Google introduced a new design language with Android 5.0 called Material Design. It relies on vivid colors, a lot of white space, and animations designed to make different on-screen elements feel like real materials.

For instance, switching between two screens in an app is meant to feel like sliding one sheet of paper over another.

But while Android is designed for smartphones, tablets, and TVs there’s nothing stopping developers from borrowing Material Design concepts for use in different arenas… and some folks are working on bringing Material Design to desktop Linux operating systems.

quartz os_05

The developers at Evolve OS have recently started working on bringing Material elements to their Budgie desktop environment, while developer Michael Spencer has begun work on a new Material-inspired, Linux-based operating system called QuartzQuantum OS.

Update: Quartz has been renamed Quantum.

Evolve’s approach will bring Material elements to the GTK user interface toolkit, while Quantum OS will use Qt. But Spencer has also been in touch with the Evolve OS team and they’re working to ensure that apps would run in a similar fashion across either operating system.

Spencer also says the UI toolkit his team is developing will be cross-platform, and capable of running on Windows, OS X, and other Linux distributions.

Note that most of the graphics the teams have shown so far are just rough mockups or early design prototypes. But it’s interesting to see at least two teams working to bring  ideas from Google’s new user interface for Android to desktop operating systems.

via /r/Linux


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11 replies on “Several Linux distros borrow Google’s Material Design ideas”

  1. Material looks like Micro$oft’s Metro – I don’t like either of them. Too self important and in your face.

  2. Computers and Smartphones don’t need an OS that is an entertainment system. Fancy animations just waste CPU cycles and battery life. Give me an OS that is efficient and stays out of the way so I can get the job I need to do get done.

    1. Have a Kolibri then! It’s just a megabyte big and fully functional!

      and I am not advertising at all…

  3. I really hope that Linux Mint doesn’t buy into Material. I find it bland and much less pleasing to the eye.

    I have a colleague with Mac OS X and he also hates the new design in the latest OSX. The botom launcher in OS X now looks as ugly as an XFCE dock 5 years ago. And XFCE has come a long way since.

    Linux desktops should differentiate themselves by keeping their pleasing design and look as high-powered workstations should look. Low-power devices may utilize Material, that is at least less stressful to the GPU.

  4. I am enjoying Lollipop on my N4, but it seems to me that quite a bit of Material’s cues and hints are intended for touch. I am not sure how well that will translate to keyboard/mouse…

    1. Many new laptops come with touch screens and some are convertibles (folds around to tablet mode)

      1. And I am actually using a folding convertible! What a(n uninteresting) coincidence!

  5. Might be a watershed moment. Up to now Linux designers have more typically taken cues from Windows or OSX. It’s kind of interesting they would latch onto material design. I suppose it is well defined enough to latch onto and understand as a concept which is really not confined by screen size at all.
    I’m still kind of surprised no strong third party launchers have come for Android to make it more approachable as a desktop operating system in its own right.

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