back to article Ubuntu Lucid Lynx changes its spots

Canonical is replacing its signature brown color scheme with the debut of Ubuntu 10.04, the next major release of the popular Linux distribution. Departing from six years of interface tradition, Canonical has revealed a new "light" default theme and updated Ubuntu logo that introduces a pallet of purple, orange, slate grey, …


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  1. criscros

    Not bad

    You should have put up screenshots of Bing, though ;)

  2. Bill Neal


    what's next, Drunk Dragon? Dreaming Dog? Anemic Anteater? Fried Frog? Bumming Baboon? ubuntu still feels like a mac to me, but it is a great thing to see linux (in any flavor) get more attention from younger crowds.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Moronic Micturater?

      Actually, I wouldn't know, not having drunk from the cup yet...

      BTW: From Wikipedia

      With the exception of the first three releases, code names are in alphabetical order, allowing a quick determination of which release is newer.

    2. garbo Bronze badge

      It goes by the alphabet, so...

      after Lucid Lynx comes, Mummified Mongoose, Mangled Moose, Motheaten Mamba? Then onward to Necrotic Nit, Nasty Newt, Nefarious Nematode? Over to you, Mr Shuttleworth.

      Mine's the Rabid Racoon coat...

      1. Ian Stephenson

        Are you sure it's not....

        Rampant Rabbit?

    3. Peter Murphy

      The next letter is M, so how about "Morose Mancunian"?

      That could work. Just get Peter Saville to do the colour theme, and replace the happy Ubuntu startup drumbeat with the first few bars of "She's Lost Control".

      Mine's the one with "Meat is Murder" in the pocket.

      1. A. N. Other

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        "and replace the happy Ubuntu startup drumbeat with the first few bars of "She's Lost Control". "

        I so want it to do this.... or maybe some Mark E. Smith...

        A pint to you sir, for this inspiration!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Title goes here

    Brown, Orange and Purple.

    Let me guess: The designer wears flares and has big hair. Amirite?

  4. technome


    ... you can polish a turd.

    1. David 141

      Beats Office

      Anything is better than Office 2007's powder blue colour scheme.

      1. sandman

        Powder blue?

        Haven't you changed the default colour to something better yet?

    2. The BigYin


      That's the MS business model alright.

      Now, about Linux...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Looks good

    Now if they could only get rid of that mono shite

    Paris, because she loves linux.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I always hated that doo-doo brown color scheme. Why did they ever choose it in the first place?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Help me out here.

    And the difference between the light and dark theme is, what?

    1. Andy Jones


      Don't look at the background. Look at the open Windows!

  8. cuna
    Thumb Down

    Not a fan

    So all the window controls are way off to the left and the dark colour scheme looks like Vista.

    I'm not loving it.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    So ...

    Is it a good thing that the only reason to care about the latest Linux distribution is the new seasons colours?

    I suppose it means that everything just works - you aren't waiting for a distro that finally supports Adaptec scsi cards or 100Base network, like 10years ago, - but it seems a bit depressing.

  10. Clinton

    Looks good but...

    I also notice they've swapped to mac-esque minimize/maximize/close buttons. Colours look neat, but no program bar at the bottom by default? Guess some tweaking is in order.

  11. Charles Manning

    Small team helmeted by Mark Shuttleworth

    So colours and fonts are now what defined cutting edge OS design? The only positive is that this will make the old tshirts into collectibles.

    Still, I have 5 boxes running Ubuntu. I hope they let me keep brown.

  12. Goat Jam

    Well thank god for that

    No more "poobuntu" jokes from the wintards here! I just hope it is better than Karmic, which, IMHO was pants. In fact, it seems to me that for the last few years all the .10 releases were crap. Intrepid wasn't to good either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Now it's going to be mardi-gras-buntu.

  13. J 3
    Thumb Up


    Good change, finally.

    Not that it matters much, but maybe I won't have to spend 2 or 3 minutes after next install changing the looks of the thing anymore, we'll see. At a minimum I always change the panels to be slightly transparent and the wallpaper to be something darker. This looks more like it to my taste.

    The dark version of the new theme reminds me a bit of the New Wave theme (ships with Ubuntu, but it's not the default) that I use with small modifications, although the colors are a little different.

  14. solarian

    reminds me of...

    Reminds me of the way the BBC always depicts Labour Party apparatchiks. Always with a purple background. Yikes!

  15. mike panero


    So someone finally listen to the "it looks like shit" comment every Joe Sixpack gave upon seeing ugboogo!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Seems familiar?

    Why didn't they just name the 'Light Theme' Snow Leopard and save themselves the bother??

  17. Suntan
    Thumb Down

    looks nasty

    wasn't a massive fan of the brown but this just looks nasty to me

  18. Zzzzeb
    Thumb Down

    Why different again?

    Why would they think that it's a good idea to change the windows controls so they are in different positions to not only the older version of ubuntu, but also to both windows and mac os x? Surely this will just irritate everyone no matter what they are migrating from, and with no clear benefit as far as I can see. Very odd indeed.

    1. borkbork

      just tried it on my 10.04 alpha box

      The buttons are on the right where they're supposed to be, the bottom panel remains, and in IMO both themes look better 'in the flesh' than in those screenshots. Much more modern than any of the other themes shipped by default. Only problems I can see are that windows shadows are overly large for my taste, and apps that don't have all 3 'normal' buttons (min,max,close) look funny (calculator, for example).

  19. Alastair 7

    Re: So...

    Advances in UI *are* a reason to care. They're not as nitty-gritty as hardware support, but it's very important for the success of Linux. Yes, desktop colour schemes are at the lighter end of the UI spectrum, but still. It's progress.

    1. sandman


      I occassionally get asked to advise on UI design and it is remarkably important for user uptake. You can create the best functioning software in the world, but if you want to sell it to more than a very specialised market you better make it look good and work pretty slickly (or at least appear to). Companies like Apple and Microsoft spend millions on UI design and they don't do this for amusement.

      If your customer fies up your software for the first time and just doesn't like the colours and design they may never really get past that initial impression. Although I've used Oracle for years I still can't get to like it, partly for those reasons.

  20. Jeff 11
    Thumb Down

    Give me my poo back

    I can appreciate that Ubuntu wants to be the third UI paradigm in the OS world but Canonical, please, please get a professional to design your core theme instead of this... mess... that was probably done by a half-drunk code monkey on a Sunday night with GIMP.

  21. David Robinson 1

    They drink it in the Congo

    Ubuntu is often referred to as Umbongo. Seems fitting that they now have a colour theme to match.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "We're drawn to Light because it denotes both warmth and clarity, and intrigued by the idea that 'light' is a good value in software"....

    Next time lets hope the pillock gets drawn to something that looks colourful and attractive - maybe even present day....

  23. tardigrade

    Window controls and colours.

    <stupicon>Head Desk</stupicon>

    The window controls will be located to the right by default, it's just the person who took the screen shot preferred them to the left and so did so. That's the choice you get.

    If you don't like the theme, it can be changed within seconds by selecting the theme manager.

    It's always amazed me the number of people who moan about the brown theme as if you are stuck with it and it's a big issue. When in actual fact it can be eradicated immediately should you choose to do so. But then I guess people are not used to an OS that has such flexibility inbuilt and allows you to radically change the look and feel of the desktop, without having to first download and install additional third party window manager software. Dare I say some people need to "think different". Hyuk, hyuk.

    The program bar at the bottom, you have the choice of including or replacing for a window dock manager (I hate to say like Apples dock, because that actually comes from unix ) but you can switch as you please.

    Now if you were to criticise the system fonts you might have a point. They need attention and rapidly, along with the human looks icon set and in deed the layout of the Nautilus window manager.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Yeah, because Linux invented desktop themes.

      Oh, wait: no it didn't!

      Windows has been able to change its complete look and feel pretty much since its inception. Even Explorer.exe is just another app; you can swap it out for someone else's shell if you prefer. And there are umpteen themes you can choose from in recent versions of Windows.

      If you want to take it even further, you can install Stardock's "skinning" software and make Windows look like OS X. (Or early '90s Solaris if you're feeling particularly masochistic.)

      As for Apple's own OS: Which part of "It's *BSD Unix" do you not understand? You can run X Windows (or any compatible WM you like) on it just fine if you don't like Apple's own look and feel. Granted, Apple don't go out of their way to make it easy, but that's kind of Apple's *point*.

      Not every choice is inherently beneficial; how do you create support documentation for a program whose very interface might look completely different from one user's machine to another? When you're selling to a market not renowned for its high number of tech-savvy users, it's not sensible to create such a fluid GUI.

      Linux users who already know about theming and ports and makefiles, and are happy to pop its hood and tinker with what lies beneath, have plenty of other distros to choose from. Ubuntu isn't *intended* for such people, any more than Apple's Mac mini is intended for hardcore gamers.

      There are many, many target markets out there, each with its own ecosystem of suppliers. Those suppliers are in no way obliged to target *other* markets if they don't want to. It's *their* choice, not yours.

      1. SynnerCal

        Partly right

        STB wrote "Linux users who already know about theming and ports and makefiles, and are happy to pop its hood and tinker with what lies beneath, have plenty of other distros to choose from. Ubuntu isn't *intended* for such people, any more than Apple's Mac mini is intended for hardcore gamers."

        Good post - apart from the segment above, which just restates the old WinTard accusations about having to (re)compile everything. Themeing on Ubuntu (even back to the HH version I'm using now) is dead easy - see menu item System ->Preferences->Appearance. From that item, you can tweak via a GUI that's pretty similar to that which exists in Vista etc.

        As to the subject of the article - the new brown-less new look - once I'd updated my LL VM and got it to apply the new theme (it held onto the default for my login account - presumably because the new theme came out after the account was setup). First impressions were that (a) it looks a heck of a lot like the Netbook version; (b) I like the new colour scheme; and (c) I'm not so sure about the new window decoration (which - on my system at least) - are still on the (correct) right-top corner.

        By the way - no command line trickery, makefiles,etc required to update the system, or the themes. :)

      2. tardigrade

        Never said Linux invented themes, read it again.

        "Windows has been able to change its complete look and feel pretty much since its inception."

        You can change it, but it's not the same as a fluid system themeing for that you need ooh say something like Stardock?

        "If you want to take it even further, you can install Stardock's "skinning" software.."

        What did I say about third party theme software?

        "Granted, Apple don't go out of their way to make it easy, but that's kind of Apple's *point*."

        Which is exactly my point. Thank you for agreeing with me.

        The rest of your response is incorrect.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the dock.

      "a window dock manager (I hate to say like Apples dock, because that actually comes from unix )"

      No. Not Unix, NeXTStep - hence it's a feature of OSX. You may be confusing it for the FrontPanel from CDE that was the windows manager available on most commercial Unices from 1993~2000. NeXTStep was released in 1988. You can't mean VUE or Motif as both were developed just after NeXTStep, as well as being precursors to CDE. So it's entirely correct to say "Apple's dock" but if that make you feel wobbly, you can always say "NeXT's dock", but it's the same thing really...

  24. ceebee

    re: fonts....

    tardigrade, I could not agree more!!! Ubuntu's system font has always been pretty dreadful.

    Windows is better but ..and let's be fair... Apple has always been far ahead with its system font right back to Chicago under the original Macintosh OS.

    as for the brown ...well the very first thing I always do with a Ubuntu install is change that!!!!

  25. Captain Hogwash
    Thumb Down

    purple, orange, slate grey, and tan.

    Orange and tan were rather large components of previous schemes. They didn't help then and they're not helping now.

  26. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


    For anybody who uses a separate partition for their home directory, then it is likely that whatever changes they have already made for Hardy, Intrepid, Jaunty or Karmic will persist across the new OS (along with inappropriate settings for new versions of older software as well, unfortunately!)

    I include Hardy, as I am going LTS to LTS releases on my main boxes, missing the intermediate versions.

    but seriously. You just can't win. Make no changes, and you are being unambitious or not keeping up with the competition. Make changes, and it is all unnecessary. Thank god it is very easily configurable!

  27. Martin 63

    Next release

    Im going with Modding Meerkat

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Now all they need is a decent desktop manager...

    ... except, there isn't one for Linux ...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From bad to worse

    Are the Ubuntu team TRYING to make Linux as ugly as possible?

    They should take a hint from the Mint team, that's a nice looking OS.

    Instead they've gone from one naff niche appeal colour to another, and evidently without too much care or thought as it looks like something an amateur would slap together by changing the colours at random.

    And what's all this marketing psychobabble about being "inspired by the idea of light"? As a free OS, Linux is unique in that you can pitch it on its merits alone - without having to make up meaningless and condescending sales patter to impress the pointy haired boss. If he doesn't understand Linux, too bad, he already has Microsoft to give him hot air and buzz words.

    If you're going to be as self important as to tell us what your inspirations are, at least be respectful and give us the real list - rather than a made up marketing list of generic catch all terms.

    1. Rob Moir

      Are the Ubuntu team TRYING to make Linux as ugly as possible?

      In fairness, they're setting themselves a realistic, perfectly achievable goal if they are.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @norman bottomly

    Light / dark have different window decorations. Look at the screenshots again, you'll see it :)

    Not the most drastic difference between two themes but then they are supposed to be very similar.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Have they fixed the mouse click bug yet ?

    Since 9.10, there has been a bug with some mice, where the clicks seem to get trapped. I have posted, logged a Launchpad issue ... and nothing has been done. It may not be an *ubuntu* issue, possibly an X-server one, but either way, it renders a system practically unusable.

    I was introduced to Ubuntu in late 2007, as an alternative to Vista (yay !!!!!), and was thoroughly impressed. I used to use it almost exclusively. However the 9.10 upgrade has meant I have to use Windows. I was recommending it to everyone I could for two years, but now have to admit that some of the criticism of ownership of bugs is completely true. In 2002 I had a weird bug in the MS MTS mechanism, which resulted in a visit from MS and a custom DLL. I could not, in all conscience suggest a Linux build for a stable desktop, given my experience.

    1. Mark 65

      Stable linux build?

      You'll be wanting an LTS version about 3-6 months after it first ships if you've used Ubuntu. That gives 2 years of stability until the next version.

    2. Keith Oldham

      Re : could not, in all conscience suggest a Linux build for a stable desktop, given my experience..

      Must be a VERY limited experience.

      I've used SuSE & OpenSUSE for ~10 years without any problem with the (usually KDE) desktop.

      Does everything I want either better than Windows, as well as Windows or at least adequately.

      That would include :-

      File& print serving to Windows & Linux boxes



      Google Earth

      Web-page generation

      C & C++ compiling + almost any programming language you could require.


      Video editing

      RAW digital photo processing

      Panoramic photo processing

      TV viewing /recording

      SSH access to home server

      Remote access to my wife's school

      Microcontroller programming (PIC) via WINE

      If you need games or really feel that you must have Windows fair enough. But the ignorant or malicious comments of others that Linux NEEDS a CLI for installation or routine use or even that you NEED to compile programs to use it needs refuting at every opportunity.

      Just get a LiveCD and try it !

  32. SIGTERMer

    everything is amazing

    except button placement on the title bar (wrong side) and the buttons themselves

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Failing, and failing hard

    I use Ubuntu and these new screenshots are enough to make me drop it should Lynx actually come out looking like this (the Farcepuke integration is a good enough reason to drop it).

    The window controls are in a stupid, stupid place. You got to click on "Edit" and overshoot. POOF! Window gone. My, that is just smart isn't it?

    No kicker bar? WTF? Are they planning to have a dock or some such crap? Or doe you just Alt-Tab your way around?

    With UIs like this it is no wonder Linux has sub-1% uptake. Which is a shame as it is a very good OS and perfect for many applications where Windows is just too big (I use Windows too, it has many merits also).

    If they fix one thing, could they make multi-screen support actually work? I mean, actually actually work. Not just remain some myth. So you can (say) bring up for the display GUi and set two screens (which then doens't bork because you have "Screen 2" above "Screen 1", or different resolutions, where you can state which one is "1" and "2" and not rely on some bullshit hardware detection, erf...I could go on. If you want a multi-screen display; use Windows).

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Epic fail!

      Looking at the release schedule, you've loaded Alpha-3*.

      You expect an Alpha release to be perfect???

      D'ohhh. I understand why you posted anonymously. Unfortunately, from now on Mr. Anonymous Coward (I believe, coincidentally, there's a lot of people with the same name who read El. Reg.) will now be considered to be as daft as a brush.

      P.S. Thanks to the late BOFH, with Lucid's new 'spots', if I tell the missus "I'm downloading brownware" can sadly only mean that I'm going for a tom-tit.


  34. Anonymous Coward


    ...strategy boutique whalesong and joss sticks ahoy

    "We're drawn to Light because it denotes both warmth and clarity, and intrigued by the idea that 'light' is a good value in software"


  35. David 24

    Ubuntu naming prediction.

    I once read on the reg.....

    "Incidentally, Ubuntu also famously gives its releases hippy alliterative names: 'Feisty Fawn', 'Hoary Hedgehog' and so on. These names are created using the same algorithm that fellow wrinklies will remember as the old CompuServe password generator. This knowledge enables me to predict with confidence that when the current 'Gutsy Gibbon' release is retired, the next four will be called Weedy Willie, Sexy Sadie, Lorelei Lee and Moon Unit Zappa."

    Is there any truth in the above i wonder. I cannot wait til Moon Unit Zappa. Now thats a distro name. Anyway. Fail on behalf of Verity Stob

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Windoze insecurities

    What's with windoze users bashing Ubuntu/Linux? Security issues?

    The new GUI looks like a massive improvement from the Ubuntu 8.04 I've played with. Glad to see the horrid windoze styling gone.

    I recently installed Hardy Heron on my girlfriend's laptop, removing Windows, which had installed -seemingly by itself- some "anti-virus" shitware called Security Center or some such, which prevented her from using the machine. Wiping Windows was a healing experience, after year of failing to get anything done whenever a windoze machine was involved, and witnessing friends and family spend money on machines that quickly broke, then having to shell out more cash to get them fixed. I'm sure windoze makes money for a few people, nice little setup.

    She now has a working laptop (apart from sleep) that never crashes, never pops up bullshit "security update" windows that make me want to smash the thing to pieces, just works for her basic computer needs.

    I say full power to Ubuntu.

  37. Ceiling Cat


    Running Ubuntu on 2 of 3 boxen now. As much as I wouyld like to dribble on about making the OS ugly, I know that a nicer looking UI is only a few clicks away.

    Now what *I* would like to see from the Ubuntu team is a little more emphasis on Physical Media. Net installs are great and all, but I'd really like to be able to download a DVD set like I can with Debian. Currently, afaik, Ubuntu still only has a single-DVD download containing sme extra language packs.

  38. Gianni Straniero

    You lot are lame

    What a lot of fuss over nothing. I came here expecting a good, old-fashioned desktop manager holy war, between Gnometards and KDEjjits, and what do I get? People telling one another how to change a theme.

    What is the world coming to?

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