Multiple DeskTops, HiColor theme, standardized icon names, & menu icons

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at
Tue Jun 6 18:11:31 EEST 2006

Various discussions at KDE have indicated that there are potential
problems when a user installs multiple DeskTops on their system.

We need a common place to install menu icons (i.e. "apps" icons).

Since all icon themes are not complete, we need fall back icon themes
(note I do mean themes, not just *a* theme).

It has been proposed that we have standardized icon names.  Is this
really a good idea?  By standard names it is meant that different
DeskTops will have the same name for icons with the same function.  The
purpose of this appears to be so that apps from different DeskTops will
have a similar look when being run together on the same DeskTop.

I see a problem here as others have correctly pointed out.

I note that "apps" icons are not going to be a large part of this
problem since they should always have distinct names -- apps should have
a distinct name for their menu icon.  However, even here there can be a
problem if DeskTops install their own icons for popular apps.

This is not an easy issue to solve.  What come to mind first is to have 
separate: "hicolor" directories for each DeskTop:


and one for third party apps:


{This probably shouldn't be considered a real solution but rather just 
an example to illustrate the problem.}

This would appear to work since each icon loader would only search first 
in that DeskTop's "hicolor.<desktop>" directory and then in the general: 
"hicolor" directory.  This works, but it _doesn't_work_ well.

This proposed solution would still have apps from different DeskTops 
using different icon for the same function if they fall back to HiColor 
and a fall back to HiColor is going to be likely as soon as there is a 
XDG method to select the icon them so that all icon loaders will access 
it and be using the same default icon theme.  Standardized icon names 
would help (less fall back), but the issue would still exist.

Next (probably bad) idea that comes to mind is to have the same multiple 
  HiColor directories but to have a configuration file in the: "hicolor" 
directory showing the order to search the "hicolor.<desktop> 
directories.  Yes, this would work -- if we had standardized icon name, 
all apps would be using the same icon for the same function-- but it is 
messy (to say the least) and we would need a way to configure this order 
with a GUI.  It is also a detail that the user probably wouldn't want to 
deal with.

I know little about VFS, but wonder if this might help.  Still need 
something to list the order to search though.

So, I see this as a major issue which is going to take some thought to 
solve.  We want all icon loaders to fall back to the same HiColor icons 
but with standardized icon names, different DeskTops are going to be 
installing HiColor icons with the same name and we don't want them 
overwriting each other.

Add this to Oswald's issues and I see that these issues need a lot of work.

The first step in solving a problem is to clearly state it and I hope 
that I have done that.


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