Icon theme spec on the website

Toma tomhaste at gmail.com
Thu Sep 25 19:12:55 PDT 2008

2008/9/26 Rodney Dawes <dobey.pwns at gmail.com>:
> The details are in the spec. The problem with file type icons is people
> assign arbitrary things as the MIME type. Like application/foo for
> audio files, or text types. It seems like most new things just end up
> under application/ when they would be better suited to other groups,
> or perhaps should have new sane groups created. There are very few types
> for which "application" actually makes sense as a grouping. Having these
> sorts of types defined, makes it very hard to easily fall back to a sane
> generic icon. This is why the new generic icon stuff was added to the
> Shared MIME spec, and is in shared-mime-info now.
> The icon-naming-utils package is and always was meant as a crutch, to
> help us move forward, without sacrificing compatibility in the meantime.
> It is not a hack, but a temporary bandage to help with the insane number
> of icons we have in the desktop.
> So, I'm not quite sure what you mean by having "battled with ridiculous
> icon names" or anything. I've never seen any e-mail from you on this
> list, the tango list, or personally, asking for clarification where you
> might be confused with some wording in the spec, or to propose new
> icons, or anything. And it is rather insulting for your first e-mail to
> be one of such bold insistence that the spec needs a re-think and
> serious additions and rules, and still yet you have any to propose.

My gripe has nothing to do with the spec, but more the lack of support
by the applications that use it, and the icon themes than try to
follow it. I guess it really comes down to the level that the spec is
enforced (along with many other FDO specs that get abused (see my
comments on the systray spec)). Having spent a good amount of time
trying to create a template to import 'real-world' icon themes into a
FDO compliant icon theme, I realised a large amount of icons are named
'gnome-applications-blah' or 'xfce-something' which largely defeats
the purpose of making icons cross-DE compliant. Again, not much to do
with the spec, but it shows that there is/was a situation where these
targetted icon names were used. I have neither the time or will to
actually find what versions and what apps sue it, but its a little
disheartening to see this kind of use still being covered in modern
icon themes.

> If you have something to propose, then do so. Don't lurk in the
> background and wait for an opportunity to complain. Propose it, and
> there can be discussion and acceptance or denial of your proposal as
> is fit. Making rash demands without any supporting information, is not
> making a proposal.

I like the proposed names here
[http://people.freedesktop.org/~dobey/device-names.txt] as they have
specific uses and have the ability to expand to other devices. One
common mis-use is 'device-hd.png', 'device-harddrive.png',
'device-harddisk.png'... as you can see, you can call something a
whole pile of legitimate names and then the icon theme ends up having
to cover those names. Thats just 1 example. One way to fix this, is
splitting the spec into 3 sections.
1. The basic most common use icons, which include the icons used by a
bare install of a DE. This includes basic file manager, device,
settings, and login icons.
2. The advanced icons, things like bluetooth, emotes, emblems,
actions, status stuff.
3. Application and MIME type icons.

This way an icon themer can see the specifics and see the naming in
more coherrant detail. Also so that the naming system can be
demonstrated further, so that one can easily fill in any missing icons
without huge amount of philosophical thought.

I like the idea of this:
so that it can be browsed categorically. Perhaps we can start filling
out the missing pages? Or perhaps an easy system of submitting icon
names? Something along the lines of a text entry with a drop down for
the category the icon should belong in? Then someone/everyone accepts
the filename and it gets added to the spec, so that appluications can
register their icons to the spec. For 1 or a few people to create this
database, it would be quite time consuming, and I applaud all youve
done already Rodney. The other benefit of a database of icon names, is
the ability to search it and find an icon name that suits your
application or action and impliment that instead of dreaming up some
crazy filename.

Glad we're discussing it :)

> -- Rodney
> On Thu, 2008-09-25 at 23:06 +0800, 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.
>> Toma

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