The humble desktop wallpaper, an escapist's portal that lets you dream about faraway places, personalise a mundane object and brighten up your life, or is it just an annoying feature that makes you question the sanity of your fellow co-workers?
If you're a wallpaper fanatic, we want to know what you think are the ten best desktop backgrounds of all time. Since it's a really subjective topic, we're leaving it up to you to tell us which ones get you hot under the collar.
We have, however, put together ten of our favourite default desktop backgrounds to start the ball rolling. These straight-out-of-the-box wallpapers might be standard images that don't hold any creative merits -- but you've got to start somewhere.
First up, behold the classic Macintosh System 1.1 wallpaper, a mosaic of alternating black and white pixels that gives a grey cast to the screen. This wallpaper is an early representation of Apple's simple and straightforward ethos.
Most of the images in this article, other than the Ubuntu and Vista screenshots, were sourced from guidebookgallery.org. -Andrew Lim
The Amiga Workbench 1.0 OS featured a striking blue background. Different shades of blue would become a popular default wallpaper choice for many OSes in the future.
Windows 3.0 featured a solid grey background, similar to the Mac's grey wallpaper. Is this an early sign of Microsoft trying to copy Apple? *ducks*
The irix 5.0 OS featured a pleasing pebble-blue wallpaper -- less harsh than Windows 95's teal background.
Windows 95's default teal wallpaper is a classic, if a little harsh on the eyes. Not one you would want to stare at for too long, but that funky pipes screensaver would save your vision, as well as your CRT monitor.
Behold the wallpaper that introduced Mac OS X -- eat your heart out, Windows teal!
Ahh, the blue sky and green grass wallpaper that accompanied Windows XP. It made many workers long to escape the drudgery of their offices and gambol in the fields.
Is the QNX Neutrino OS's wallpaper ripples on a grey pond, or a bed sheet? We're not sure, but we like it.
A new OS and a new default wallpaper. Many people have compared Vista's wallpaper to the OS X -- we wonder why...
Ubuntu's default wallpaper has also been compared to Apple's offerings, but we think that going for a brown background was a brave and independent move. Just don't mention the brown Zune.