Call for feedback: Free Culture Showcase for Ubuntu 18.04

Your best bet is probably to watch this post. I’ll update it with an announcement when the submission period opens. :slight_smile:

I’m sure many people in this thread, many who’ve raised some (valid) points regarding the direction, branding and promotion of the “showcase” would appreciate a bit more transparency and/or communication about the “showcase” this cycle. It’s helpful to know if our feedback has been of any use to you and/or if there are other areas/plans we can provide feedback on.

I assume, rightly i’m sure, that you asked for feedback to help change/improve the contest, not just run it ‘as-was’ once again.

Any task of gathering feedback and suggestions will feel more inclusive, collaborative and useful if everyone is kept somewhat informed about how you plan to run the “showcase” this cycle.

Just my 2¢.


I am hoping for more feedback, and I don’t like to interject constantly while receiving feedback, because it can come across as nitpicky. I do hope that we can improve things, but licensing (among other things) remains a substantial issue.

I’ll use you as a volunteer for nitpicking, because you gave very concrete suggestions.

“Please submit your Creative Commons-licensed music to the Ubuntu Wallpaper Contest” is problematic. The Free Culture Showcase is more than just wallpapers, and it would be counterproductive to limit the name during the 18.04 LTS cycle.

Each category can be branded in more specific ways, but it doesn’t make any sense to call a video or music contest a wallpaper contest.

This is a fantastic idea, and that is why I have been doing exactly that. But each media outlet must decide for themselves whether or not it is newsworthy or relevant for them. Certain photography groups have promoted the wallpaper contest in certain cycles and not others. Some Ubuntu blogs have a specific policy to not report on community events, and I have honored those decisions when the became clear by no longer submitting to them.

Interested Ubuntu community members can certainly contribute by submitting the contest to various photographic, video, and musical communities as opportunities for exposure. This is probably one of the best ways that non-artists can directly contribute.

This is a definite area in need of improvement, and I think a longer submission period will afford better opportunities to do so without spamming resources every week.

As for updating the rules and criteria, that’s something I think will be useful. When I took over the contest from Iain, I felt I needed to keep the same structure. One of the biggest barriers to Ubuntu (or any Free culture) submission is feeling empowered to make changes. It’s funny, because I regularly tell others about this, but I still didn’t feel confident to make unilateral changes.

It’s clear from others that since I’m organizing things, I am empowered to make necessary changes. So I’ll be looking at the FCS wiki page again, although ironically since we want video and audio submissions for the LTS cycle, this increases complexity. So I’ll be looking at getting down to the essence of things.

This was not suggested to me until after the submissions had begun, and confirmation didn’t come until after the submission period had ended. It seemed to me that it was more valuable to make this change then to not solicit their feedback because it hadn’t been announced. And that’s the difficult balancing point between transparency and the ability to seize opportunities as they come up.

I agree. The Ubuntu Design team pools together and jointly returns one slate of recommendations.

I agree, and that’s why I do just that, and link to the results on various places such as the Flickr photo pool. I have some control over /r/Ubuntu, which is why that becomes a pinned topic. Other places are out of my control and can only have links submitted to them.

This cycle, due to an enormous number of other changes and news items swirling around Ubuntu 17.10, I deemed it better to add the Free Culture Showcase to the launch announcements in a staggered fashion. It will probably work out better to announce winners before the 18.04 LTS release as is usual. The announcement had to wait until the wallpapers were packaged, however, which contributed to the announcement timing.

I agree–I love the suggestion, but there is no technical way to accomplish this at the moment. So what would really help are suggestions that could lead to supplementing or replacing Flickr for wallpapers, and we also need to worry about song and video submissions as well. Time is very limited after the submission window closes, so the more we can address particular requirements during media submission, the more likely we can make dramatic changes.

As for publicity, I do the best I can but I still depend on the broader community to help spread the word as far and wide as possible.

Your post was a great example of specific ideas for improvement. In fact, most of those ideas are already implemented with varying degrees of success. But bullet point concepts and further explanations for why the suggester thinks they would be useful is one of the best ways to contribute. In addition, others can feel free to take those suggestions and provide ideas for how to implement them.

I hope to hear even more suggestions over the next month as I evaluate what improvements can be made for 18.04 and which can be made for future cycles. At the moment, I’m still in listening mode.

If we have a gallery plugin for Discourse, we can use it host the submissions.

Remember to make the license requirement very obvious this time :stuck_out_tongue:

What about having three contests?

It’s in the name of the contest, it’s in the contest announcement, it’s in the results announcement, it’s on the wiki page, it’s in the rules, it’s in the Flickr group rules that you must read and click through to join the group before you can submit any photos…

I monitor submissions and send out form letters about once a week that have explanations about each license and why they are inappropriate (this is also posted to the group discussions list). To my surprise, I’ve only had one angry response this last cycle–all the rest have been positive. But the number of people who still say “oh, I didn’t know anything about Creative Commons” is still disappointing.

So I’m hoping to maintain or decrease the effort with any changes made. I’m not looking to increase the work involved. :slight_smile:

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The three categories were already submitted and judged separately. If we want to rename the competition, that’s something we could certainly look at.

I don’t know that the name is the problem. No one should be stumbling across the name with no context.

I do start to wonder if it would be better to have music and video submissions posted here with links to SoundCloud or Vimeo. We could require a license statement in the post, and it would make up for limitations in groups on those services.

The biggest problem is that there isn’t much time to try and hunt down original media files from submitters once the contest ends. Flickr lets one download the original images, so that’s a timesaver.

One thing I noticed is some designers mentioning they use proprietary tools to do their designs (ie) Adobe products. Obviously they’re not using Ubuntu or even Linux if using those tools.
I’m wondering if this community cares about that - In that Open Source Tools be used (ie) GIMP, Inkscape etc.? I find it a little ironic that the designers wouldn’t use Linux tools.

I know some Linux communities care about these things, as I do personally. Might be a reason why those designers don’t know about Creative Commons Licensing. Any designer I’ve ever known that uses OSS design tools know those licenses. Just a thought.

Treating them separately kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

And so does branding them with passively descriptive titles that (with no context, which is how a lot of people will hear about them — via tweets, Facebook statues, G+ shares, Reddit titles, etc) instantly sell what they are.

“Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase” is vague without context (and as I’ve said before, most people will assume it’s a showcase showing them something, not a showcase needing their input).

“Ubuntu [thing] contest” says: “listen up, there’s something going on here here”.

Although I know many fine creative people skilled in multiple area might it also be the case that for example, photographers will be more receptive to a) the format (contest) and b) a name that describes what it’s looking for (wallpaper) than a name that may technically encompass multiple media types but doesn’t “sell itself”.

Or, to put it another way, a “video contest” will instantly interest videographers, and so on, whereas (based on the decline of interest since the re-branding) “ubuntu free culture showcase” clearly doesn’t.

  • ’Ubuntu Wallpaper Contest’
  • Ubuntu Video Contest
  • ’Ubuntu Music[1] Contest’

– the winners of which make up the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase.

[1]Not sure what the “audio” part of the showcase is actually looking for.


Three contests is a great idea! +1 The name is the problem.

Isn’t there someone in the community how would spendt time on crafting a site if Canonnical would host it? It’s a huge task, but It would only have be done once :wink:

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But wouldn’t this be a requirement to participate? If somebody sends a proposal, it must include a link to the full quality file, and make the license explicit. If it doesn’t meet any of the requirements, then the post can be flagged and hidden.

The files from the proposals can be backed up in so they can’t disappear during the contest.

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What about " Wallpaper hunt " for the event name ?

@nhaines I really think you should create three separate categories.

Have you reached out to Unsplash? (
They already provide backgrounds for Trello, Google Pixel, Google Slides and Adobe Spark.

Anyone can upload a picture, so I think this could be a good replacement for Flickr.


When I originally discovered the FSC, that’s what I thought it was all about. As someone who is adamant about using free software tools for creative purposes, I certainly find that valuable.

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Hello !
I am looking forward to participating !
Here, my os ubuntu 17.10, gimp and others open source softwares are ready !
if you know when will start the submissions to the great free culture showcase, say it !

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I like @d0od ideas 100%, let me add some links here.

For his point “Promote the wallpaper contest outside of the Ubuntu member channels”. Ubuntu could reach out to 500px and Unsplash to publish the announcement on their blogs and social media.

I’m sure Unsplash would be pleased to help, they are a site that publishes free as in freedom photographs, their moto is "Beautiful, free photos. Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers. "

Also, if it were me, I would also reach out to dribble and deviantart.


P.S. as I was writing this it came to my mind that you could reach out dirrectly to Canon or Nikon to share it for that matter :slight_smile:


I like the idea of promoting the contest more where open source artists hang. In my opinion I"d rather see vector art than more boring pixel photography, but that’s just me.
I know some OSS artists hang on Youtube and enjoy showing off their process, much more than those using closed source tools. Something to consider, anyways.

So along that vein, I’d think an invite at various Inkscape and GIMP forums might be an idea. Why encourage artists that don’t even use our platform to participate? Or does everyone use Ubuntu only because it’s free?

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback. :slight_smile: The Free Culture Showcase for 18.04 starts now and runs until March 15th! :slight_smile: You can see the details here at the introduction post.