← Back to team overview

unity-design team mailing list archive

Re: Ubuntu startup sound for 14.04 LTS


Hey all,

Thanks for the input. I totally get the importance of sound for users with visual impairment, and I'll definitely keep that in mind while working on these sounds. I think the important factors really lie with the lightdm sound to let the user know the computer is booted up. Specifically, it must:

1) be attention-getting; in other words, not too quiet or subtle to pick up on 2) not be longer than a couple seconds, because if it's too long, it's not clear to those who are vision impaired whether it's the start of the sound or the end of the sound that indicates they may proceed to log in

I think the actual sound that plays once they've entered their credentials can be a little less restricted.

Also, I'm happy to say that I'm now working officially with Canonical, and will be sending some ideas for startup sounds and ringtones within a couple weeks, which will wind up on Mark Shuttleworth's desk. The only direction on new sounds I've ever seen from Shuttleworth is that he wanted them to be "inspired by light." (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/308#comment-324337) Not sure if that's still the case. Guess I'll find out soon enough!


On 09/12/2013 08:49 AM, Dmitrijs Ledkovs wrote:
Hello Sam,

Sorry for joining this mailing list thread late. At the moment we
still do have the default start up sound, although it might not be
obvious at the first sight.

When one boots Ubuntu Desktop installation CD, one hears the distinct
short drums beat. It indicates that the installer has been fully
booted. It must be an audio signal, for people with visual impairment.
After this sound is played, one can use a keyboard shortcut to
activate screen reader for complete text-to-speech based navigation.

Similarly the same sound is played on boot, when lightdm screen is
present to allow similar text-to-speech activation before login in a
multi-user system setup.

The sound is called "system-ready.ogg" which at the moment is a
symlink (copy) of "dialog-question.gg"

xdg-open /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo/syste-ready.ogg

There are also other "sound theme" music for other actions. Some of
them are quite melodic.

But there is a lot of opportunity around sounds in ubuntu, e.g. in
that directory we also have tones for:
* phone outgoing calling / busy
* phone incomming calling

And etc.

I was not aware of the 12.04 competition, but it would be amazing to
update at least the "system-ready" music for 14.04 and of course
provide nicer sounds for the ubuntu touch/phone story.

General guidelines for default artistic works in ubuntu probably
apply, e.g. licensing work under Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 (
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ ) just like for the
wallpaper competitions.  (


Dmitrijs Ledkovs,
part of the Ubuntu Installer Team.

Follow ups