Icon theme specification: Standardizing icon names

Alexander Larsson alexl at redhat.com
Tue Oct 19 11:25:35 EEST 2004

On Wed, 2004-10-13 at 16:41 +0000, Frans Englich wrote:
> On Tuesday 12 October 2004 09:35, Alexander Larsson wrote:

> > Don't add the flags to the spec. Flags are a very complicated political
> > area. The very existance of some flag can cause a whole country to ban
> > your software. Gnome has decided to never ship flags. Everyone doesn't
> > have to follow this, but can we please not standardize on them at least.
> The spec doesn't specify how flags should look -- it only pick names directly 
> derived from a standard by a formal standardization body. "This is what ISO 
> says, and we only provide a mechanism for standardized graphical 
> representation" -- that's one way to swear us free from the responsibility. 
> Also, since it is a formal body, that gives it legitimacy. 
> The design of flags, and shipping of flags is an implementation issue, AFAICT. 
> If someone don't want flags, they can skip implementations that shows them, 
> use blanc icons for the flags, or simply violate the specification.
> We've had similar cultural issues in KDE; country/region about China/Tibet, 
> for example. However, to _my_ knowledge, we haven't had trouble with merely 
> shipping the flags.
> Could you elaborate on what trouble Gnome have had? And more exactly what the 
> result is(examples)?
> Currently, I think it can be solved by practical means, and firm policy.

Its not about naming, or the exact design. Its about politics. E.G. If
you ship a taiwanese flag, your software will not be allowed to be sold
in mainland china. If the spec requires that icon themes have some flag,
there is a high probablility that some contry/etnicity/whatever takes
that as a political statement. The fact that some formal body was
involve does not change this.

We have had huge flame wars on gnome lists about flags, and I'm not
interested in bringing them here. If you want to read flames, try
searching for the flags thread on desktop-devel-list at gnome.org.

It suffices to say:

Gnome will never ship any flags, nor depend on any software or standard
that mandates the existance of flags. The same goes for Red Hat.

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl at redhat.com    alla at lysator.liu.se 
He's a hate-fuelled coffee-fuelled matador from a doomed world. She's a 
time-travelling bisexual nun with someone else's memories. They fight crime! 

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