[UIFe] BFB icon swirl should run clockwise not anti-clockwise

Bug #1169238 reported by Matthieu James on 2013-04-15
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Fix Released
Matthieu James
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

It seems that most of positive symbols across different cultures in the world run clockwise. The swirl displayed in our launcher home (BFB) icon runs anti-clockwise. We should change its direction of rotation.

If the screenshots included in the documentation are not up to date, the overall understanding of the system will not be compromised.

This 'issue' has been reported by an Ubuntu user, and forwarded to me by Mark. Here is the original email:

Mr Mark and Canonical people,

I have being using Ubuntu since 2009 version for personal and business purposes and I have to tell you that I am so pleased to have some alternative system that effectively works, its so nice to have this opportunity :)

I would like to give you a small contribution: I am sorry to be a pain, but I understand a little bit about symbolism and how this can affect minds.

The new Ubuntu logo (13.04) is running in an Anti-clockwise way and not in a clockwise way.

If you allow me to add a little comment, life must go forward, not backwards, as I am sure you want to do with your operative system, but subconsciously you are telling people exactly the opposite.

If you pay correct attention to the ubuntu logo, it rotates in the "wrong" way, please trust my words, as this has a strong influence in people's decision.

In the Latin world, "sinistro" is used for anti-clockwise, and "sinistro" also means, wrong, direction, accident, among many other things, please check here: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinistro_%28seguro%29

In india, if someone asks why the swastika cross is turning to the right side, they will answer: because that's how life should turn/run.

There is a lot of misunderstandings about how the correct Swasthika should be, after Hitler.

Ubuntu, looks very much like a Celtic pattern, you may also confirm that you have here they turning to the same side as I described.


Please feel free to contact me for further information.

Kind regards

Related branches

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2013-04-15
summary: - BFB icon swirl should run clockwise not anti-clockwise
+ [UIFe] BFB icon swirl should run clockwise not anti-clockwise
Matthieu James (tiheum) wrote :
Matthieu James (tiheum) on 2013-04-15
description: updated
Dmitry Shachnev (mitya57) wrote :

−1. I don't see any reason why this can't wait until next release. The release team may disagree, though.

Scott Kitterman (kitterman) wrote :

This should be addressed by the Unity upstream project first, so unsubscribing the release team for now.

Stephen M. Webb (bregma) wrote :

+1 from the Unity upstream, after a brief discussion with designers about the aesthetics and cultural symbolism of the swirl direction

Changed in unity:
status: New → Triaged

Who gets to set the rules that clockwise is "correct" and counter-clockwise is "incorrect"? The notion that left = bad and right = good is steeped in ancient (and wrong) beliefs about what nature prefers. Consider the centuries of abuse that left-handed folks had to endure, for instance.

That clocks move "clockwise" is a completely arbitrary decision and has nothing to with life moving forward or backward. Nature itself seems to show a predilection for counter-clockwise behavior. When viewed from north of the galactic plane, Earth rotates counter-clockwise on its axis and it revolves counter-clockwise about the sun. People move counter-clockwise in skating rinks, on race tracks, on baseball diamonds. Amusement park rides go counter-clockwise.

It's the 21st century now. Do people really make technology decisions based on iron age fairy tales?

I'm going to object for docs at this point since we're 10 days out from release.

This really, really should not be dropping in at this late of an hour. If this is a cultural issue, it is far more appropriate that a *unified* response take place across all the flavors instead of just tweaking Unity. I was not aware of this being a dramatic cultural concern prior to now which means that I'm going to ask that this be delayed until the S cycle and that a blueprint be logged so that all flavors can discuss this matter. If this truly is that dramatic of a cultural concern there needs to be a session where this is discussed at UDS-1305 so everybody has a better background as to what is going on.

This is not a show stopper for 13.04.

Kevin Godby (godbyk) wrote :

-1 on the UIFe from ubuntu-docs and ubuntu-manual from my view. We don't have time to retake all the screenshots at this late date.

Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) wrote :

The change in the icon is so minimal, that I don't think any docs' screenshots would be "affected" by this.

Kevin Godby (godbyk) wrote :

I think this change is more likely to be noticed (and be a problem for) new users who are reading the documentation and trying to find the home button.

If the change is so minimal and won't be noticed by anyone, then I'd think it could wait until the next cycle.

We're ten days out from release. This release is only going to be supported for 9 months. If this is such a major cultural concern, now is the time to prep a blueprint for UDS-1305 so all flavors can be apprised of this apparently hereto unconsidered issue. It is appropriate to get all flavors on board if this is that drastic. Otherwise, if this is a minor thing, it is not a show stopper and can wait. Certainly we could have quite a change across the flavors spectrum by October if this is that major of an issue.

Guys, it's a trivial change, not material for screenshots (this icon
looks essentially the same and is in the same place). We are 10 days
from release, we are not at RC ;)


Scott Kitterman (kitterman) wrote :

OK, based on Mark's comment resubscribed the release team and set the 13.04 milestone.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
milestone: none → ubuntu-13.04
Carsten Gerlach (carsteng) wrote :

+1 to Steve Riley and Kevin Godby

Kevin Godby (godbyk) wrote :

Here are my final thoughts on this:

Your argument for the UIFe is that people will notice the anticlockwise background. Your argument as to why we don't need to retake the screenshots is that no one will notice the anticlockwise background. This is an obvious contradiction. Will people notice or won't they?

Should we expect a UIFe for the anticlockwise arrows on the Software Updater, as well? (This isn't a slippery slope fallacy, I'm honestly asking. Should we be expecting more UIFes for other icons? If so, when will we have a list?)

As to the timing issue, the ubuntu-docs package (with its screenshots) needs to be uploaded within hours, not days.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed

Why isn't this marked as critical? This is of utmost importance. If we change the direction of the swirl we will bring world peace and end world hunger and all wars!

David Klasinc (bigwhale) wrote :

I am left handed and I feel offended by this bug.

Dimitri John Ledkov (xnox) wrote :

Awesome James Bond reference in the default Ubuntu install =)


+1 for geeky pop-culture reference.

Alan Bell (alanbell) wrote :

maybe it should go clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere based on IP geolocation and in harmony with the coriolis effect?

Dimitri John Ledkov (xnox) wrote :

Software updater icon needs direction change as well to match.

Andrea Azzarone (azzar1) on 2013-04-16
Changed in unity:
status: Triaged → In Progress
milestone: none → 7.0.1
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Changed in unity:
assignee: nobody → Matthieu (thieume)
assignee: Matthieu (thieume) → Matthieu James (tiheum)
PS Jenkins bot (ps-jenkins) wrote :

Fix committed into lp:unity at revision None, scheduled for release in unity, milestone backlog

Changed in unity:
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Gareth Witty (vapedog1666) wrote :

I think its should be changed to a picture of Alan Pope.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package unity - 7.0.0daily13.04.18~13.04-0ubuntu1

unity (7.0.0daily13.04.18~13.04-0ubuntu1) raring; urgency=low

  [ Manuel de la Pena ]
  * Purchased songs won't download when not logged to U1 (LP: #1168674)

  [ Ubuntu daily release ]
  * Automatic snapshot from revision 3309

unity (7.0.0daily13.04.17~13.04-0ubuntu1) raring; urgency=low

  [ Marco Trevisan (Treviño) ]
  * Top Bar, window managment - top bar shadow not falling on restored
    windows that are partially off the top edge of the screen (LP:

  [ Matthieu James ]
  * [UIFe] BFB icon swirl should run clockwise not anti-clockwise (LP:

  [ Ubuntu daily release ]
  * Automatic snapshot from revision 3305
 -- Ubuntu daily release <email address hidden> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 05:43:34 +0000

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Stephen M. Webb (bregma) wrote :

Fix released in Unity 7.1.0.

Changed in unity:
milestone: 7.0.1 → none
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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