Graphical Theme for the Columbia Astrophysics Lab computer network

It would be nice to see a visual theme for the Configured Workstations on the CAL network.

Anyone interested in submitting a suggestion should e-mail dkg about it. In particular, i am interested in interesting graphical images that are a result of the astronomical work done at CAL. This could potentially include telescope images (or manipulations thereof) or other interesting visualizations. Working in the text "Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory" or "CAL" someplace would be neat too, but that can be easily added at a later date.

There would be two basic elements to any proposed CAL theme: a login screen theme, and a desktop background. It would also be nice to have a customized splash screen at startup and at login.

desktop background

Background wallpaper can be as simple as a 1024x768 or 1280x1024 or 1600x1200 jpeg or png. Even better would be something in vector graphics form (svg or eps) which we could scale cleanly to different sizes.

(Fernando): I think this should be left to each individual user.

Each user would still be able to use whatever background they want, of course. This is just a question of what the default background would be if the user didn't specify their own preference.

post-login splash screen

This splash screen shows up after a user logs in, while their session is starting up. a simple png or jpeg sized at 420x300 should be fine, as would a vector illustration of roughly comparable aspect ratio. Be aware that there will be little icons representing services that show up overlaid along the bottom of the image after login.

(Fernando): I don't think this is necessary.

boot splash screen

this is the not-so-pretty picture that shows when a computer is first turned on, before the login screen comes up. It will be overlaid with a progress indicator and room for textual information. The image must be a palettized 640x480 image with only 16 colors. Furthermore, some of these colors will be used for output text, progress bar, and other trimmings. more details on the format can be found here. Getting one of these to look nice involves working under heavy constraints with the limited palette.

(Fernando): I don't think this is necessary.

login screen theme

we're using gdm for the graphical login. Creating a gdm theme isn't terribly complicated, but it's a bit more complicated than just a single background image. A reference guide to creating gdm themes can be found here. Examples of gdm themes can be found here. Feel free to submit ideas as well, if you can't create a full theme for whatever reason.

(Fernando): I think this would be very nice to have. If possible, we could use the astronomical images that are on the CAL web home page. Rotating the images once per login (or possibly once in a while, say every hour - is it correct to say that rotating them every few seconds as in the web page would consume relatively large amounts of bandwidth?) would seem to be a good idea. (It's probably the case that people with individual CWs will be logged in almost all the time, so this feature might be more visible only on the 2 or 3 public CWs.) I also like the idea of including CAL/Columbia Astrophysics Lab titles somewhere on the screen.

i think rotating the images once per login is the best we can reasonably do without weird hackery. i don't think we'd need to pull them from the web site at all, either. we can just put them on each machine (or if we want to be fancy and synchronize the images across workstations, put them on a shared NFS volume.

This trac installation uses the logo above, which is a cheap hack job. Suggestions for better logos would be welcome, and could be used to enhance each of the above possible themes.