Today we introduce you to Linux Mint. The artwork team is directed by McLovin and a dedicated group of active art team members (sputty01, Zwopper, carlos, omns, akaNed and Jernau), and a very helpful general community. Q -- Tell us a little about Linux Mint.
A -- LinuxMint is a Linux distro derived from Ubuntu. While a lot people believe it is based on Ubuntu, that is not entirely true. It is true that Mint uses a lot of the resources that are used by Ubuntu and the upstream advancements. It branched off of Ubuntu after Mint 2.2 and all later releases are based from there. It is basically made to be extremely user friendly. You boot it up, install it, and it for the most part just works. All codecs are pre-installed so there is no hunting down the codecs for flash, mp3's, dvd's etc. They are all there for you ready to use. There are tools to install drivers for just about anything you may have in your system from video drivers to Windows wireless drivers. In my opinion, it is the easiest Linux for a newcomer.Q -- What drew you to your chosen distro?
A -â€“ McLovin - Ease of use, size and helpfulness of the community and of course the look. I liked the look and feel of Mint the first time I used it. I also like the fact that when I decided to try it out, it just worked. Right out of the gate codecs, video drivers and wireless, it all worked. Sure there was some tinkering I had to do to get things just the way I wanted, but that's true with anything not just Linux or computers in general.
sputty01 - I was briefly an Ubuntu user. I spent a few days sorting out my system with everything I wanted only to stumble upon Mint. Mint had everything I wanted out the box and did it with a very professional look about it. I took a look in the forums and saw a warm and welcoming community which was open to new ideas and placed everyone on an equal footing. Everyone is treated the same, 1 post or 10,000.
Zwopper - Speed, simplicity and an active community with the main developer being very active! - Keep it up Clem!
carlos- Windows drove me to her.
omns - I've been using Linux in many flavors for the last 12 years or so but about 2 years ago I found myself in a complete OS X environment at work and lost touch with Linux a bit. When my work situation changed I came looking for a new Linux distro. I was tired with the endless cycle of breaking, fiddling and fixing things things with distros of the past. I gave Ubuntu a run for a month or two and was quite impressed with how much it had improved but eventually Mint grabbed my attention. For an old linux hand who just wants a system that works and is very reliable, Mint is a dream. Clem and his team really do a great job with each release.
akaNed - I was originally drawn to Mint simply because it was something new. I stuck with Mint because it has taken Ubuntu and added some very refined and helpful utilities. The community is a big part of what has kept me there.
Jernau - Linux Mint's functionality, ease-of-use and elegance.Q -- Give us some history on each of the Linux Mint art team members. Who are they and how long have they been involved?
A -- McLovin - I personally have been involved in the LinuxMint forums, trying to help people when I could since Aug. of '07, (Mint 2.2, Bianca), and in the Art Team from the beginning of it. The whole thing got started during the development of Mint 5, Elyssa. There were a lot of us making and posting wallpapers and other artwork for Mint and I had seen some art teams for other distros, Fedora and Ubuntu, for starters and asked Clem, (the creator, and head developer of LinuxMint), if there was an official LinuxMint Art Team or if there was any interest in creating one.
As it turned out, there had been thoughts of an Art Team but there didn't seem to be enough interest or resources for maintaining one. Like most Linux distros Mint is completely maintained by volunteers. As a result of this forum post/question a lot of other forum members and members of the development staff started gaining interest in the idea of having an Art Team. I think a lot of us believed that it would help to get the Mint name out and to help raise LinuxMint to a higher level. Hopefully getting up to that of Ubuntu or even Fedora. So that gave birth to the LinuxMint Art Team and for my interest and initiative was made the director.
The team itself is composed of many many members It's not so much of a closed team, but as a part of the community where anyone can post artwork. Though there are a few key members that do contribute tons of artwork, the most active members are....
sputty01 - Personally I first contributed during the release of Elyssa, so 6 months.
Zwopper - So I am "Zwopper" - I've been doing art for Linux Mint for about a year now (December 2007). I like to give a little back to this wonderful distro in any way that I can be it artwork or translation or the occasional tip in the forum.
carlos - I was involved after the release of Bianca.
omns - I'm a relatively new kid on the block in regards to Mint, only being involved since July of this year. I've only recently become more involved with Art Team activities and organize our regular Wallpaper of the Month entries and poll.
akaNed - I've been creating wallpapers for about six months and I can't remember what drove me to start down this crazy road.
Jernau - I first got involved with the Linux Mint art team in March 2008.Q -- Does anyone on your team have formal training in graphic art? If so, what kind of training and where did they study?
A â€“- I do not, but there a couple of members who do have a little training.
carlos - I have a desktop publishing background and some graphic arts training. Other then that just artistically inclined and web savvy.
sputty01 - No formal training yet. I will be studying multimedia development & graphic design at a university starting next September though. I did spend a couple of weeks at Grey Matter Design & Marketing Agency getting to see how the development process is approached in a commercial environment. I learned a lot of what I know now thanks to that brief time.Q -- If not, what got them started using graphics software or what influenced them to get involved?
A -â€“ McLovin - I got started with graphics software when I was a kid, I think I was about 6 or 7 years old, using an Apple IIe creating those printouts out of a bunch of X's. and have just been going on and on from there.
sputty01 - I made my first website in the days where AOL was king (I was 8 at the time!), and over the last 10 years I have tried to improve on what I have previously created, that's just progressed to this day.
Zwopper - I've been creating music for well over 30 years and for some reasons I can't seem to find time for that as of late. About two years ago I discovered Gimp and my life has never been the same since.
omns - I have always enjoyed the idea of creating a look for my desktop that is unique and no one else has thought of. Sharing it later on and having people enjoy it is a bonus.
akaNed - I've always been interested in art and digital art was an accessible means to an end. I'm not sure why I started creating art for Mint but the community of artists is very supportive and more than willing to help out newcomers.
Jernau - Photography has been a hobby of mine for five or six years and that's what got me started using Photoshop. I originally got involved creating Linux Mint wallpapers purely because there weren't any available for my monitor's resolution... then I got hooked.Q -- What are their favorite Linux graphics software programs?
A -â€“ For the most part, we all use Gimp and Inkscape. A couple of us use Fyre, Xara and Photoshop. And a couple use Blender.Q -- Can you tell us how you arrived on the basic theme of the artwork? One person's vision or a team effort?
A â€“- The art for LinuxMint is decided by the head developer and creator of Mint, Clem. Though he does tap the art-work created by the community. As for the artwork overall, it is a complete community effort. No one person does it all. We all make artwork, put it up on our forums and discuss what we each made. We give constructive criticism and it helps to bring all of our artwork to a higher level.Q -- Who has the last word on design and artwork?
A â€“- As I said, the head developer and creator of LinuxMint, Clem, has the final say on everything. Be it art or the direction of the distro itself. Though he does tap the community for new ideas and work, be it art or anything else.Q -- How does your art team interact with your community? Does the general community contribute art work, such as on splash screens, icons or wallpaper?
A -â€“ The Art Team is the community. We don't have the same philosophy as say, Fedora, where you have to apply to be part of the team and then follow a lot strict guidelines. Anyone is more than welcome to create art and submit it on our forums where they can get some input on their work. Maybe even get it added to the art-work for an upcoming distro.Q -- Any thoughts on ease of use or what you'd like to see added or changed in Linux graphics software?
A â€“- For the most part the Art Team is in agreement on this one. An overhaul and improvement on Gimp. A little better render speed in Inkscape and a Linux native Photoshop.Q -- As operating systems evolve so does their artwork. What direction or development would you like to see with your work pertaining to the future of your Linux Mint?
A -â€“ McLovin - I would like to see my own personal work improve, like most artists, and evolve with Mint, bringing the quality to a professional level and hopefully as I said earlier, reach a level to that of Fedora.
sputty01 - Personally I think macro photography will be the way forward, capturing a split second in such detail just amazes me.
Zwopper - I would like to improve my skills and produce better and better artwork. Hopefully to the point where my art helps Linux Mint to reach more people.
carlos - I'm not into web 2.0 design fads being integrated into OS design treatments. I'd love for it to stay elegant and clean. The more cluttered, the messier things will look. But I am biased, I'm into a simplified look.
omns - I'd like to see the team and community remain relaxed, encourage each other and enjoy what we do.
akaNed - I personally would like to expand my work into areas other than just wallpapers.
Jernau - I only see good things in the future for Linux Mint. As the distribution continues to improve so must the art team so we can keep Linux Mint looking as good as it deserves to.Q -- What other Linux distros have you done work for? Any independent Linux groups you've contributed artwork to?
A -- The only ones who really do anything else for another distro are Zwopper, and akaNed. Other than that, most of us are just doing stuff for Mint.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 -â€“ McLovin - I remember something that someone said on the forums once about default themes, that artwork is very subjective. You are trying to make something to please everyone, which is impossible. So when you are working on your art, just do what you like and remember that it isn't going to be to every ones liking.
sputty01 - Art is a very subjective thing. If you're in doubt about the quality of your skills then make sure you ask around for experience graphics designers. The linux community is full of very talented people who would be more than willing to put forward their ideas and proposals. Make sure you keep your options open and something beautiful will come out of it.
Zwopper - Invite as many people as possible, set guidelines, and have fun. One distro that I personally will follow with great interest graphic-wise is SliTaz, they've got some good things going for them!
carlos - Art is subjective. Do what you love and you will find your niche.
omns - Harness and encourage the enthusiasm of the community. Relax and enjoy what you do.
akaNed - If you can get a community of artists such as we have here at Mint, give them a direction, a logo, and let them run free. The art will ensue.
Jernau - Keep it simple, clean and elegant.Q -- If someone wanted to get involved with Linux Mint artwork, where would they go?
A -â€“ Just come to the forums, http://www.linuxmint.com/forum
. Go to the artwork section and just start going for it. Anyone is welcome to create artwork for LinuxMint. This is not a closed team. The Mint Art Team is a community project, artwork made by the community for the community.Q -- Anything else you'd like to add?
A â€“- I think that the way the Mint Art Team is, is a great example of how to get as much art as possible and be able to select from a huge resource of art-work for the distro. If anyone can create art for you, you will have so many more options available to you.
We'd like to thank the artists at LinuxMint for taking the time to do this interview. Keep up the great work. You're putting out a classy looking distro.