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Re: New Icon Set...[echo]...

man, 07 08 2006 kl. 23:58 -0400, skrev Máirín Duffy:

> "My thoughts are we should wait until GNOME adopts it.  If upstream
> GNOME adopts it, it would be a lot easier choice to make." [1]

Admittedly a simplified view, if it got upstream acceptance just like
anything else in Fedora carrying a delta isn't desirable and there would
be a chance it could be used. But please understand that I direct my
efforts where it seems to be best applied and in this case since the
thought was if upstream likes it, we might also like it. I didn't give
lobbying within Fedora much thought afterwards.. that is till I
discovered the new art list by chance (I haven't made much of a habit
out of seeing if we got new lists and I was already on the desktop one
so my thinking was.. fedora-desktop well that would be things like
artwork and usability.. strangely quiet though.)

> I'm one of two people with an @redhat.com email address who actively 
> posts on this list, but: I do not work on the Red Hat Desktop team. I 
> work on a systems management/provisioning platform called Red Hat 
> Network.  The work I do on this list is on a volunteer-basis in my free 
> time (note the time stamp on this email in EST.) My 'dibs' on calling 
> the shots here are strictly as a community member.

My apologies, when I see redhat.com in 9 out of 10 cases this means
employee at least that is the historical outlook on things like this.
Just a side question since you aren't a Red Hat employee, why weren't
you given a fedoraproject.org account - not that it's any of my business
but that would make more sense.. I guess IT works in mysterious ways

> This isn't a community project? Diana hasn't made all the icon source 
> files available, set up a wiki page for people to contribute easily, 
> invited people to comment and help work on it, and we haven't been 
> discussing the issue of icon artwork publicly on this list for months?

And I gave comments, specific feedback.. show me one mail that did not
contain valid concerns. 

> Basically, it comes down to this, David: the people who are artists and 
> who are doing the work on this list would rather not go with Tango. If 
> you care enough to want to help steer a project, you get involved as a 
> *DOER*. Otherwise, you can give your input (which we do care about, but 
> if we catered to only the loudest users, we'd have a very strange 
> product indeed) and move on.

Doer, yes please any opinion I hold does not matter because I have yet
to learn Inkscape. It's not about being loud, it's about the treatment
of special use cases. I still believe that disregarding vision defects
and general poor eyesight will be a problem for Echo and I don't believe
the solution is assigning blame but listening to peoples concerns just

> >> By getting involved, you can influence the direction of things 
> >> rather than ...perhaps feeling a bit antagonized by what other people 
> >> create and throw at you.  If you believe it is beyond help 
> >> then...well...there are other icon sets, not everyone has to use the 
> >> same one.  However, I have seen some useful suggestions even in the many 
> >> emails this weekend and ask that perhaps you can think of it as it's own 
> >> project.  Bluecurve, Tango and others aside, how can we improve echo.

I made general comments on the merits of the icons, I did not turn this
into a personal thing. If I had opened with Diana has about the same
skill as a puddle of mud then sure I would be a bad person and not
listening would be an option. 

> > I opened up with the fact that I have no SVG creation skills, I also
> > have no intention to learn Inkscape. 
> Does the fact that you admitted you don't have SVG creation skills nor 
> are you willing to learn any make your comments any more useful?

Why would I need specific SVG knowledge to be useful, I have experience
dealing with handicapped people and it seems that any such input or
concern is not welcomed without SVG skills.. if that is what it takes
then by all means I'll install Inkspace and come back in 2 years when I
figure out how to use it. Will you listen to concerns about general
design concepts then?

> > I can make comments on what does
> > not work and what does, that is the extend to which I can go. Don't
> > start this put your code where your mouth it. If that was the standard
> > for all Free Software then we would never have any users. 
> How is trolling the list and making fun of my artwork contributions, for 
> example (remember, you made some sweeping generalizations about graffiti 
> art and related my wallpaper to Alice Cooper biting the head off of a 
> kitten [3]) helpful?

You, yourself used the term "Satanist graffiti" in the reply to my
original mail - building on your statement is hardly sweeping
generalisation, besides I kinda like Alice Cooper but that's just my
taste in music, subjective as that kind of thing is. When you as part of
the team present artwork and I feel it might not be suitable for Fedora,
do you expect me to sit quietly in the corner. I opened up with a
question if this was really the overall visual style we wanted for
Fedora. If you were offended then I am sorry it was not the point but I
still don't think graffeti is the way to go. You also didn't mention the
fact that you were not proposing this for the default look. However when
it comes from a "Fedora approved artist" one has to assume that
everything is basically on the eternal quest for a new visual style. I
would personally run screaming from that specific style as it is filled
with stigma as I pointed out in my earlier mail but hey it's art
dabbling is encouraged. You don't seem to take criticism very well, if
you want only compliments, create only good art - yes that is impossible
and when you venture into distinctive styles you are bound to collide
with someone, that means you'll see many more comments from not only me
but everyone who doesn't feel comfortable with the experiment you

> Putting your 'code' (or hard work and time, which doesn't necessarily 
> require code) where your mouth is is how free software has gotten here 
> today. David, do you really think Linux would be where it was today if 
> all the developers sat on mailing lists instead of contributing?

And do you think we would have the framework and understanding of the
needs of users we do today if all we did was code? Usability studies and
all that hard work that gave us GNOME2 was a lot of talk, research and
understanding of human beings - that was mostly talking and

> > We have to be
> > open to comments without giving the standard reply "so where is your
> > fix". It is a perk when users fix your issues in addition to giving you
> > input not a requirement.
> Wait a minute, isn't this *your* issue, not *ours*?

You clearly are not interesting in listening unless I present some work,
I offered to do what testing I could given my contacts with special
needs groups. That counts as work in my book - I also gave plenty of
feedback on specific problematic icons and designs. Where exactly did I
just as you put it "troll"?

I think I mentioned the words vision impairment or similiar concerns
amply to make my point, also implied but maybe not so clear on second
though was that we ship Bluecurve which does take this in consideration
and stopping that year long tradition might be considered an important
feature regression.

> As Diana has said before [4] (almost a month ago), the 16x16 and 24x24 
> Echo icons are planned to be at a 'head on' perspective. Not that 16x16 
> or 24x24 isometric perspective icons can't be used either (as in 
> Bluecurve.) But 'head on' would be better because of the sharper angles 
> Echo has.

Head-on is almost always best for small sizes just given simple trig.
calculation, while it has merit and cool factor when we have ample space
to play with we end up losing a lot to such tricks in lower sized

> > One study you do deserve full credit for though, the facing and
> > prespective study you did on Bluecurve, that pointed out some
> > interesting issues. I promptly put on my whiteboard of things to
> > remember in my review toolbox, I knew Bluecurve was kinda bad in that
> > respect but the range of issues even on a sigle toolbar is scary.
> Nicu put that together. You can see who did what in the wiki history. 
> But those are more packaging errors than actual holes in the Bluecurve 
> icon set, so let's keep the issues we're pointing out straight.

Thank you for the correction, I will remember to check the wiki
revisions next time before attributing Diana wrongly with such brilliant
work. I hope Nicu can forgive me.

> > I don't like the color scheme much either, I was never a big fan of that
> > light blue glass look, it honestly reminds me of the month I spend in
> > the hospital: cold, clinical and industrial (and everything you hear
> > about hospital food is absolutely true btw. it's not fit for human
> > consumption).. it's a bit erie feeling to me.
> Well, at least it's not graffiti style, right? ;) Cold and clinical is 
> at least 'professional'?

I would probably take graffiti over hospital, but that's just me
personally, that experience was rather traumatising and I would rather
not have something love namely computers remind me of places I really
don't like namely hospitals - it's enough I have to go every 6 months
and pop pills like a madman. Cold and clinical is definitely not a
requiremnent for a professional look though. Take the SLED10 theme, that
has a very nice look to it while remaining neutral enough to be used in
many settings. we must have vastely different ideas of what makes a good
design, I nowhere said I wanted a cold erie feel on Fedora.. in fact I
do recall specifically praising you and the rest of the art team for the
wonderfully vibrant wallpaper that shipped with FC5.

> > The battery icons especially just seem overdone. It's one of those
> > things that's hard to put your finger on. Then again I am a big fan of
> > fairly simple icons, when looking at the level of detail I tend to favor
> > the less is more thinking. I also like repeating images to underline
> > functionality. For additional detail read the reply I wrote for the
> > remote folder icon.
> That's nice.

Thank you

> Perspective at 24x24 and below worked fine in the Bluecurve icon set. I 
> work with 16x16 Bluecurve icons all the time in RHN's UI. It is 
> possible, just more or less difficult based on how sharp the angles of 
> your grid or perspective are.

You are right, it's all in the math, I remember the Tango guidelines had
a nice helpful grid view showing the prespective they use in relation to
your icon size. A very helpful indicator and much easier to understand
instantly than dry math (which admittedly would be my approach since
that it what I was trained in - and honestly I find it kind of fun to
see the math behind art).

> The reason you can't just 'pure scale' an icon and expect it to look 
> good (perspective OR flat) is because the computer is stupid and doesn't 
> know where the strong lines are supposed to be and where they are not, 
> so some important lines can fall inbetween the pixels of the small pixel 
> grid and get blurred. It takes careful editing to get a larger icon to 
> come out clear within a 16x16 or even 24x24 pixel grid. So your proposed 
> experiment would not be as productive as it may seem on the surface. If 
> some icons came out clear it'd be due to sheer luck, and/or just because 
> their shapes were simple enough.

I think the intent was clear, scaling does suck for the cases we are
dealing with, but to get an idea of where the loss of usable icon space
in prespective is acceptable. It was not meant to be conclusive but a
rough draft, a hack if you will. My apologies if that wasn't clear.
Seeing is sometimes believing and it did seem like to me that there was
an open question as to when was the right size to start doing a fancy
prespective view instead of the flat head-on look. 

I would think the idea was stongly simplified head-on for 16x16, more
detailed head-on for 24x24 and then after that maybe go to a simple
prespective view with the larger icons adding detail with each step. But
it appeared to me that there was an open question as to when this would
work and this was one way of getting a rough idea nothing more.

> The defined outline doesn't need to be black as in Bluecurve and other 
> icon sets. Using darker shades of colors in the fills of the icons would 
> provide the desired effect on the smaller icons that'd be complementary 
> to the larger ones.

I never said black outline, but a suitable outline never the less, the
effect is quite clear on the back and forth buttons in Echo, without a
defining outline they look washed out which is a pity. 

> Whoah, I thought you were arguing for paragraphs way above that Linux 
> wouldn't be where it was today if it wasn't a meritocracy...? btw where 
> is anybody insisting on taking feedback only from people who can code?

You seem to be quite keen on me going back to learning Inkscape or
gettinf some kind paperwork done before making comments. (see below)

> And how is 'not taking criticism' exemplified anywhere on this list wrt 
> Echo?

I pointed out some obvious concerns, the result has been a long rather
annoying thread not a constructive debate on those issues. I have yet to
see a comment from you on my concerns with regards to visual impairments
and Echos general design.

> But if you are of the opinion that "Artwork should be culturally 
> neutral" [4] I'm not sure how qualified you are to be giving critiques 
> on artistic style or anything having to do with art at all really?

The same way everyone else gets into artwork, being an interested layman
at first. I have been interested on a personal level in visual
presentation (not icon design as such) for most of my life. I think it's
not to far a stretch to want to avoid some cultural pitfalls when
designing artwork. But if you absolutely want qualifications then I can
give you nothing, I have no paper to document a passtime interest over
more than a decade..I had no idea I was required to have such things to
have a valid opinion.

> It's not just 'Fong or Duffy plain not liking it.' The issue is a bit 
> more complicated than that. Go back through the list archives if you 
> care. If not, let's let the bloodied and dying horse lay in peace 
> because quite frankly I am sick of repeating myself on this topic.


> Please note that Diana posted bitmap screenshots of her preliminary work 
> for Echo months ago, and it wasn't just 'flung' over the 'Red Hat walls' 
> but openly discussed.

And I produced feedback within hours of first being pointed to the work
that had already been done, I believe the first time this got a lot of
publicity was when Rahul posted about it either in his blog or on
fedora-devel, I'm somewhat fuzzy on the details right now sadly. I did
however ask the basicly same questions citing Tango and Bluecurve as
things that worked well in general cases and expressed concern that
those aspects of the current design did not get discarded.

> We have an icon theme specifically to address those with visual 
> impairments if you are that concerned. As has been pointed out to you a 
> couple of times now, work on the smaller versions of these icons has 
> barely been started yet. We will change the perspective to a flat rather 
> than isometric one for icons 24x24 and 16x16. Trust me.

It is not about the prespective you don't seem to understand that, but
about the general assumption that cool comes before usable. It feels
like I've been sitting here for hours saying things like color
blindness, slightly less than perfect eyesight, etc. and your answer is
change icon theme. But I also said that this is a bigger issue than just
icons. Changing icons does not change the entire base distro look (rhgb,
gdm, and so much more) to suit these people, in addition small
adjustments can make a big difference to accomidate these peoples needs
there should be no need for them to replace the default icon theme with
another one just for e.g. a small difference in eye sight. Also we don't
provide "Bluecurve High contrast" so we end up asking a user with just a
small vision flaw to pick an entirely different visual design.

> Wait a minute now. If Diana wants to start working on a new icon theme, 
> and is asking for people to comment and help - how is that stuffing 
> something down your throat? Has anybody talked about this being *THE* 
> default for FC6? No! As has been mentioned several times, the set is not 
> mature enough and the deadline for FC6 is such that it very well may not 
> make it. If it's not ready, it's not going to be shipped as the default, 
> end of story. And as you've made a bit more clear than you needed to, 
> no, it is not ready to ship now. So what? It's under open, community 
> development. You complain about things not being out in the community, 
> but then you complain that they're out there and not 100% finished. You 
> can't have it both ways.

It was not a complaint on the completeness of the theme, but I guess I
won't get far debating this any longer. I would have liked it if we sat
down to debate the requirements of a replacement for Bluecurve because
fundamentally Bluecurve caterred quite well to the group of people I am
talking about in addition to pretty much everyone else. Infact from what
I hear from users around me they really like Bluecurve, many even
install Bluecurve in other distros specifically because they like it so

Throwing that out I feel would be a shame and it quite seems that you
are very ready to do so, sure there's the option of using a high
constrast theme instead but how many people will want that. I know I
don't even want to admit my small vision problem and as such I tend to
avoid my glasses. People generally won't admit an eye sight issue unless
it's so bad that they really require very special (and as such out of
the scope of the default theme) designs. I could tell you a story here
so for once I will.

A friend of mine with very bad eyesight is so unwilling to wear his
glasses when using his computer that he runs a modern machine at 800x600
resolution (I believe he has a 20 or 21" flatscreen monitor) with the
biggest icon and text settings Windows XP allows. I tried getting him to
use high contrast themes and otherwise improve his computing experience
but he likes things like this better because it seems less like
admitting a flaw. This is a person with a bad problem who won't admit to
it nor take advantage of the things provided to make his experience more
comfortable. We must have plenty of users out there with very small
problem where a little bit of concern goes a long way towards bring them
a good experience within the sanity of our defaults.

> Is there anything wrong with trying to create a new icon theme? Is it 
> just because Diana has a redhat.com email address that you're upset?

Not at all but it feels like the debate is going: I have concerns, you
handwave and tell me I should go learn Inkscape or get papers to say I
have the right to an opinion. I point out that we did this for years and
the general concensus is that it's no big deal. If that is indeed the
feeling then I will not bring it up again, ever. 

> Right, we know that. Again, the theme is not finished. There is a 
> tension between following Tango's metaphors so having a better 
> cross-Linux distro standard of icons and the potential usability issues 
> with some of the metaphors the Tango icons use.

I did not say the only way to go is Tango (and any derived theme there
of) but I asked several time if we really wanted to throw out the things
we already do with Bluecurve in favor of Echo in which this does not
seem to be a concern. Doing so seems like a feature regression to me.
Moderate adaption to vision impairment shouldn't be that much of an
issue, Tango just happens to do an good job at it - I guess that's
because the artists who started that project thought about it a lot
early on. 

> > I would love to help set up an icon test squad, I can take care of my
> > own handicap and with a bit of wiggling I can send screenshots or my
> > laptop around to my former collegues and get some real feedback from
> > special needs users. But we need more, if anyone knows other special
> > needs users we should welcome them here so that we can get the best
> > compromise between a cool look and a usable look. 
> This sounds exceptionally helpful and I sincerely hope you do start this 
> endeavor. I would be willing to help out.

I will look forward to working with you.. That is right after I get an
art degree, learn Inkscape and have the abilities to do more than casual
reviews. I aim to please.

- David

In case you care, since I'm handicapped and do not work, I dedicate
maybe 10 hours a day to testing, translation work and other assorted
little things within Fedora. I happen to have an interest in artwork
from the stance of usability for very practical reasons, it makes my
life easier and honestly a good usable well crafted icon or interface
just has a certain simple elegant beauty to it - is it wrong to love
that kind of thing without a degree?
I don't get how people can sit down and use GNOME without falling in
love with the concept, it's just something that once you experience how
much better we can make the entire experience when thinking about goals
and users you wonder why we spend a lifetime mapping complex and
detailed computer centric views on interfaces.

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