Debian Squeeze artwork selected by the desktop team

It looks like the desktop team has selected the artwork (including wallpaper and GDM theme) for the upcoming Debian 6.0 release.

The winner of the small contest is SpaceFun by Valessio Brito. Included below is the splash screen, click here to see all the pictures.

The other options in the poll were Nightly, Ciel and Lisp Machine. Thanks to the artists who participated in this contest!

But the work is not over yet: while the artwork has been selected, it still needs to be integrated in the system. If you feel like helping by creating a theme for a display manager (GDM/KDM/SLIM) or for the Grub boot loader, please drop a mail to (subscribe here).

Be informed early by following me on, Twitter or Facebook.

Additional Resources

Get the Debian Administrator's Handbook

After a successful liberation campaign, the Debian Administrator's Handbook is now freely available. If you appreciate my articles and what I do for Debian, check out the book and grab a copy.


  1. German Elesdi says:

    Congratulations Valessio Brito, it’s an outstanding job. I really like it very much.

  2. Wow great post. I have always wanted Debian to be my OS of choice but find myself back in Ubuntu time and time again.

  3. Well Done Valessio,
    I unfortunately had recently moved to Debian Mint (for purely graphic look) due to the tired and dated Debian Desktop look. Great to see some life put back into something that you spend a lot of time looking at..

    Great effort..


  4. Can someone tell me what gtk and icon theme is used in the screenshots? Will those be made default as well?

    • The icons are Faenza-Cupertino. There are instructions in the discussion about how to make the theme work (you’ll have to install Faenza and then edit Faenza-Cupertino’s index.theme file to get everything to work).

      It looks like the theme might be one of the Equinox engine themes.

    • Hi Steven, i’m the author of the screenshot…you can find all the information and the links to the stuff used (gtk, icons, etc.) here:

      And no, gtk and icons will not be included as default.

      Have fun!

  5. Raphael, why are you encouraging people to create new material for squeeze, whilst we are in freeze?

    We already need a freeze exception to change desktop-base for this theme, now we will have people posting suggestions on debian-desktop and we will have to explain to them that they have been misled.

    • I’m not encouraging them to create new material, I’m encouraging them to integrate the existing material in something usable by gdm/kdm/slim and grub. If you have a suggestion for a better wording, go ahead.

      • Ah yes, I also misread it. I’d suggest using something like “if you can help by filling in the missing parts of the theme, such as the display managers (KDM, GDM) or the GRUB bootloader”…

        Having said that, SpaceFun has a GRUB bootloader image, at least on the wiki page, and a GDM wallpaper (but perhaps more elements are needed? I’m not sure.)

  6. I hope Debian does this competition again for Wheezy, I’d love to submit an entry too, although the timing during this release didn’t work out for me.

    BTW- Text version of flattr button is much nicer!

  7. Marie Rocks says:

    Perfect desktop look for elementary school. Okay, where is the adult artwork? lol

  8. Yup, where is the adult material.
    The Lenny theme was great, but that is really bad.
    Sorry for the harsh words, but i barely can believe that.

  9. Also artwork for CD/DVDs would be nice.

  10. Cute. Maybe a bit to cute.

  11. It may be ridiculous if used as the standard artwork but its pretty cool for a debian-junior dvd.

  12. gerogeriggallin says:

    This is f***ing embarrassing…

  13. Congratulations to the author, he did a great work!

    But It is not what I’d want for a default Debian 6 theme. It’s childish, and distractive, plus black themes tire my eyes really quick. Debian desktop team should move on from the Toy-Story mentality.

    I’d personally liked to have Debian-Ciel as the default theme and include space fun as an alternate.

    Of course this is my personal subjective opinion and by no means I want to take something out of the author of this cute theme. It is really well-done and happy , but not as a default debian theme.

  14. Thanks to everyone for the compliments and criticisms are welcome as constructive.

    Adults usually know to change a theme. I know of someone who used a standard Debian theme for over 3 months.

    The call for proposal and work for the next release ‘Wheezy’ is open, we will participate and build something that pleases everyone:

    Thanks all,

  15. Yes, adults know how to change a theme. Minors too.
    Still the default theme could be a bit more pleasing.

  16. Horrible. You guys that voted for this were seriously tripping. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!!?!?!?!1

  17. dodgefan67 says:

    yeah, this theme really needs to be put in as an optional theme and probably should not even be included as part of the core debian system. seriously it is too childish looking. nothing like what something that wants to be the dominant OS in the world should have as a first impression. blah

  18. It looks like the lame gift wrapping paper from a toy store. I can’t imagine anyone voting for this unless they:

    1. are children
    2. are high on crack
    3. are blind

    • I’d like to see that combo!

      • It has been delightfully inspiring and motivational to receive these comments over a month later, and on boxing day to boot. The Debian community sure can be awesome. Where would we be without the armchair comments?

        • Perhaps because the subject comes up again, after people upgrade to squeeze?
          Or after people install squeeze?

          Perhaps it will upcome again, next month. The month after that… and so forth.
          That could have been avoided.

          But you are right, it is inspiring.
          I removed desktop-base, a package of which existence i haven’t known before (and probably never would have).

          • And so our job here is done – you have the freedom to not use the theme, to even remove the package and eradicate the bits from your storage entirely.

        • Perhaps the desktop team wouldn’t get as much criticism if they followed the orthodox principle of peer review and actually asking their fellow users for advice. I feel quite confident that a vast majority thinks the theme is an embarrassment.

          It is easy to change, but is that an excuse for making it look like a toy out of the box?

          • I think the reactions by the authors/the desktop-team are strange. Anything not being positive gets “cut off” by responding with: “You got the freedom not to use it.” “You can change the theme”. “You can join the team”.
            The people who use Debian, all of them, have got the right to have got an opinion about the default look and feel, or not?
            If one does work, one should be able to listen to feedback, even if it is not positive (and even if it is very negative).
            Wouldn’t the usual goal be to propose a default theme which a lot of people (aka users) do like?
            I think that has something to do with the ability to communicate:
            If people say that it is not nice, perhaps they are right.

            I case you don’t know: grub2 resets the grub-background-png during update-grub , so it _is_ a problem to replace it. At least for some of us. I am tired to do that twice a week, so i removed the complete package (like i was adviced to do: “then don’t use it”).

            I am pretty puzzled.

  19. How can I install this in a corporate environment. I wont be taken seriously…

  20. What is the name of the package so I can eradicate it? Sigh… one extra task when installing debian.

  21. Changed it to moreblue-orbit-* using

    *** update-alternatives ***

    Thank goodness for that. Not that it’s bad artwork, just not a choice for the default..

  22. followed by ‘dpkg-reconfigure desktop-base’

  23. Few of my articles have been so heavily commented. :-)

    Given how many people do not like the SpaceFun theme, I wanted to let you know that I made special DVDs that install systems with the MoreBlue Orbit theme. They also includes firmwares. More information here:

    Have a nice day.


  1. […] Raphaël Hertzog. MeneameBitacorasDeliciousGoogle […]

  2. […] verweisen. Einer davon namens “Raphaël Hertzog” hat zum Beispiel vor 10 Tagen über das Aussehen der kommenden Version 6 von Debian GNU/Linux berichtet. Der “Gewinner” des Artwork-Contests hieß “SpaceFun“, und Ihr […]