It is a pleasure to feature Dreamlinux and Andre (andrefelipe) this month. DL is a sharp looking distro and that only becomes possible because of someones talent and hard work. Linux Graphics Users forum is determined to spotlight those who continue to show what can be accomplished using Linux graphics software.Q -- Tell us a little about DreamLinux.
A - Dreamlinux Project is live for three years. Our main goal was and still is to provide a distro that can be easily extended to meet any user requirements. This is the "dream" concept that name the project. We didn't reach this goal in full yet but Nelsongs, the main software engineer backing the project, is working hard to finish a series of scripts and applications that will soon make this dream come true.Q -- What drew you to your chosen distro?
A - I've always considered GNU/Linux a wonderful and captivating idea since its beginning in the 90's. The possibility of customization and the freedom to build up an interface is rather motivating. I made several experiments before meeting the team that started Dreamlinux. Then I teamed up with them. Prior to that I made some customizations in existing distros, modifying icons and themes for I have always noticed large deficiencies in usability and a noticeable lack of aesthetics. Dreamlinux helped me to get a graphically homogenous environment, what has always been my personal goal.Q -- Give us some history on each of the DreamLinux art team members. Who are they and how long have they been involved?
A - Opposite to what most people think there's no art team in Dreamlinux. The wholly graphic art, themes and icons are made by myself. Recently Ruud Kuin has joined our team and is producing nice artwork that is being collected in his blog and eventually will make their way into the distro. The team that develops Dreamlinux is a tiny one: besides me there's Timo Valtoaho, a Finnish guy who takes care of our kernel and Nelsongs, who started Dreamlinux project.
And there are the Dreamlinuxforums members (http://www.dreamlinuxforums.org
) , headed by Rich, owner of the Linux Hardcore website, that support and promote Dreamlinux. They're doing superb work and are helping us not only with tests and feedback but mainly promoting the distro and helping to solve problems our community users report.Q -- Do you have formal training in graphic art? If so, what kind of training?
A - I do not have any academic degree in art, I am self-educated in graphics design. I'm interested and work in the graphics design market for many years. My first background was oil painting, pencil drawings and carvings (anybody out there who knows what those mean?). Later I worked in the industry as Designer of sport shoes and nowadays I work in the area of package design.Q -- If not, what got you started using graphics software or what influenced you to get involved?
A -- I've been always interested on computers since the 80's. Computer Aided Design has always been something that attracted me much and I've been always wishing to learn 3D design mostly. I started with MS-DOS, then Windows Macintosh and Linux. This is quite the common history of all designers.Q -- What is your favorite Linux graphics software programs?
A -- Inkscape, by far the most extraordinary software ever created for digital artwork. I didn't have the opportunity to thank the Inkscape development team yet for this great tool, that's what I do now. They've created the tool I've always dreamed of, a vectorial Photoshop! I have no better definition of it!
Gimp too is a very capable software and has improved a lot in its 2.6 version. It still has a steep learning curve when compared to Inkscape but is going to be a serious Photoshop competitor.Q -- Can you tell us how you arrived on the basic theme of the artwork? One person's vision or a team effort?
A -- MacOS-X influence in Dreamlinux is without question. However I didn't wish and still don't wish to simply copy it. All the themes and icons try to appeal the same aesthetics but are created from the scratch. The trend is that we step out from Mac's influence, creating a self identity with a usability feature that makes people to recognize Dreamlinux by means of only watching its interface.Q -- Who has the last word on design and artwork?
A -- Any of us approves our own modifications, additions, etc. once we're only three developers working on distinct areas.Q -- Does the general community contribute art work, such as on splash screens, icons or wallpaper? Do you look for input from the community?
A -- There are some initiatives among our forum members regarding artworks and wallpapers. All good ideas are welcome. We can accept work made by our community but they must follow some rules so as to guarantee that they will all eventually comply with our standard.
Q -- Any thoughts on ease of use or what you'd like to see added or changed in Linux graphics software?
A -- Many graphics and 3D applications nowadays belong to major players, such as Adobe and Autodesk, what's a pity. I see GNU/Linux as a counterbalance to this hegemony. I would like to see more initiatives, especially in Open Source 3D and video edition, but I can understand that such initiatives would go against the many commercial interests. However, it wouldn't be that bad if the same companies that have the market monopoly nowadays would launch those applications for Linux as well, even if they we had to pay for them.Q -- What other Linux distros have you done work for? Any independent Linux groups you've contributed artwork to?
A - I have never contributed to any distro other than Dreamlinux. As Dreamlinux looks promising I intend to continue dedicating my free time to it.Q -- There are a lot of new distros popping up, seemingly every day. Any advice you can give them on the graphics art side of it?
A -- The main suggestion I could make is to follow a good balance policy. And having a good-looking taste. For years Linux has been a bunch of different programs using widgets and libraries that visually didn't fit together, like motif, lesstif, gtk1, tk, qt, etc. Gtk2 represented an important evolution in unifying its interface but still need some improvements. Who knows we could expect a Gtk3? My suggestion to other distros is that they try to unify their interfaces without using elements that visually confuse users. Opening a gtk1 application under a gtk2 environment is horrible: nothing fits. Do not copy icons from other OSes, like those of Vista mixing up with Tango. They simply don't fit together.Q -- If someone wanted to get involved with DreamLinux artwork, where would they go?
A -- Our forum is open to anyone who would like to participate and contact us. We're always in need for help. Here is the link http://dreamlinuxforums.org/Q -- Anything else you'd like to add?
A -- Do use GNU/Linux, no matter what distribution you choose! Try to use free and open source graphics software. It's worthwhile and cost nothing! If you use a commercial software give an Open Source equivalent a try. With the use you'll feel more and more comfortable. The major work I currently make, even those commercial ones, are entirely made using Inkscape. And using Dreamlinux.
Best regards to you all and, on behalf of Dreamlinux Team, thank you very much for this opportunity.