Workstation branding on login screen (GDM)

Richard Turner rjt at
Mon Oct 20 15:54:42 UTC 2014

On 20 October 2014 16:16, Owen Taylor <otaylor at> wrote:

> On Mon, 2014-10-20 at 10:37 -0400, Christian Schaller wrote:
> > > From: "Owen Taylor" <otaylor at>
> > > We can obviously ignore all of this and put a logo onto the top bar
> > > anyways case, but it's an unfriendly action towards GNOME on the part
> of
> > > Fedora. And is especially problematical because Fedora *is* seen as
> very
> > > closely associated with GNOME, and at that point it becomes nearly
> > > impossible to convince any other distro not to put their logos there as
> > > well.
> >
> > I think calling it an unfriendly action towards GNOME is overstating it.
> > Fedora is a separate thing and is not beholden to any of its upstream
> > communities, including GNOME. We try to align as much as possible with
> our
> > upstreams because it makes sense, not because having our own ideas
> > is by definition hostile towards someone else. To me this is almost the
> > same argument that people make about shipping various desktops, that
> > somehow not shipping desktop XYZ is somehow 'hostile' towards said
> > desktop. It is not, regardless of discussing branding of the desktop we
> > ship or which desktop to ship, our choice is about what is right for us
> > given our requirements and resources, not about trying to 'hurt' someone
> > else.
> If we took, say, Inkscape, and patched it to put a Fedora logo in the
> middle of the toolbox, it would clearly be seen as poorly representing
> Inkscape. If Fedora was the most common way that people obtained and
> tried out Inkscape, I'd expect that people working on Inkscape might be
> upset - even if the goal of putting the logo there wasn't to provoke the
> Inkscape developers. (I said "unfriendly" not "hostile")
> There are certainly ways that Fedora branding can be increased in the
> desktop which do make sense within the overall desktop design. I'm
> interested to see what Mo and Ryan come up with and I'm sure they'll do
> a good job. But I think it's important to realize that if we put
> constraints onto the end goal - in particular if we require      branding
> that is continually visible - then there is an inherent conflict.

Speaking as a lowly user my primary reason for using Fedora is that it
packages a great GNOME Shell experience that's as close as possible to the
design goals of the GNOME team. I think that alone is a good (almost
unique) selling-point for Fedora, without Fedora having to add value on top
of what GNOME provides. Put another way, I use Fedora to escape
distro-specific meddling with the desktop environment.

It seems to me that the GNOME team has put a lot of thought into creating a
distraction-free environment to work in, so I agree that compromising those
efforts in order to provide persistent branding could be interpreted as
'unfriendly'. Then again, any GNOME folks reaching that conclusion need
only review this thread to understand that's not Fedora's intent, and that
here we're trying to fulfil a legitimate goal without running rough-shod
over upstream's work.

Having said all that, I don't really think that replacing the word
"Activities" with a Fedora logo would bad be at all. "Activities" isn't a
great term to describe what happens when one clicks there; it's almost
impossible to find a single word to describe all that functionality. I
suspect that the Window's Start Button is precedent enough for putting the
Activities functionality behind a logo instead of a place-holder word, and
there's plenty of precedent with other Linux desktop environments,
including GNOME 2.

Realistically it seems that the login screen, wallpaper and Activities
corner are the only practical options. There's plenty of room on the login
screen for a logo, and to my mind adding one wouldn't detrimentally affect
the user-experience. I haven't taken the time to understand the legal
implications of having a logo on the wallpaper, but it does seem like a
logical thing to do and surely legal restrictions can be dealt with...? If
the Activities corner logo was implemented as a Shell extension then
objectors could remove it and Shell need not be patched to provide the logo.

To be honest I don't really understand what all the fuss is about.

"Racing turtles, the grapefruit is winning..."
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