Which dress for Helena?

Linux Mint traditionally uses a dark background and a light theme.

Linux Mint 3.1 Celena, 4.0 Daryna, 5 Elyssa and 6 Felicia looked like this:

Mint 3.1 Celena

Mint 4.0 Daryna

Mint 5 Elyssa

Mint 6 Felicia

We were happy with this theme and it suited most people.

When Linux Mint 6 Gloria was ready to come out people wanted something new, a new artist called Zwopper had surfaced in the community, and there was a new popular style available for Gnome called Shiki. I remember being nervous about changing the theme and so we decided to go for it in the RC release and see what would happen next. The success of the new theme was phenomenal and so we decided to keep it for the stable release. As a consequence, Linux Mint 7 Gloria looked radically different:

Mint 7 Gloria (Shiki theme, Dew wallpaper)

The artwork used for Linux Mint 7 (above) was Shiki for the theme (as opposed to Murrina in previous releases) and “Dew” (by Zwopper) for the wallpaper.

In Linux Mint 8, my intention was to keep the Mint 7 theme and to use a new wallpaper from Zwopper called  “Fresh”:

Shiki theme, Fresh wallpaper

Many members of the development team commented on the wallpaper and expressed concern about it. The “Fresh” wallpaper was kept in the default installation (it’s available in the “Appearances” tool in your Mint 8 RC1 desktop) but the default wallpaper was changed to a new one, which was designed by Johonunu. The team was much happier with this new wallpaper and so Linux Mint 8 RC1 ended up looking like this:

Shiki theme, Johonunu wallpaper

The reason I’m talking about all this, of course, is because I see a lot of concern in the feedback I’m receiving for this RC. Many people aren’t happy with this default wallpaper and I don’t know if it’s just that those who like it simply don’t feel the need to say it, or if, really, that wallpaper just isn’t popular.

I know we’re only talking about the looks here, and there are more important things to focus on, but we have time to think about this before the stable release. No matter what people say, the first look, the general impression given by the desktop actually means a lot. Even if people change the wallpaper and the looks then-after, the first impression is nonetheless very important, so it’s important to get it right.

I’ve created a poll below. I would like people not to just look at the screenshots, but to go in the “Appearances” tool and to try the different themes and the different wallpapers before making up their mind. A wallpaper can look very different in a screenshot than when it’s actually used as your wallpaper. One of the options is to organize a paid contest to quickly get new wallpapers on a website like 99designs.com for instance. It’s not my preferred option, not because of the money it would cost but because we would potentially run out of time in asking you what you though of the “new” one.. it’s an option nonetheless, so if you think none of Dew, Fresh, or the older themes are suitable, then please vote that option.

Finally, this is a poll, not a vote. Decisions are taken in accordance with what we think is best and our judgement relies on your feedback.  Many thanks in advance for taking part in this poll.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.