Icon theme specification: Standardizing icon names
alexl at redhat.com
Thu Oct 21 10:12:48 EEST 2004
On Wed, 2004-10-20 at 16:02 +0000, Frans Englich wrote:
> On Tuesday 19 October 2004 08:25, Alexander Larsson wrote:
> > 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.
> But you do ship browsers which allows the selection of character encodings? As
> said, you don't have to ship the actual flag symbols, but images that are
> blank, transparent or have some trivial symbol. The specification wouldn't
> force you to have actual Taiwanese/whatever flags, only to have images named
> flag-xx(or use the yet to be specified pseudo icon mechanism). In either
> case, you won't show flags in your interfaces -- wouldn't it be ok to have
> files on the hard disk named flag-xx, where xx is per ISO 639?
Ah, so we'd make the taiwanese flag blank, meaning we're suddenly siding
with china in the taiwan/china conflict, and all taiwanese people would
hate us. Not a good standpoint either.
The only way we would ship this is with blank files for all flag-xx.
What use is standardizing them then?
The character encoding <-> flag relation is a red herring anyway.
Character encodings don't map well onto flags. Flags tend to map to
languages, not countries, and many countries use several languages.
Anyway, It seems I have started a flags thread here now, which will soon
degenerate into a flamewar. Just like I said I didn't want.
To avoid further arguing on why flags are good/bad, I'll re-state the
reason I think flags should not be in:
If the standard mandates flags, neither Gnome nor Red Hat will ship
anything based on this (this is the policy of both organizations, and
likely many other organizations), thus such a standard will not be used
by a large group of the target audience. Lets not argue their respective
decisions here, as this has already been argued to death in each
organization. Thus, it would be good for the deployment of this
standard if it didn't contain flags.
 Here are some flames on the subject from Gnome
Alexander Larsson Red Hat, Inc
alexl at redhat.com alla at lysator.liu.se
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