In praise of… ‘Variety’


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When you are working at your PC desktop, it’s good to have an interesting background to gaze at occasionally, while waiting for the great thoughts to come.  Windows has its limited number of Themes, some of which will even change between backgrounds at regular intervals.  Or you can set up your backgrounds to come from photos in your Pictures folder.  But I haven’t found anything for Windows quite like Variety for Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

Variety gets pictures from, well, a variety of sources, including the web, and regularly sets one as background for your consideration.  But they’re not just random photos; in many cases they are some of the best photographs I’ve seen of their many different subjects.  “Classics” would perhaps be a good way to describe them.  I have become very fond of some of them – I’ve been very careful to back them up.  I don’t really know where most of them originate; the sources are set up in Variety, but they are new to me.  I do know that some of them are the work of Peter Levi, and that Peter is an ace photographer as well as the developer of Variety. Whether it is his perceptive shot or not, the strong intelligence radiating from the expressive features of the “girl in the trilby hat” is likely to haunt me for a while.

Peter, who lives with his family in Bulgaria, developed Variety for Ubuntu as part of the Ubuntu App Showdown contest in 2012.  Variety sometimes comes up with some apparently simple, but perfectly composed and enchanting, family shots which I think may be his.  It’s a positive characteristic of the open source community that you can so easily become aware of, and in sympathy with, the developers behind the software you use.  As he says on his website’s Donation page:  “I am developing Variety in my spare time, which usually means the late hours after my kids go to bed.”  I can empathise with that.

Of course, you will need to install Linux Mint or Ubuntu to experience Variety.  There is a web place, not a million miles away, that can help you do that…

So, to Peter Levi, his family, and Variety – respect!  Variety really is the spice of life.


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