Presented by

  • Simon Lees

    Simon Lees

    Simon has been a Linux user for 16 years and a contributor to the openSUSE Project for 8+ years, he now serves on the project’s board as well as in a number of other roles. As his day job Simon has spent the last 3 years working for SUSE in a packaging / maintenance role, prior to that he worked as a software engineer for a company designing and building communications equipment. Simon originally studied Software Engineering at the University of Adelaide. In his spare time Simon enjoys designing new themes for Linux desktops, messing around with robots and other electronics, maintaining various packages in openSUSE as well as playing bass guitar and riding bikes.


Pretty much everything that has ever been designed is some form of balance between form and function, from modified car's to architecture to clothes and even user interfaces. In the modern age of material design, Visual Design Group's and Human Interface Guidelines this balance has very much shifted to be in favor of function over form, an interface that looks good is still important but looks always seem to play a distant second to usability. The purpose of this talk is to explore what happens when you flip that idea and rather then focusing on creating user interfaces that are primarily usable instead focus on creating user interfaces that are works of art with a lesser regard as to how easy they are to use. Fortunately this idea is nothing new, in the late 90's Raster founded the enlightenment desktop inspired by the artistic user interfaces of the games he played growing up, he brought these concepts to the desktop. The advancement of graphics hardware in the mid two thousands lead us to the world of fish tanks inside cubes, wobbly windows and painting fire on the screen. Not because there was any real need or use but because someone could. Sadly since then the world of the Linux desktop has tried to go all professional and many of the fun interesting things have been lost. In the last year or so I have been working on reviving some of these old themes for Enlightenment with a hope to get people creative about UI development again for fun. As well as showing off some of the things above from the past this talk will discuss how you can go about managing changes in large numbers of themes for new versions through using version control and scripting to automatically change the color of icons etc. Over the years I have done some theming for various different Linux desktops and I will also spend some time covering what is and isn't possible in various desktops. Linux Australia: YouTube: