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

Shaun McCance shaunm at
Sat Jun 24 01:22:48 EEST 2006

On Thu, 2006-06-22 at 17:02 -0400, Rodney Dawes wrote:
> The real problem here is that we need a good way to deal with
> action/status/etc... icons provided by the applications themselves,
> which are not part of the base set of icons, or are specific to the
> application itself, and are required by its UI. Application icons
> themselves shouldn't be an issue, as they should be installed to
> hicolor. 
> We really need some way for apps to install icons into a private theme
> directory, and specify that lookups should be made within it, as a
> fallback. One hacky way to do this currently, is to install icons into
> a private data directory, in the "hicolor" theme, such as:
> /usr/share/application/icons/hicolor/
> One can then alter the XDG_DATA_DIRS variable internally to the
> application, to include /usr/share/application/ within the path. This
> will cause this instance of icons in hicolor to only be used within the
> application in question, and avoid file conflicts with other
> applications which may want to install an icon of the same name.
> Having a somewhat more sane method to do this, would be much better
> though, I think. And, we certainly need one.

Just to "me too" and provide added complexity (which I know I've
talked with you about, Rodney, but maybe not other people here
who make shit happen):

With my application developer hat on, I've had to deal with this
exact problem.  Yelp installs some custom icons it uses in its
DocBook renderings.  I'll bet we could manage to make a few of
them standard icons, but not all of them.

So trying to be a good icon theme citizen, Yelp puts its custom
icons in its own DATADIR subdirectory, and tells GTK+ about that
for icon lookups.  But in Gnome, we've come to the conclusion
that it just isn't feasible for our accessibility themes to be
constantly chasing application-specific icons.  We need to be
able to ship accessibility versions of the icons with Yelp, but
our current mechanism leaves us no way of doing that without
installing directly into those themes' directories.  And if I'm
not supposed to install to hicolor, it's certainly no less evil
to install to HighContrastInverse.

I suspect we could probably solve this with an explicit idea
of an application icon directory, coupled with a few standard
base themes for accessibility.


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