Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) Alpha 3, Screenshots and New Theme Proposals

We don’t normally start tracking the Ubuntu releases until they hit about the Alpha 3 stage; after all the big software updates have made it in, any theme work is mostly done and the final release is starting to take shape. Well, that happened yesterday: Ubuntu 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex” Alpha 3 was released.

New Ubuntu 8.10 Theme

The first thing you notice looking at the Ubuntu desktop is the new theme… it’s trendy, dark, refined and overall a pretty different look for the desktop and just desktops in general; I would have expected this theme from something like XFCE but not a mainstream desktop.

It looks fine to me, but not great. When we started covering the new theme development almost 8 months ago, the trend towards a “dark desktop” had already started:

But then in January there were rumors that Hardy Heron (8.04) would get the new LTS theme and a new, much brighter, curvier theme called “Gelatin” was proposed:

I really liked the look of Gelatin just because I tend to be drawn towards lighter themes; they seem easier on my eyes and emotionally put me in a more chipper mood.

Oddly enough, on the Ubuntu 8.10 Art Team Theme page, I ran across a mockup for what I think was a refined Human theme that as far as I can tell was never used beyond the initial proposal, I think it’s named “Clear”:

It’s a bright theme, it uses muted colors (not too bold or in your face), and I liked the refinement to some of the core UI buttons like the back and forward buttons in the explorer. Still looks noticably “Human” in nature for sure, but I thought that theme did an excellent job and am not necessarily inlove with the new darker approach.

Lastly I ran across another proposed GTK theme by Kimmik for Intrepid Ibex that was essentially human, with a slightly lighter component coloring as well as a lot of gloss ontop of everything. I liked some of the aspects of this design, but thought overall it felt cramped:

I would be interested, looking at existing installs, how many people switched their Windows themes to the darker themes in Windows XP or if you even have that choice on Mac? Things seem generally pretty light on those operating systems.

Ubuntu is certainly trying to keep to it’s word that it will challenge Apple on the design front and try and find it’s own look and feel.


On the Ubuntu Art Team’s Intrepid Ibex Icon page there are a few suggestions and proposals on how the icons will be worked over to make things look… well, more Vista-ey from what I can see:

It doesn’t look bad, the art actually looks pretty cool. I’m probably just an old geezer in that I still think the original Icons (left) have some good life left in them. I think it’s just my appeal for symmetrical shapes.

X.org 7.4

Ubuntu 8.10 will include X.org 7.4 for whatever that is worth. From the looks of things online, X.org 7.4 seems to have very very few new features and a general cloud of concern around the quality of the X.org releases looms over that project. I’m not sure if the X.org team trimmed back 7.4 in order to deliver a more stable platform or if project atrophy did; either way let’s hope the Ubuntu 8.10 release team has time to stabalize the release if necessary.

Misc. Goodies

Reading through the Ubuntu 8.10 Blueprint is a good way to get an idea of what else will be coming in this release. Here are the other highlights we thought were worth noting (NOTE: As Ubuntu 8.10 is currently only at the Alpha 3 release stage, don’t take this list as bible, things can still get cut/added as time progresses):

Overall looking like a decent refresh release with nothing too epic in it. Lots of updates and refinements with an occasional new feature or new piece of software, but besides new theme, I don’t see a lot of people immediately seeing the difference with their 8.10 desktop once it’s installed.

Sometimes though, that can be a good thing and means the release will be on time, tightened up and plenty of polish in it. Good luck to the Ubuntu Team, you’ve always impressed us!

Thanks SoftPedia!

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26 Responses to Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) Alpha 3, Screenshots and New Theme Proposals

  1. lapusneanu July 27, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    the Gelatins theme is very nice.

  2. manny July 27, 2008 at 12:08 pm #

    very nice.

    Apart from the specific blue-prints i think the most noticeable will be the distro-wide changes:

    -the big 3.0 openoffice

    -improved gimp 2.6 (but i’ve been using “Krita” more)

    -Gnome 2.4 and all it’s changes and improvements (essentially the heart of the distro).

    now for the theme, am sure Mark will do a good job, specially now after challenging apple =)

    another cool theme is newWave (which seem a bit closer to what he seems to be asking for)


    surprisingly i found a new similar theme to newWave called NextG (inspired or coincidence?)


    if both developers get together they could recreate it in a matter of weeks

    every little thing coming to linux is important (better drivers, more stability), even the new flash 10 will be a major improvement and will give users a pleasing experience

  3. Riyad Kalla July 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm #

    I agree lapusneanu, a few folks that I have shown it too didn’t really like it… I wasn’t sure why, I thought it looked really slick.

  4. Riyad Kalla July 28, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    Manny great links. I didn’t actually know that those major releases were going to make the 8.10 cut, that certainly makes things interesting.

    It’s also true that it’s sorta hard to do a “New and Noteworthy” for Ubuntu, without basically just combining the ones from all the major platform pieces like Gnome.

    I was digging around the Gnome schedule site and didn’t find a set date or schedule for 2.40, just 2.23 (dev) and 2.24… is it going to be .24 in 8.10 or are they really going to wait for 2.40? That seems like a ways off…

  5. manny July 28, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    Riyad, you’re right, my mistake i was WAY OFF lol

    if you want you can edit it.

    it’s 2.24 (i was probably thinking on the Gimp numbering) =)

    in fact the Gnome guys are planning on making 2.30 = 3.0

    Ubuntu follows the gnome schedule strictly.

    For KDE lovers they are thinking on making kubuntu follow the KDE schedule

    About the Gelatin theme i did like it a lot and even installed a testing version. After a while i did find the bright orange a bit annoying. I did suggest to the developer create a tone down version since some of us suffer from brightness sensitivity.

    anyway, i think that if tweaked right, all these candidates have great potential. Will be interesting to see which make it to the final rounds =)

  6. tracyanne July 29, 2008 at 12:59 am #

    There’s only one problem with Ubuntu… it’s not Mandriva

  7. linuxdave July 29, 2008 at 6:17 am #

    “# tracyanne Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 12:59 am

    There’s only one problem with Ubuntu… it’s not Mandriva”

    That’s true. Ubuntu works very well on the vast majority of PC’s out there, its simple, and Canonical does not charge for a non free edition like Mandriva does. That aside, there really is no difference between those distro’s other than packaging methedologies (Deb/URPMI) and base tools. There are still many things both Distros struggle mightily with.. Things that Windows XP has no trouble with whatever, so when throwing stones about, be careful about those glass walls!

  8. xlinuks July 29, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    Alpha 3 has changed the background from whatever to dark grey and that’s called “a new theme”?
    There should be designers at Ubuntu who I hope have a better taste than what I saw on the first screenshot where there’s no change but a (new) dark grey background with the same old windows’95 icons.
    I really hope there _will_ be a _new_ theme, at least the one manny suggested:
    or even better: something much brighter.

  9. Riyad Kalla July 29, 2008 at 4:21 pm #


    I thought you were being sarcastic at first, but it really *does* look like all they did was darken up the background colors for Alpha 3 and throw a new default desktop image on there.

    Historically speaking (Manny, hop in if you know), have Alpha 3 releases ever differed drastically from the final stable releases?

    Is there a chance they would swap the default theme in this small amount of time during the run-up to October?

  10. xlinuks July 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    For a company doing such a task in my opinion is both very easy and absolutely necessary. Easy – because there are already lots of cool themes out there that the authors I’m pretty sure will give to Ubuntu/Canonical for free and will even tell them “thanks for choosing my theme!”.
    So no excuse applies here! It’s all about Mark saying his final word! Let him invite a (few) designer(s) to consult him to pick the best few themes, then post them on Ubuntu idea storm and let the community choose one out of those few ones! And we’re done!

    I’m just afraid in the end we will get an excuse (for the N-th) time that there’s no time to apply a new theme, heck, even a single person can do that in a short time frame – ask those who already did that home! You can call this FUD but I’m starting to think there’s a rat that does its best to cut off every visual innovation in Ubuntu by saying there’s no time or so. As I said everything is already out there, for free.
    If we want to look and feel like Apple it’s time to be able to make decisions and stop saying there’s no time otherwise Linux on desktop will continue growing like 0.1% a year.

  11. manny July 30, 2008 at 6:38 pm #


    am quite sure, the dark theme is just for sorting out “dark theme bugs” and report them upstream (to the actual gnome developers)

    Anyway, the last version (hardy) did change wallpaper, etc. in either the beta or release candidate as i recall.

    It’s very unlikely they will want to ship a dark theme as default, but probably they plan to make available optionally in the installation :)

  12. Riyad Kalla July 31, 2008 at 11:13 pm #


    Interesting point about sorting out the dark theme bugs… I’m just worried that in an Alpha 3 we are close to the goal as it were… but it’s not the end of the world I guess… I still do prefer lighter themes I think (KDE’s new desktop is somewhat dark, but lighter than the dark browns in the Ubuntu one.

    Also, just a heads up, KDE 4.1 is out and I’m suddenly *way* more interested in Kbuntu than I have been in the past.

  13. ceecryts August 4, 2008 at 3:36 am #

    Can’t for the new release. I hope it has better support for windows games as I feel its something that linux needs to look at for this version of ubuntu. Or as an option improve wine to run cutting edge games off the desktop. it should prove to be interesting if possible.

  14. Riyad Kalla August 4, 2008 at 7:03 am #


    Games have always been the problem with Linux not going mainstream on the desktop, but something interesting happening in the last 4 years… consoles got *really* good. Now the PC doesn’t have to run double duty as a work and play machine, opening up a lot more folks the change to go Linux full time.

    I think the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 craze has actually helped Linux on the Desktop.

  15. CTaylor August 4, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    Not only has it improved uptake on the desktop but also on the ps3 itself. I personally have Ubuntu installed on my ps3 :-)

  16. Editor August 4, 2008 at 3:05 pm #

    What’s the performance like on the PS3? I’ve always been curious how it would run on it.

    Also how does it support the hardware? You got it displaying over HDMI on your TV?

  17. Matt August 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    The Gelatins theme is very elegant…

  18. robcro August 23, 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    i like the gelatin theme but what a terrible name! Gelatin, derived from the stomach lining of cows… im glad they didnt go with that simply because of that name.

    anyway i hope 8.10 will live up to expectations

  19. Godsbane August 23, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    Rennet comes from the 4th stomach of slaughtered male veal calves, a byproduct of the milk industry. Gelatin is made from the bones, skins, ligaments and tendons.

  20. Editor August 24, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    … how do you guys even know this stuff?!

    When I saw “Gelatin”, I just thought of Jello… and maybe a key-lime pie, but not cow stomach lining 😉

  21. flip August 29, 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    Windows went from “light” green and blue to black(with the vista release) the dark colors are “trendy”. I personally like it but hay my myspace page has someones mouth being sown shut so you be the judge. It is Ubuntu if you don’t like it change it…

  22. kvasko_linuxoid November 24, 2008 at 10:58 pm #

    Very funny!

  23. slipstream August 22, 2009 at 7:16 am #

    likin the gelatin theme.. my favorites are dust sand and new wave

  24. Nannette Curnutte June 20, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Hell of a pity that people are still out there calling for blood.


  1. haocheng - July 28, 2008

    Ubuntu 8.10 ??? Theme ?… http://tinyurl.com/5sb55k

  2. Corey Wynsma - July 30, 2008

    Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) Alpha 3 Screenshots http://tinyurl.com/5sb55k

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