Tag: design

Nitpicking the Default Theme in Ubuntu Karmic Koala

ubuntu-karmic-default

As shown here and here, among other places:

  • The titlebar height is not quite tall enough to comfortably contain the titlebar text.
  • The titlebar text shadow is too prominent, and conflicts with the glossy 3D appearance of the titlebar.
  • The titlebar button borders and symbols are too high-contrast, and the symbols are off-center by one pixel.
  • The window corners are not anti-aliased.
  • The notification area icons are too low-contrast.
  • The new wallpaper is a little lifeless.

Some positives are that the new Humanity icon theme is a great improvement, and that the font rendering continues to impress.

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Typography in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

One thing I’ll never understand is why Ubuntu ships with such hideous default system fonts, when there are some perfectly great open source fonts built right into it. For instance, UnDotum is a near-exact clone of Franklin Gothic, although strangely a Google search for undotum “franklin gothic” only turns up one page that mentions the two together. It seems to be an arbitrary similarity, as the purpose of UnDotum and other UnFonts is to provide Korean characters. Anyway, it makes a good window title font.

Then there’s Nimbus Sans, which is indistinguishable from Helvetica; DejaVu Sans, which as far as I can tell is a descendant of Frutiger (and, hence, a cousin of [Apple’s] Myriad and [Microsoft’s] Segoe UI), and makes a nice all-around system font; and Libertine, which makes for a great general-purpose body serif. Once you set these as the fonts in GNOME and in Firefox, everything looks scores better — better than Ubuntu’s default look, certainly, and arguably better than Windows.

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