Subject: Common icontheme shared between KDE and Gnome ...

tackat at tackat at
Fri Apr 8 20:32:54 EEST 2005

... or why KDE didn't submit CRYSTAL-SVG as a common
freedesktop-icontheme shared between KDE and Gnome ((yet ;-)).

With all the great progress on a common icontheme (naming) standard I'd
like to raise attention to the topic of a common icontheme shared
between all major desktop environments: As CrystalSVG has been widely
successful among KDE as well as Gnome users it would have been an
obvious choice for a common icontheme. Still we resisted from suggesting
it as we prefer KDE to be branded with its own icontheme for the
following reasons:

* The KDE Project perceives to be an institution that
ensures common technical interfaces to be shared between the major
desktop environments. As such KDE started and supported initiatives as
the icontheme standard (which btw. is based on my ideas for a KDE icon
standard that was right from the start meant to be shared by Gnome as
well) and the icon file name standard.

* In terms of usability it's a huge advantage to have a common
(icon-/widget-/wm)theme shared between all applications no matter which
toolkit they are using. We are in the happy situation now that this
dream has pretty much become reality these days: Based on and various technologies (qt/gtk-engine) the desktop
distributor or desktop user is empowered to have his favourite icontheme
shared by all applications.

* The KDE Project is a project with its own community, it's own
developer ideas, its own philosophy, visions and dreams. Like different
countries we have established our own identity and culture. The same is
true for other desktop environments as well. We are at the lucky point
where we have various desktop cultures living happily together and
sharing technologies.

The default theme ( consisting of color palettes, icon- /widgetstyle-
and wm- theme ) pretty much resembles the _visual identity_ of our
project. For reasons of marketing, visual design preferences and our own
self-perception we prefer to have our own KDE icontheme by default which
helps to promote our desktop along with its philosophy. That's why KDE's
interface guidelines consist of an HIG as well as a CIG
(Corporate/Community Identity Guidelines). The latter is a branding
manual which defines our visual identity along with our icontheme. With
regard to this we aren't in any way different from distributions which
tend to create an own icontheme for the reason of added value and
branding (Redhat: bluecurve, Linspire: e-clear, e.g.).

During the last KDE User and Developer Conference ("aKademy") as well as
other meetings I had the chance to talk to other KDE core developers,
lead artists, usability engineers and promotion team members about this
topic. So this mail pretty much reflects sums up the positions of many
of our lead developers and supporters on this topic.

Best Regards,
Torsten Rahn <rahn at>

KDE Artist Team / Promotion

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Kind regards,
        Torsten Rahn


Dipl.-Phys. Torsten Rahn, credativ GmbH 
Karl-Heinz-Beckurts-Str. 13, 
52428 Jülich, Germany

Email: Torsten.Rahn at

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