the community as expressed above. We then ensure that all the finished themes are added to the Bodhi Art Wiki.
However with regards to the look of the Bodhi Linux branding, then it comes down to putting a few ideas together and putting them to the main distro leads. The ideas are discussed modified and represented till we have something we are happy with. While doing this the dsitro leads take into account the thoughts and feedback from the wider audience such as review feedback or comments posted on the forum.Bodhi is not very old as linux distros go. Has it changed graphically since the first release?
Jason - Branding wise yes it has, a great deal. We started off on an idea of contrasting the green of the leaf against a black background, we liked it. We also used a strong font that had a line across the tops of the characters, which gave it a slightly Asian feel. However this was met with a lot of negative feedback and we moved away from this. Also as I worked further on the website I found the font to be limited in areas we could use it to represent the overall feel of the distro. New colour concepts where introduced as well. Whilst the leaf has obviously remained green, we have placed this on to an orange edged circle to provide a backdrop to allow it to become more prominent. We also use a gradient of brown and blue, a subtle earth to sky representation.As operating systems evolve so does their artwork. Pertaining to graphics art, in what direction do you see Bodhi Linux going in the future?
I would like to see a Bodhi Linux distinctive and default theme across all sections of the distro from grub to closing plymouth, and work goes on in this area all the time. Add to this our own icon set and I think that will keep us busy.
Also the quality of the Bodhi Linux branding needs to improve. A great post was left on the forum outlining some points for us to consider and work on and that gave me a clear goal to put in the effort to get it right. The development team have some amazing ideas that they are working on. I want the graphics to be just as good as their ideas are!
Concept wise I don't think there will be huge changes, just refinements of the colour scheme as well as the overall look. I want Bodhi Linux to be clear and clean, and I feel we have the basis in place for this now.
However I don't think that we will change the way our great theme community contributes. The forum feedback on the work that they do and their response to requests shows that it is working. We have new users joining the forum regularly asking who to get started putting a theme together for E17. I think the activity in this area is so organic, changing it would really take a lot out of Bodhi Linux. Bodhi Linux starts minimal and invites users to make it their own, this doesn't end with the software they put on it, but very much includes the look and feel they give it.
Micah Denn - I can see Bodhi going very far and possibly becoming one of the leading distros in terms of art. It's already great for young designers to get involved in something.
Has anyone on the team done work for other distros? Are there any Linux groups or sites they've contributed artwork to?
Jason - contribution to the PinguyOS project the original artwork for the logo was done by myself along with a few other bits of graphics. The idea for the logo was from Pinguy, I just turned it in to a usable vector format.
Micah Denn - I made a few wallpapers for pinguyOS and have artwork on E17 stuff and Deviant art.
What are your favorite Linux graphics software programs?
jason - inkscape first and foremost then Gimp with as many extras as I can find. I love vector. It is the only format for logos or branding, thinks need to be scalable. Also layout in inkscape is excellent.
Micah Denn - inkscape is a brilliant piece of software. It's powerful enough for pro users and is so simple to use it's also great for learning. Gimp is very versatile and I'm constantly finding new features and extras for just about everything.
Any thoughts on current ease of use of Linux graphics software. What improvements or changes would you like to see made?
Jason - Speed is the only issue I have with inkscape. Its a known issue with the blurring that it just gets really slow if you have to many drop shadows on a page. Also animation is lacking, I know its on the road map for Inkscape so that will be great to see.
Micah Denn - I'd like to see synfig progress and become more usable.There are a lot of new distros popping up. Is there any advice you'd pass on to developers on the graphics art side of distro building?
jason -Yeah be prepared to have your designs knocked, take the constructive comments and implement them, discard the rubbish from your mind.
Micah Denn - Be open minded and if your ideas aren't working be prepared to change them.If someone wanted to get involved with Bodhi artwork who should they contact?
Jason -For theme and wallpaper creation then the forum really is the best place to come and get involved. Agust is our superhero theme genius. SVG logo artwork is available on the Art wiki as well as links to the font. Download it and go create!
If you have skills in other areas then email Jason who will be more than happy to hear your thought and ideas.Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Jason - Speaking for myself, I'd like to add a big thanks to all the community that have really taken to Bodhi and can see why its different and why it is a much needed distro. For those who haven't done so drop by the forum or irc and see the work the community is doing. Really good work is being done to progress E17 look and feel which relates to its interaction with gtk as well.
Micah Denn - If you haven't already give Bodhi a try please do. You can read loads of reviews but you really need to try it for your self.
Jeff - Enlightenment is still a largely untapped market in terms of themes. The dozen or so themes on the Bodhi art wiki are some of the only current Enlightenment themes that currently work properly. If a budding artist is looking to dive into something where their work won't just get lost among thousands of other selections - this is a good place to start.