Bluecurve on the corporate desktop

Linus Torvalds talks about the progression of Linux within corporate environments in a recent article, specifically concerning the desktop. Here’s a quote:

Now, the kernel and other pieces are coming together including office applications, games and Web browsers. This has made the Linux desktop interesting to commercials. Commercials tend to choose one desktop, such as KDE or GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment), and stick with it. There has been some confusion and rivalry that has helped its development. Right now it looks like the two are closing in on each other, for example, with Red Hat’s Bluecurve interface.

It’s really neat that he specifically mentions Bluecurve by name. Trying to bridge consistency across desktop software was one of my primary objectives when originally designing the entire theme set. The goal isn’t fully reached yet, of course (there’s still more software to theme, such as, plus there’s always room for more updates and a more complete icon set by filling in some of the gaps). After all, I’m only one person. *smile*

I know for a fact that making Bluecurve has helped get Linux to a point where it is taken seriously on the desktop. I know this due to several emails over the past two years I have worked at Red Hat. Also, I had a number of large corporate customers (now running Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktop workstations) walk up to me at the show and start talking about how great the desktop looks and that Bluecurve has enabled them to be taken seriously when they originally suggested a roll-out of Linux on the desktop. When I smiled and told them that I was the one who made Bluecurve, they thanked me profusely and talked with lots of enthusiasm. The fact that each was a random encounter (they didn’t know I was the graphical guy beforehand) and that it happened several times is great.

It’s nice to have a positive impact on things, and to know it too.

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7 Responses to “Bluecurve on the corporate desktop”

  1. Agreed – BlueCurve makes a big difference

    Right on Garrett – you deserve this credit. Bluecurve make a huge difference in the overall feel of professionalism and polish when using linux as a desktop (which I am doing as of about a month ago).Thanks – I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work in Fedora.

  2. Trae McCombs says:


    You are just pumped that Linus mentioned your work. πŸ˜‰ Course, if he was going on about one of my songs, then I’d probably be pretty stoked too. πŸ™‚ We all know Bluecurve rocks Gdog. πŸ™‚

  3. brad says:

    Is this interface important anymore?

    I wonder what the value of the GUI…*any* GUI is anymore.How hard is it to find the icon for a web browser in linux? In Windows? In OSX? Does any of Apple’s vaunted UI work really make finding the web browser icon any simpler? Most of the other stuff seems fluffy. Does anyone really use a file manager of any kind? Nautilus is cool but not much cooler than ‘ls’.Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking BlueCurve. I am using it now!What I see as the main point of interest on the desktop is Robert Love’s work of integrating devices. Here is something that *really* needs help and *truly* pays dividends.The UI to me is a dead issue.

  4. You are not everyone.
    The UI to me is a dead issue.

    You think that the user interface is a "dead issue" for you. Maybe for you, you think it is. That doesn’t mean you are right.

    A user interface is much more than an icon to launch an application. It’s everything you interact with as a user of a computer. Guess what? Developers are users too. Everyone using a computer is a user. How you interface with the computer matters.

    Having something usable is important. Let’s take what you said and apply it to something outside of computers.

    I wonder what the value of food… any food is anymore. Who cares about trying other cuisines? Mexican? Italian? Ethiopian? Who cares? I have McDonald’s. It is good enough. Why should I pay more for anything else? Why take a risk going to other restaurants? I know what I get with McDonald’s. More importantly, when I go to other places to eat, they don’t taste like the McDonald’s food I am used to and I wind up paying more as well. Food is food; what does it matter? Those Food Network people should just give up and go home. I don’t need my kitchen anymore, either. Don’t get me wrong; a fridge and a microwave may come in handy for reheating McDonald’s leftovers. What really needs to be worked on is speed. Even at McDonald’s they could make things quicker. I places to go, people to see. Since I think McDonald’s is the only way, I will eat McDonald’s food and only McDonald’s food from now on. Food to me is a dead issue.

    See? It’s silly.

    Besides, would you expect your siblings, parents, or grandparents to fire up a terminal and be forced to use an unintuitive command line? Just because you and I know how to type commands in a text-based shell doesn’t make it the best way to interface with a computer.

    Nautilus can do many things that any text-based way of managing files can not do… such as browse thumbnails. Trust me, it’s a very valuable thing. Dragging and dropping is also quite nice, especially when you do it with more things than just itself, such as applications like the GIMP. Show me "ls" doing drag and drop, graphical selecting, and thumbnailing please. Also please demonstrate "ls" browsing Samba shares, burning CDs, and launching applications.

    The fact of the matter is that user interfaces are important and that there’s still a long way to go. I have contributed to lots of the strides in the Linux world over the past several years, but there’s still room to improve the interface even though it is immensely better now than what it used to be.

  5. brad says:

    Not sure I was clear

    I believe your food analogy is a straw man. I am not claiming that interfaces are not useful – I am claiming that their distinguishing characteristics are no longer visible to the user. I am not criticizing the linux UIs in this regard, in fact I offer that OSX in particular probably offers no premium benefit over GNOME or KDE for the key tasks users wish to perform. So to extend this thinking to your food analogy, what I am saying is that all of the Mexican, Chinese, etc places are serving hamburgers and falsely claiming to offer a premium.

    My feeling that users are spending more time in applications and less time between applications. This is why I prefer GNOME to KDE – I feel the GNOME applications are superior to the KDE apps, although the interface integration for KDE is probably superior, yet lost on me as I spend little time "in the UI" (file manager and such) and more time in the apps.

    >> Show me "ls" doing drag and drop, graphical selecting, and thumbnailing please

    There have been shell projects in the past (xmlshell) that would in fact display images as such on a directory listing.

  6. Good response

    First off, yes, the food analogy was probably a bit of a strawman. Your earlier statements about the UI being dead were also in the same category as well. Both were useful in the regards that each asks for thought and responses. (:

    Second of all, I agree with spending more time in the applications and less between each. That sounds like the right approach. That also is why I prefer GNOME over KDE (as a personal preference, of course — gotta run one more than the other, else you’re just randomly switching desktops for no reason).

    The UI includes applications too, though. Bluecurve affects those as well (and will affect them more over time too). You’re always "in the UI" space, even when in the apps. You’re not always doing file and task management, however.

    There is also a noticeable difference between applications written for GNOME versus ones for KDE, and an even larger difference between the two and those made for Mac OS X (and even Windows, although it isn’t UNIXy in any real respect). The widget set and platform-specific thinking affects the way applications have been made (with regards to interface design). Granted, in each, there are generally similar ways to do similar tasks. Aside from the overall task of clicking on icons, pulling down menus, sending and receiving email, editing documents, and browsing the web, there are different ways to change settings, install applications (and dependancies), archive and back up files, and so on. Even those tasks which are shared between the different desktops are done differently, to a certain extent, however.

    In addition, I have done some other work (more than just theming) that has made its way into applications, such as UI design.

    When I was referring to the user interface and the desktop, I was not referring to only the stuff done between using applications, but everything, including the use of all of the software. Everything should be consistent, look nice, and should be easy (and as fun as possible) to use.

  7. Isaac says:

    Article interesting, but…

    I have read/seen many a discussion/disagreement/argument on this topic. This has been the only one worth my time so far.

    Just a note to say thanks for not making this an argument about weather brad can do a killall -9 guidev before Garrett gets his process manager open or something…

    Sidenote: GNOME rules, and UI development in Linux has been simply amazing, along with the backup of very versatile console tools. IMHO this awesome combonation is what makes a great operating environment.