Ubuntu and the demoscene

Here's a brief summary of what Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind Ubuntu, suggested past Saturday at Sundown 2006:

He basically offered the demoscene a new exposure channel so that we can get more people interested about it; this new channel would consist in replacing the usual boring boot screens with something a bit more funnier: a little intro!

While it looked quite cool it also was somehow vague and imprecise, as it happens always that someone gets such kind of ideas in new fields. But Mark explained that they weren't going to let developers/demosceners go in the wild, but instead work with them to define and provide a basic framework for exposing the available functionalities during boot. That framework may be extended and improved in the future, using the experience gained in previous versions, as any people with common sense can expect. So first versions would maybe just allow for software rendering but future ones could take care of any available hardware for accelerated graphics, for example.

On the other hand, he obviously agreed that there would be official intros, which would have the look and feel of the pertinent ubuntu distribution, but there would be open room for including lots of other contributions so that every person which installs ubuntu can choose which one does he like more. Even have a random one each time they boot... As he said, it means millions of people are booting ubuntu everyday. That's millions of hits for the demoscene. If this is not a way of promoting it in real geeky environments - and not the usual art & design environments which most coders feel annoyed at the mere thinking of, just stop reading this, go away.

There was also some more talk about how to implement it; the model that I understood they were proposing was simply to ask developers to create something which would get passed from time to time the current loading percentage, so that they could update the demo accordingly, just in case they wanted to show a "timeline" and not only a single nice effect, etc.

And there was also some discussion on how to add more scener content to places like the login screen - like some scenerish effect running in background while the computer is awaiting for a user to log in.

After Mark's presentation, Navis, Smash and xWize were talking for a good while with Mark but I don't know why I felt a sudden shyness attack and preferred to watch them and wonder what were they talking about :D So maybe if they read this, they can provide us with the ultimate details.

In any case Mark said if anybody is interested, just drop him an email, I think he said mark at ubuntu.com.

I hope this helps a bit on the confusion which has been generated because of not having a record of the chat. I personally find this idea quite interesting, although I am not sure of being able to contribute until some kind of framework is there, but I'll try to keep updated on this topic.