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A new user experience for Jessy ?

Hey guys !

Yes, Jessy is far from being release as the stable release, but it's not too soon to begin working on the graphic theme, and more generally on the user experience. Indeed, the choice of the Wheezy theme was kind of arbitrary, but it was necessary due to freeze deadline and debian package validation.

Well, let's begin to work then !

Some critics about the Wheezy theme was that "it was just a bunch of wallpapers and backgrounds". That was kind of right. So there I propose a totally new approach for the design and the user experience for Jessy. Before describing the approach, I wish this work to be part of CollabArt [1], as I prefer collaboration than competition (competition that happened for Wheezy).

Well, you all heard about the famous distribution called Archlinux. After long talks with users of the distributions, I discovered many reasons why people are attracted by this distribution. The two main reasons are the packages that are all up to date from upstreams (something that Debian shouldn't and won't compete) and the fact that's a bare and very light distribution out of the box. The latter is interesting, as many of them wasn't aware that Debian can be installed with very few packages. Debian is, actually, a very light distribution. It's just that people are used to download and install the default Gnome distribution.

On the other hand, Debian is not well-known for its simplicity. Actually, I favor Lubuntu and Xubuntu for new Linux users. So we can't set a new default Debian distribution that won't be perfect for newcomer, but will be a good and light start for a medium-experienced user, or for users that want lightness over simplicity.

So I've selected few packages for a bare Debian installation, and I configured them to obtain both a new design and a new experience. Roughly:
- LXDE with Openbox/pcmanfm
- Slim
- Midori
- Xarchiver
- Wicd
- Sylpheed
- I intend to replace xscreensaver by slimlock [2]

There are two screenshots: Slim, and desktop. These are taken directly after the installation of the theme [3 - 4]
To install the theme:
- Setup a minimal (really minimal) Debian Jessy
- Log as root and install the "ca-certificates" package
- Grab the installation script: https://raw.github.com/Vagdish/Debian8-Theme/master/install.sh
- Make it executable (chmod +x install.sh)
- Launch it (./install.sh)
- Wait until reboot.
- I can't find how to change the default gtk theme. So change it from "Clearlooks" (the default) to "Mist".
- Voilà !

Two things to notice:
- Slim and Pcmanfm can't scale the background to fit (like --bg-scale feh option), So we will have to make many wallpapers at different resolution.
- The wallpaper has no license at all. I'm trying to contact the original author. But anyway, the wallpaper is just a part of the whole experience.

I *will* make gnome/gdm/kdm/... themes. Like any other Debian theme, it will act on all required packages. But I want to uses Jessy as an opportunity to change the default Debian set of packages to make it lighter and more attractive.

The project if hosted on Github: https://github.com/Vagdish/Debian8-Theme
I may push it to the CollabArt Gitorious repository if asked.

Thank you !

Adrien Aubourg

[1] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianArt/Themes/CollabArt
[2] http://joelburget.com/slimlock/ (It is currently a part of the upstream Slim)
[3] http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/845/bjsh.png/
[4] http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/89/k41x.png/

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