Icon parameters in *.desktop files

Rodney Dawes dobey at novell.com
Fri Jun 24 17:31:02 EEST 2005

On Thu, 2005-06-23 at 21:42 +0200, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> For better integration, icons from the icon theme should be used as much
> as possible. When you have a set of blue vector icons, getting a few
> bitmap icons that don't fit in the theme for applications isn't pleasing
> for the eye.

It is highly implausible for any single icon theme to provide an icon
for every single application that may be installed on any one single
user's desktop. Having said that, apps will have to be dealt with by
the icon themes on an app by app basis. An application's icon is part
of that application's branding. I somehow doubt that users want every
single app on their computer that can play audio, or edit text, or
browse the web, to use the same icon. However, this is quickly
degenerating into a thread about Usability, and this mailing list is
not about usability. It is about desktop integration. And it seems to
me, that the best way to integrate desktops with regards to fallbacks
for application icons, is to give the control to theme authors, and
not application authors. The fallbacks are not only useful for
application icons. We need this functionality for mime type icons as
well. Also, the Icon Theme specification clearly states that apps should
provide their own app icons, and install them to the hicolor theme, and
that those icons should be in a middle-of-the-road style, so as it will
not look out of place with the majority of themes.

> For each application, you would have to search through all available
> icons to see which ones are suitable.

No. With the Provides method, the implementation should just set up
aliases in memory and store that in the cache. The actual code for
parsing a comma separated list would be about the same whether it is
in the .desktop file parser, or in the icon theme parser. It would
probably actually be slower in the .desktop file side, since then it
would have to request every icon in the list, until it finds one,
while with the provides/aliases method, it can just make one request.

-- dobey

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