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

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at
Wed Jun 7 06:08:08 EEST 2006

Travis Watkins wrote:
> On 6/6/06, James Richard Tyrer <tyrerj at> wrote: [massive snip]
> Not sure I see a problem. Icon themes shouldn't install icons for 
> applications in hicolor, applications should install their own icons.
Yes application specific icons installed in the apps private space won't
be a problem.  But ... (tm), many common actions have standard icons
which are installed by the DeskTop in the global icon space and that is
where the problems will occur when we have standard icon names and a
user installs more than one DeskTop on their system.  And, MIME type
icons are always installed in global icon space, never in an app's
private icon space.

> If you have a seperate theme that installs icons for applications 
> that's fine, just don't install them in hicolor.

We need to have HiColor icons as a fallback theme to be used when
the icon theme currently being used (and any inherited themes) doesn't 
have the needed icon.  Clearly, that wouldn't be an issue if every theme 
had every icon (that isn't going to happen, is it? :-)).  Then the only 
icons needed in HiColor would be the app icons for third party apps 
which would all have (we hope) unique names.

> The only real problem I can see if deciding which icon to choose:
> menu-editor from the current theme (matches the theme better) or
> menu-editor-foo from hicolor (application's own icon).

No, the problem occurs when the current theme doesn't have the icon: 
"menu-editor" and there is a fallback to HiColor for the missing icon.

The problem which I am pointing out is that if you install KDE that the 
KDE HiColor icon: "menu-editor" will be installed and then if you 
install GNOME and it also installs a HiColor icon: "menu-editor", you 
have problems:

1.	How to keep (in my example) GNOME from overwriting the KDE icons
	at install time.

2.	If #1 is prevented, how to determine which of the two icons will
	be used at run time.

3.	For consistency, #2 needs to be the same for (in my example) KDE
	apps and GNOME apps, otherwise we don't have consistency in the
	look of the two apps.

Note that this might not be confined to HiColor, if we start to have 
common icon themes and different DeskTops start installing different 
icons for those themes that have the same name -- same exact problem.

Currently we have a different problem because we don't have common icon 
names and the only common (to DeskTops at least) icon theme is HiColor. 
    When a common system for choosing icon themes across different 
DeskTops is implemented, we are going to have a lot of fallbacks 
occurring if we don't have common icon names first.

Sorry to sound pessimistic, but one of the things that you learn as an 
engineer is to think of everything that can possibly go wrong.


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