The Fedora Linux wallpaper is always on such a journey 😄. You can explore the creative process behind Fedora wallpapers in my previous F36 blog post.

As I write this, Fedora Linux 40 is live, and being the big four-zero the other Fedora Design Team members and I thought we should do something special. Instead of drawing inspiration from a historical STEM figure with an O last name, we opted for the word “Open” (which conveniently also starts with O!).

We always create a mind map to brainstorm different ways of interpreting the theme we could go with.

Influences on the F40 wallpaper: “Open”

1. Open Outdoors

The open outdoors might seem like an obvious inspiration for “open” software, but there’s a deeper connection. Open Source software thrives when people collaborate publicly, just like nature thrives on interconnected ecosystems working together to create something even more amazing.

2. Trees

Trees, with their sprawling roots and branches, form a complex network, much like Open Source code. Both evolve, branch out, and grow, mirroring the interconnectedness of the natural world and open-source software. While Open Source doesn’t distribute literal seeds, it does scatter seeds of knowledge throughout the community!

3. Open Windows to Nature

Having an inside window looking outside shows that we’re always looking towards something with an open mind. Inspired a bit like the Lo-Fi girl who sits next to a window, it would provide a very appealing wallpaper.

4. Open Path

Again, it’s a bit on the nose with “Open” but we wouldn’t want to illustrate a closed path haha, now would we? The possibilities are endless on a path though. In the same way, working together in an Open Source way offers endless opportunities that closed-source software might not.

Expanding the F40 wallpaper theme: “Open”

After we made the above mind map, I felt inspired to create the image below in Krita. It started as just playing around with different textured brushes and seeing what I was immediately drawn to. I then drew over what I had on a separate layer with a proper guideline.

An open path or river, up to the viewer’s interpretation, through the tree’s overlapping connecting branches.

This was intended to be just the beta wallpaper. As the creator of the piece, I didn’t think it looked finished, and there were details I wanted to add to make it perfect. Although there’s a phrase I try to live by in situations like, “Make it finished, not perfect.” And this was a finished wallpaper!

New wallpaper contributions in the fold

The Fedora wallpaper is not a project that is entirely on my shoulders though. It’s always a collaboration! As the deadline quickly approached we luckily had a few contributors who had some options for F40. Below are some of the first ideas and drafts from Yotam Guttman.

In the Fedora 40 ticket, you can see all the conversations and different versions.

The amazing Yotam Guttman created the images below in Inkscape as an option for F40!

The Fedora Design Team and I absolutely loved Yotam’s work and wanted to use it for F40, but deadlines loomed, making it easier to go with the beta wallpaper as the final choice. We have used the beta as the final wallpaper before and it isn’t a big deal. But we loved those art pieces above and really wanted to use them! So we are going to use them for the Fedora Linux 41 Wallpaper!

What does this mean?

Well! The great thing is that we are now ahead of schedule for F41!

F41 would have been inspired by something starting with the letter P, and this piece of work has a beautiful P as in Path! We plan on using the finished versions designed by Yotam (you can see any small updates and documentation on the F41 ticket) and are ready to start working on the F42 wallpaper!

This way we can have more flexibility for edits, and time between finishing the wallpaper and handing it over for the Final Freeze deadlines. In the future, with all the wallpapers we will be ahead of schedule from this development!

Want to help shape the look of Fedora Linux 42? Join the fun and contribute your ideas for the F42 wallpaper! Everyone is welcome to participate. Check out the F42 ticket. for more details.