Moving on.

There always comes a time when you find yourself in a place where you have to make a somewhat important decision. Pizza or tacos, real tacos not that wannabe processed food sold in some areas. Flat or not flat. Whiskey or beer. Today is that day for me. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about since around November 2015. But to make sure that it was what I wanted to do and not just the heat of the moment, I thought about it for even more time. So, now I’m sure about it. 100% of my work has always been for open-source things. Whether it was artwork or UI design, in the beginning, around 2008, I’d watch from the sidelines as community projects created their stuff. Then, I created my own in 2012. I knew then first hand what it was to be on the driver’s seat. It was beautiful, being able to create something that people would use. But I never thought of joining the big boys, the established community projects. I stayed clear of that, and I had the feeling that I just wouldn’t fit there, like a spider-sense that it wasn’t probably the best idea.

And truth be told, I was right; unfortunately, I was damn right. Once invited to one, I eventually joined a large, established community project in 2014. I figured, what could go wrong.

You know, when you join these projects, you think of all the possible ways that you are going to be able to help them. To help improve that project because that’s why you agreed to join, to contribute to bringing your skills, passion, and devotion to that project. Take me, for example, I’m a graphics designer, and I know that. I know that I wouldn’t be able to code a web browser, a media player, a file manager, a window manager, a daemon, an init system, a kernel, etc. from scratch by myself right now (but I’m learning to do it! maybe in a year I’ll be able to). I don’t pretend to play programmer, but I can search and find my way around some of that stuff If I have to. So, I know what my thing is, and my job is design. Create interfaces, create assets for these interfaces, explore the user experience, explore the possible interface scenarios a user will find, make things user-friendly, easy to use, easy to get used to, easy to remember, but hard to forget (TM). After all, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past four years, designing left-and-right.

And so I accepted. Alright! Excellent, yeah, I’ll help. I’ll do what I do best.

A year in, and I’m happy. I’m doing what I like, I’m doing what I enjoy, and I’m helping. But then what happens?, I decided to be even more helpful and take on something that had required attention — still related to the artwork. I wasn’t going to jump on maintaining code, no, always design-based, something that I already have the know-how. To think that it would result in me leaving and be disenchanted with the project, who knew?. Indeed, not what I expected. See, when you’re put in charge of something, you’d expect to have the final say on the matters regarding that something, in my case, a part of what composes the artwork and to the extent of what I was assigned to do, I had, seemingly. But then you see the chance to do more because hell, you’re there to help!, right?, and you do what seems to you like the right thing to do, I mean you know how to improve it, using it daily you see what’s wrong. Even more so, you already have experience because you’ve previously worked with something like that.

Would you sit there and watch it burn? (well, get old and left behind but that sounds more dramatic). I didn’t.

After a discussion, my changes were “accepted” and are being used right now. But why is that on quotes then?. The problem at first was the changes not being accepted. Surely, It bothered me that glaring problems that I intended to fix were not being resolved because my changes were apparently “too drastic.” But then I thought about it, no that wasn’t it. I figured, when you go to a car mechanic to fix your car you’re going because you can’t fix the problem, you don’t have the know-how to fix it, or you don’t know anything about cars, period. And like you don’t go and tell the car mechanic how to do his/her job. Unless of course you are a retired industrial engineer with 40 years of experience in car manufacturing and you don’t want to get dirty and want somebody else to do it, or you’ve been working on a garage for decades that you can tell a piece of a brand of engine from another just by looking at it, then you can, by all means, tell him/her how to do his/her job if they’ve done it wrong. Alright, something simpler, I thought, it’s the same as if I were to judge someone else’s code because [reasons], what do I know about code? about [programming_language]? under what circumstances can I pass any judgment about this person’s code If I have no programming experience of my own?.

The other day while learning C++, I learned how to make a calculator. Does that make me a programmer?, of course not!, right?, can I add to my résumé: Skills: C++, of course not. Does that give me the qualification to judge code? No. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take feedback, but I’ve always, always said that saying “I don’t like” it does not count as feedbackSo why was that on quotes, because it wasn’t accepted based on the reasoning of why I did my changes but because of “community.” Because “let’s all get along.”

And this is how I see it, the experience is essential, and so when someone with more experience than me in ‘X’ matter corrects me, I’ll take note because obviously, that person knows better than me. In my case, in this case, that would be graphic design. It makes sense to me to listen to someone with ten years, 20 years, or seven years of experience in design with dozens or hundreds of completed projects because it’s evident to me that they know more than I do. It’s the same the other way around; it doesn’t make sense to me that someone who has no design experience passes judgment on design-related work. Then again, I learned how to make a calculator in C++ that doesn’t make me a programmer much less an experienced programmer, and therefore I’m not qualified to pass judgment on someone else’s code. It’s fine to exert an opinion, give feedback or make a suggestion, yes obviously! But going as far as to correct the designer when you’re not a designer yourself does not make sense to me.

It’s unfortunate, though, and I wanted to be there to help. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have accepted. But I won’t be able to do so now as I have no intention to go back and be part of it or be participative about it. Too bad. All the while, I met awesome people. They were, and are, like superstars to me because of what they created, the very software that I was using, and I got to meet the people who created it. I even got to be in another country for a week with some of them, but I won’t and don’t have a reason to be a part of this large community project if things work, are, and continue to be like that. If only I had been left to do what I do best. And it’s not about “oh, welcome to reality” and “deal with it” which is what I’ve done. I’ve dealt with it. It’s that things don’t have to be like that, they shouldn’t. I read a couple of days ago that to be part of this FOSS environment, you have to get used to this kind of thing, and it’s true. It shouldn’t have to be like this, but it is true. And you only have two options, either you accept that this is how things work or you step aside and move on. I chose to do the sane option and decided to move on.

And to make it clear what I’m fumbling about, I’m leaving the KDE VDG for the reasons stated above. I will not maintain nor work in the Breeze icons or Plasma theme for one more minute.

And that, of course, doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing any new artwork compatible with Plasma, that doesn’t change. Nitrux will continue to supply 3rd party artwork for Plasma users, like always.

Anyways, luckily I have my own thing, and it’s essential to admit that I neglected my situation to help there. Not anymore, priorities, man!, and Nitrux is where mine is at and where they should’ve been. Like good old’ Bender would say: I’ll make my own [desktop_environment] with blackjack and hookers!. Only now for real because I’m learning how to do that.

I was going to save it for when I completed my portfolio (by the way, check it out!), but since it’s mostly complete now, today’s as good as any other day to say this.