Ubuntu goin' gray, like the Mac OS way?

A source from inside the Ubuntu team has informed a blogger that there will be an important announcement coming from Canonical regarding a possible rebranding of Ubuntu. A lot of enthusiasts are quick to speculate that the changes will be all about the color schemes used by Ubuntu and that it may go from brown to gray.

Evidence pointing to an Ubuntu makeover is this Ubuntu Single Sign On page where the logo being used is color gray and not the usual brown. There’s also this statement made by Shuttleworth from a recent interview in which he said:

"We'll have some new styling which is going to be the starting point of another five year view. We've been Human for the last five years and now we're going to be light oriented."

I remembered reading an article (I forgot the link) about Mark Shuttleworth expressing his desire to equal or beat Mac OS X in terms of user interface and overall polish, which made me think and agree to all the rumors that Ubuntu might try to imitate the Mac OS desktop interface.

If indeed Ubuntu turns to gray or light oriented as they call it, how will the users react? If you ask me, I wouldn't mind the color change as long as the Ubuntu look will remain unique and not trying to be like a Mac.

What do you think?


  1. For a second I thought the title said Ubuntu going gay like the OSX way

  2. Will make happy all those who have been moaning against brown for years now - I'm one of them!

  3. @anonymous - hahaha! i strongly agree :D

  4. Shuttleworth want's mac users to migrate.

  5. personally I don't like brown one, so I always change theme and background right after the instalation.. my theme is gray already)) what I miss are "paterned" menus.. plane or gradiented window managers are a bit booring.

  6. It's a smart change. IMO, the brown is borderline vomit-inducing.

  7. I think it will look a lot like mythbuntu which personally like better than the orange/brown theme.

  8. It's a tough call. I'm a UI designer and I know how hard it can be to have an aesthetically appealing desktop without shooting for a neutral/transparency color. I don't think it's fair to speculate that Ubuntu will be ripping off OSX, but Shuttleworth knows a lot of an operating system's appeal to a mass market is largely up to the way the interface looks. Let's face it, the Ubuntu Product/Project brought a lot of Linux out of the OS dark ages by implementing and pulling many great projects to one distro.

    I for one welcome any change that brings Ubuntu (and Linux itself) up to speed, and beyond it's competitors.

    Shuttleworth is completely right in naming OSX "the one to beat", but it's going to be a rough road.

  9. Ofcourse coping Mac is not going to happen. The theme will be a cross between Windows AREO (Class and transparency) and Mac OS X metallic ...

    But, it will not be one or the other.

  10. Meh. What is the big deal? KDE is gray-ish to some extent already and it looks great but nobody seems to make a fuss about it. I not only dislike GNOME looks but never was a fan of the mix of brown and orange tones of older Ubuntu releases - although the darker tones in 9.10 is not bad, not bad at all.

    If they want to make Ubuntu better looking then they should not look too far away from home. Linux Mint is pretty much a Ubuntu re-spin with some nice things of its own added that is gorgeous to look at! It _almost_ makes me want to use their GNOME. SUSE may have been the first to use a green theme by default but Linux Mint took it to perfection.

  11. I hope they don't go gray - color is good! Without an underlying color theme, the desktop just ends up looking like a clown - too many random, unrelated colors. And OSX is more a blue theme than gray. Gray may be the most prominent color, but think of all the icons and accents - they're all blue.

    The brown hasn't been the best look ever, but recent iterations have been surprisingly nice. I wouldn't mind a change, but I really hope they keep a color theme and gray is NOT a color! And please, please, please don't go blue either, it's been way over done (by Windows as well as OSX).

  12. I like grey, personally, but I'm not sure that's the best plan for Ubuntu. The orange looked terrible, but the current, kind of chocolate colour scheme is actually quite nice. It's different, warm. Every other OS seems to pick cool or neutral colours.

  13. I thought ubuntu is going to sell hardware, similar to mac.

  14. Grey is depressing as is the existing orange/brown. They should use some nice bright colors that have a look of freshness and are soothing and pleasure to look at - blue would be my choice but I guess that has Windows written all over it. Green like that of Linux Mint is pretty good or look at the colors used in MoonOS. Damn good graphic work. Canonical needs to pay someone to do professional graphic designing and put some thought into using colors. Chics or Linux - looks do matter!

  15. its a DAMN good thing! get rid of that Brown Poo! Ubuntu needs to step up and recieve some visual attention in order to be taken seriously and compete with the Big Boys... Polish the Hell out of it!

  16. Let's try pastel.
    The orange/brown was never nice, though I really don't even 'see' it now. I'm glad Shuttle worth used the word 'light'... the current fad for dark themes is the worst thing of all.

  17. Ok, first of all, the brown color was disgustingly depressing and when friends bought their Dell Mini 9 they were so depressed by the 8.10 I think that they called it worse than Windows 95!!

    That said....WHO CARES?

    I have yet to use a background, theme, windowing or almost anything by default.

    I love KDE but the newest white look really isnt my thing because its a bad contrast for some things so I use one called Slim Glow by that serbian dude Ivan who runs the Lancelot project.
    The default windowing is also horrible for people like myself who have bad eyesight. Oh, its elegant and sleek and each button is about the size of pinhead. So the 'flow' fanatics can rave about its beauty, its useless.
    Instead I use Plastik which has big blocky buttons (and the close one turns red on hover) which I can make bigger by making the title fonts bigger.
    THIS is a must for seniors and bad eyesight people.

    Bottom line: defaults dont matter except for people who are new and dont know how to change things yet.

    And wallpaper changes make me laugh. Oooooh we have new wallpappers!!! What am I ...three?
    Slideshow wallpaper from my personal stash and panels set to disappear when theyre not used is the way I roll.

    Let's be honest, 2-3 years ago we still had problems with drivers, wifi and such so there was still a difference but nowadays the top distros are all 'just works' ready so the difference between them isnt technical but based on other things such as 'buzz'.
    Take the top distros of a certain desktop and they are almost identical (I dare you to look at the default Kubuntu and Mandriva and tell me the difference) with only minor changes to differentiate them.
    So the question should be "which distros should I use?" but "which desktop is more suited and adaptable to my needs and not to those of someone else."

    New default color?

    That source who got the leak story sounds like a planted story to try to get a little buzz going which is very Mac-like. And god knows, the Apple envy is heavy with the GNOME crowd. Id be stunned if they dont get a fruit logo one day.

    >as the Ubuntu look will remain unique and not trying >to be like a Mac.

    Youve got to be kidding. The only thing missing is flyboy wearing a black turtleneck.

    I use Vista7 and Mac at work and various free software deskops at home (Im really into E17 and LXDE but the family is all on KDE4.4) and they are all good.
    This idiotic notion that one way is better is just... idiotic. You use what is best for you...not what someone else tells you you should like. Free software gives me that choice, the other 2 proprietary ones dont.

    I use KDE because its good, because its free as in gratis and because its free as in freedom/libre.
    But more importantly, it reflects my personal needs.

    Having some flow expert explain why a 5pt font is sleek means nothing to me and the top bar? I could do that in WinXP and 98 I think but I dont because I find it more tiring to look at the top of the screen constantly (i even cut my old table to put my old CRT
    sunken inside at an angle) so I fail to see why its better.
    It might be better for some but it is NOT a better way. Its like debating vanilla vs chocolate.

  18. contd-

    >brought a lot of Linux out of the OS dark ages

    This is the kind of stuff/BS i was talking about.
    Ubuntu, last I checked still couldnt get a decent dual boot screen (I could be wrong) and offered a BW DOS like menu while Mandriva and PCLinuxOS among many others offered a less jarring screen back in 2006. User friendly you say?
    I have no beef with Ubuntu, Im using Kubuntu right now, but this is getting more annoying than the Mac revisionist history which I think were much of the Bubuntu backlash comes from. Its not that people envy or care which distro is perceived as better, its the Buntuists have aped all the most annoying qualities of Mac fanbois and everything Buntu does is unique and invented by them. THAT's annoying.

    Ubuntu didnt drag anything anywhere, they just happened to arrive as the desktop was turning around.
    Version 5.04 was horrible but so were most others. By version 7.04, we had turned a corner on the desktop (2007 was the first year I thought I could put my folks on Linux) and more and more driver problems were being solved and more and more companies were coming onboard. Wifi was the big sticking point then but you could see we were almost there. And no way was Buntu better than the #1 distro of that time, PCLinuxOS.
    Now in 2010, the GNU-Linux desktops have reached maturity and ALL distros are better. Has Buntu contributed? Sure but what they have done isnt groundbreaking or exceptional modifications.

    of course popularity means that we have people now with 18months of Ubuntu under the belt who are telling people 'how it was'.

    I understand wanting to belong, rooting for a team/cause and all that but it reminds me of the (again) idiotic debates we used to have about Compiz, Beryl, Fusion and god know swhat else it was called or Kwin/Compiz now.... they do the same thing and if one thing is popular, the other groups adds it to their arsenal. Thats the free software way.
    We all benefit.
    And as always, 'my ---- is the bestest' is a waste of time and in the Linux world, usually a pretty subjective argument coloured by other things than technical merit.

    But leaking a possible desktop color change (or even having this be a secret) sounds like a page from the Mac "how to create buzz" book.
    Maybe Im getting old and am not impressed by superficiality as much.

    ned F.

  19. FINALLY!!

    This is the reason I have always hated Ubuntu, the stupid ugly brown.

  20. The OS to me is like a coffee machine. I am not really interested in how it looks, only in what it can do for me. Since the look and feel is so easy to change, I couldn't care less if Ubuntu went from brown to grey.

  21. Color change? Fine by me, I've never liked the brown and always change it when I (re)install. I hope they don't copy the Mac though. I believe Linux has its own merits and the interface should reflect and highlight those.

  22. In a off-beat way, considering the meaning of "ubuntu", this article immediately made me think of the story "The Lathe of Heaven" and what went wrong after an attempt to wipe out world racism: "When Haber directs George to dream a world without racism, the skin of everyone on the planet becomes a uniform light gray."


  23. ubuntu needs more "style", but has to keep original and unique

  24. If it's true, I think its a big mistake. The brown theme was part of the branding of Ubuntu. Fedora is blue, SUSE is green and Ubuntu is brown. Most people liked the brown, and it was only a vocal minority who did not. Big mistake.

  25. brown? mine is mint green!

  26. To be honest Ubuntu presence is horrible!!! First thing installing Ubuntu is to ask for better themes and change that awfull brown color. Better interface and presence for the beggining!!! Great idea!

  27. i've been graying my ubuntu for a while prefer the new wave w/ dark menus theme

  28. I like the minimal and greyed out look, but I still feel a dash of brown or orange should be still used, albeit more sparingly. Windows is blue and the OSX is already grey, so by copying it, Ubuntu loses its identity.

  29. I think after five years some change is will be good. Even with a new theme as the default you can still have improved versions of old themes as an option.

    I think not trying to copy Windows anymore is the right thing to do. The best example to me is the iPhone instead of copying everyone else it did things its own way and now its the market leader.

    Just like on the iPhone apps make the product powerful and Ubuntu should try to do similar.

    Trying to rank higher than MAC is a good short term goal but don't think it is wise to stop copying one OS and start copying another.

    To have better appeal and a better OS than MAC should be the aim.

  30. Well, I'm now glad I didn't buy that brown Ogio messenger bag from the Canonical shop.

    In the meantime, I hope they concentrate less on colors an more on interface. I have a Mac Mini and so much of it makes sense, and that has nothing to do with brown vs. Gray.

  31. how about pink??? lol

  32. I really don't worry about color change,, but ubuntu really need to polish the menus and UI controls

  33. Why not? Ubuntu copied everything else from MS Windows.

  34. I'm not sure about grey, but dark brown could be okay. Very dark. I always hated the orange parts, they burn a hole in my eyes.
    Black could be nice too.

  35. Light != Gray

    The new Ubuntu look released yesterday does not incorporate gray, but is based on the idea of light. I assume the new login page chose a gray logo for simplicity sake, not to copy anything from Cupertino.

  36. i guess you wrote this article before the ubuntu 10.04 is out, so let me inform you a little bit

    ubuntu did changed from brown to somethng else, but it is not light gray, it is more of a darkish gray with purple and some orange, unlike the light gray mac

  37. and i forgot to mention ubuntu already beat macintosh (go online and search for os of the choice)

    and i think what really attracted mac users is the price, it is so expensive and people wanna show how rich(or retarded) they are. And i think they use mac because mac doesn't require people to "download" and "install" anything as most needed programmes are already preinstalled, not to mention how easy it is to launch a program (by pressing a button on the dock)

    so in conclusion, i think people like mac because it is much more user friendly, not because it's gray (or somehow elegant)

    and btw most programmers/hackers/crackers doesn't like mac unless they are modelling or doing graphical things

    i use ubuntu 10.04