FreeBSD's Visual Identity: Outdated?

Joshua Lokken joshua.lokken at
Thu Dec 23 09:41:38 PST 2004

On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 12:27:31 +0100, jsha <johann at> wrote:
> Hello.
> I am writing this e-mail hoping that someone will share my thoughts
> on how the world's best operating system should represent its attributes
> and users to the rest of the world.
> Being an architect as well as graphic designer, I feel it is about time
> for a complete revamp of the visual aesthetics of the FreeBSD project.
> The current logo and everything pertaining to it has long since lost its
> modern touch. I believe that if this image is strenghtened, so is the
> way outsiders view the FreeBSD project and the way they would judge it
> compared to other open source operating systems.
> 1. Not only is the logo misleading (associating evil) but it also looks
>   like something 10-year-olds could produce in Paint Shop Pro ten years
>   ago. OpenBSD has an artistic touch to theirs, however I was very
>   disappointed when I heard that the new NetBSD logo was in effect.

Please see the countless other posts in the archives regarding
the 'evil' attribute beastie connotes.  You oughtta come up with
something else--you may find that others with the team think the
very same thing, however, you may find that they don't, and are
really attached to the Beastie mascot.  As a FreeBSD user and
advocate, I like Beastie, however, it never, ever has come up in
my many hours of FreeBSD use or tutelage.  Never.  I just don't
think it's very pertinent.
> 2. If it wasn't for the interesting content and structure of the FreeBSD
>   website, it would be among the less beautiful. Yes, it serves its
>   purpose well by being simple and straight to the point. But a redesign
>   could offer just the same -- simplicity and accuracy -- without being
>   ugly.

Again, as others have suggested, submit a design.  Personally,
I say please don't touch the website design.  It's very ordered,
not cluttered, easy-to-navigate, and simple.  A web page after
my own heart ;)  A flashy freebsd advocacy site, maybe.  I'm 
not a web developer, but I think you'd be challenged to come 
up with a 'simpler' design.

> 3. The installation, even though it's text-only, could also be improved
>   by simple restructuring to act more cognitive and human-centered than
>   previously. Everything pertaining to the eye is important to improve.

Why is that?
/sheepishly/ I like to sit and watch screens of code go flying by,
sometimes for hours, while ports are building.  I don't read it, nor
could I, I just think 'it's cool'.  To me, that's eye candy./sheepishly/  
Do I think it needs to be a bigger part of the OS installation?  No.  
Do I want to watch a sickly-blue background with soothing images 
and blocks of reassuring text cycling before me while (something?) 
goes on in the background during the installation of the OS?  
Not really.  IMHO, snazzing up the install process would only be a 

> 4. There should be some kind of FreeBSD business card and letterhead
>   available to all that support this project.

Am I the only one that sees this idea as nothing more than
potential for disaster?

> How do I know though, that if I manage to pull together a team to work
> on this refined vision, that we won't be totally ignored even though we
> produce the most magnificent result?
If you pull together a team, and they really work on these
issues, I would be willing to bet that you won't be ignored.
Probably, the main reason alot of these things haven't been
implemented already is lack of time on the part of the FreeBSD
team, and the lack of urgency for those specific aspects you
mention.  I say go for it.  Good luck, and thanks for the email :)

Joshua Lokken
Open Source Advocate

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