Icon theme spec on the website

Jakob Petsovits jpetso at gmx.at
Thu Sep 25 12:05:15 PDT 2008

On Thursday 25 September 2008, Toma wrote:
> Agreed. Too long have I battled with ridiculous icon names. Over in E
> town, we're trying to get the icon themes to provide icons for the
> file manager, but the majority of icon themes use hacks and links to
> get them to work with a particular version of whatever. Now, you can
> blame this on the icon packager, but part of the blame is in the spec,
> for not outlining all the details.
> That said, the whole spec needs a re-think and needs some serious
> additions and rules.

And a staging area. Like, a place where developers can list their icons 
regardless of applicability in other desktops, and other devs list theirs too, 
and everyone can have a look at what similar applications use and consequently 
agree on a single naming set.

I believe a major problem is that the desktops just don't know of each other, 
and use whatever non-standard icon names they can just think of, even if the 
other desktop has already done lots of thinking about this issue and might 
have a sounder solution. If we want people to work together on icons, we 
should know what the other's icons are and how they can be made to fit into a 
single scheme. And when people agree on a given name and description, they 
should go into the spec.

I wanted to throw up a website to facilitate this for a long time, but it just 
never fit into my schedule. Maybe someone likes the idea and feels motivated 
to help the devs come together for icon naming and more detailed usage 
descriptions :]

I also believe that an icon naming specification should not aim to have 
developers rethink how their application works, which is what dobey also tried 
to do with the spec. How interfaces are designed is subject to a given desktop 
and its user interface paradigms and HIG, trying to force a specific way of 
working onto the other desktop is imho something that slowed down icon 

Anyways, let it be bottom-up, not top-down. Desktops and applications use 
their own icons anyways (if they can find artists drawing those, at least), 
and won't stop doing so just because the extremely limited set of icons in the 
spec doesn't cater to their needs. We should try to find similarities where 
those already exist, and only cut down on icons when a solution can be reached 
that everyone is comfortable with.

My opinion is that a fixed set of icon definitions will never suffice for all 
the different usages there are. Let the icon naming spec be replaced a 
publicly editable list of which icons exist and where / how often those are 
used. Themers do one icon at the time anyways, so they could just pick the 
next one on such a priority list until they lose motivation (one could also 
say "until they're done", but complete icon sets covering all desktops and 
applications don't exist and are mostly a utopian wish, imho).

Unfortunately I'm away from desktop tinkering for quite a while still, so I 
can't help with that effort. However, please do feel encouraged to pull up an 
inclusive working ground as opposed to a minimal static list, I'd welcome an 
effort to get the people to work together again instead of begging the spec 
maintainer for something they won't get anyways without lots and lots and more 
lots of discussions that are mostly going nowhere.


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