FreeBSD's Visual Identity: Outdated?

Alexander Leidinger Alexander at
Fri Dec 24 04:28:46 PST 2004

On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 12:27:31 +0100
jsha <johann at> wrote:

> 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.

You know that you write this a t a time where a lot of people are
visiting their family and don't have email access or don't read the
mailinglists? At least this is the case for a lot of FreeBSD committers.

> 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.

Even if a lot of committers won't/can't answer now: there are people
which agree with you (maybe not all, but you know what we say about
bikesheds, don't you?).

> 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

We had an discussion a while ago about this. The way I understand the
conclusion is: we have a mascot, but no logo (we may use our mascot like
other people use a logo ATM). And we want to keep the mascot. We may be
interested in a logo, but a logo is a bikeshed topic. Since we're more
developers than designers, nobody stepped up to proceed on this topic
(at least I don't know about it if someone proceeded further).

If you want to put your energy into creating a logo, there will be
people which listen to you.

>    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.

This is a little bit harsh. I suggest to stay with facts and
suggestions. Keep such rants for your personal pleasure, we don't need

> 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.

The doc team is progressing in this direction... at least if I read the
content between the lines of commit logs right. I think they try to
separate the content from the design at the moment (the prerequisite to
use the full power of CSS). I suggest to get in contact with them to not
reinvent the wheel.

> 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.

Yes. AFAIK the Freesbie project is integrating the bsdinstaller (the
installer DragonFly uses) ATM. We will see how this works out and
depending on this there may be interest to integrate the installer into

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

Even if there are some people which don't think this is needed, I like
this idea. In may day to day job I'm working as a consultant, so I know
where/how/why this may be beneficial (or not).

> 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?

We can't guarantee that any of your work will be adopted, but I don't
think your work will be ignored (be prepared to get a lot of critique...
positive and negative one).


              The best things in life are free, but the
                expensive ones are still worth a look.                       Alexander @
  GPG fingerprint = C518 BC70 E67F 143F BE91  3365 79E2 9C60 B006 3FE7

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