Icon theme spec on the website

David Zeuthen david at fubar.dk
Fri Sep 26 13:19:43 PDT 2008

On Thu, 2008-09-25 at 16:01 -0400, Rodney Dawes wrote:
> Also, it has always been the intent to create addendum specifications
> which list standardized icon names for other specific genres of
> applications. For example, I have already started on a standardized
> list of device icon names[1], though it is only a .txt file currently,

I really don't want to be flaming here, but just to echo Richard's and
Toma's concerns it's worth pointing out that (significant parts of)
device-names.txt isn't currently used by GNOME.. and it probably won't
be used in it's current state. I'm not aware of anyone actually using

It's not that we (the gnome-vfs, gvfs and gio developers) didn't try,
just see [1] for lack of response, it's that I've (me personally, since
I've been carrying the torch) been met with tons of resistance and been
told again and again that what we needed was over-complicated and so
forth. So I opted for my own extensions and it almost works great (still
need to take advantage of the new emblem stuff though); this list of
icon names is now, in a very real way, the de-facto standard for GNOME
based environments. And it's probably already leaking into applications.

On a more constructive note, I think the icon naming spec is a good
idea. As a community (GNOME, KDE, XFCE, E, etc.) we're not really good
at executing that vision though. Something to think about.

FWIW, I'd love to work with other desktops (and Rodney of course) on
standardizing device names into one of the so-called addendum
specifications. I, like Richard and others, just don't like getting told
"it's too complicated" especially when 

 a) we already have fallbacks in place to avoid needing
    thousands of icons; and 

 b) there's a resistance to even wanting to understand why
    a certain naming scheme is chosen.

IOW, it's fine that the icon-naming-spec promotes simplicity. The
fallback scheme is the key; it allows a rich experience where, for
example, the icon for an optical disc exactly matches the disc. It's, as
a continuation of this example, up the the OS vendor / user to choose
whether there's a single CD-ROM icon (so all discs have the same icon)
or there's 10 or 20 (one for each disc type; e.g. CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R).

Someone a lot smarter than me once said: Make the simple case easy and
make the complicated case possible. I think the crux of the problem is
that complicated cases are frowned upon by the icon-naming spec
maintainer. And I think that needs to be fixed.

There's also a problem that there's no real list to discuss the icon
naming spec on. I'm on tango-artists lists but I don't tend to read it
as 99% of all messages are noisy to me (I'm sure it's a great list, I
personally just don't draw icons). I don't think xdg-list is a great
place either. Shrug.

Hope this clarifies. And here's to hoping this message will be read
constructively. Thanks.


[1] : http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=506532

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