XDG Icon Spec: requesting new icons for headsets, speakers, headphones

Rodney Dawes dobey.pwns at gmail.com
Thu May 14 14:51:14 PDT 2009

On Thu, 2009-05-14 at 11:55 -0700, Brian J. Tarricone wrote:
> > and has been for a long while now. And the base spec clearly identifies
> > how to name these device icons anyway, for specific types of devices,
> > with only the base types being in the base spec, so everything falls
> > back to those base types.
> Except clearly the list is incomplete and there are other device types 
> (like speakers and headsets) that you hadn't thought of.  This list 
> doesn't help Lennart's case.

That's fine. But when I make suggestions and the original proposer tells
me "no that doesn't make sense" and no one else is involved in that
discussion, there's obviously an impasse. Telling me that hierarchy
doesn't matter, when the entire point of the Icon Naming spec is the
hierarchy, is also not helpful to the cause of getting the names added.
All it tells me is that someone wants stuff added, but doesn't want to
be cooperative and figure out the best solution for EVERYONE.

> > There's always been the desire to have such addenda for other
> > categories as well, However, no one else has actually shown any interest
> > whatsoever in helping create them. And if I'm going to have to do all
> > the work, then everyone else is going to have to have some ounce of
> > patience and wait, because I can't do all 357000 things that I need to
> > do, simultaneously and instantaneously.
> Except you *aren't* doing all the work.  You aren't doing *any* work 
> beyond emailing this list to deny requests and come up with reasons why 
> XYZ icon name is a bad idea.

No. I never actually denied these icons, or specifically stated they
were a bad idea. I asked questions about how they would be used, and
what they are, and how to organize them, and to get other people to
comment. No one else commented. And I was told the organization isn't
important. In fact, I very recently added an icon to the spec. But I
guess it doesn't matter because it wasn't /your/ icon, right?

> > If you can't wait, then get off your asses and do something to help.
> That's exactly what people are trying to do here, but it's unclear as to 
> how to proceed because of your involvement.

I have made it very clear several times how to proceed. We need more
people discussing these things. This thread was dead until everyone
started to flame me. Why weren't you involved in the original
discussion? Where are your comments about the suggestions I made, and
the questions I asked? From this end, all I see is people looking for
some excuse to bitch and argue. And neither of those is particularly
productive. Either you don't care about the icons in the first place, or
you involve yourself in the discussion and try to help get a meaningful
resolution. Waiting until the flames start broiling isn't helpful.

> > You
> > don't get to bitch and moan when you've done absolutely nothing to help
> > further the goals of the specifications. And making demands that your
> > precious two icons that you think your precious app absolutely MUST
> > have, be in the spec, is not furthering the goals of the specification.
> Guess what?  The "goals of the specification" (whatever the hell that 
> means; inanimate documents don't have goals) are irrelevant.  The needs 
> of the community and of the people who will use the specification are 
> paramount.

If it's irrelevant, then obviously the entire point of freedesktop.org
is irrelevant. Developers aren't the only ones with needs.

> > In short, no I have no problems adding icons to the spec.
> Then add the icons that people think are necessary rather than 
> stonewalling at just about every single request.

I will when it makes sense to do so. Demanding I do so is not going to
get it done. I've said that before, and it remains. We need proper
consensus, not demands.

> > But I won't go
> > adding every single icon, that every single developer asks for, with the
> > blind hope that it makes sense in the spec.
> You're not adding every single icon.  From my on-and-off observations 
> over the past couple years, you add very few icons.  It's too 
> conservative, at least according to sentiment expressed here.  You can 
> either respond to what the community needs, or you can blindly push 
> forward with your own agenda that no one really cares about and doesn't 
> actually help developers and artists *in the real world*.  Too bad 
> you've taken the latter choice.

There have been very few proposals for new icons. Don't blame me for
lack of participation by others.

> > It's funny how nobody really
> > wanted to get involved in the discussion for suggested icon additions to
> > the spec, but everyone comes out of the woodwork when it's time to
> > insult the maintainer.
> No, everyone comes out of the woodwork when they realise that there's a 
> systematic problem.

Doesn't look that way to me. Just looks like everyone wants to complain
about something they're not involved in at all in the first place.

> Do I care about sound/speaker/headset-specific icons?  No, I don't.  I 
> don't work in the desktop sound space, and I have no expertise there.  I 
> don't know what's needed, and, given Lennart's experience, I'm happy to 
> defer to his opinion.  If he thinks we need those icons, I see no reason 
> to disagree wit him.  (Just to use the most recent request as an example.)

I have no problem adding the icons, but they need be organized properly
and have proper names. And 2 people going back and forth saying "i think
this is better" and "no i think this is better" isn't going to get that

> > Don't you people have anything better to do? Fix
> > some bugs perhaps? The goals of the spec have not changed. They are the
> > same now, as they were four years ago, when I wrote the first revisions.
> > If you disagreed with those goals, you should have made such known four
> > years ago when I initially wrote and proposed the spec, when nobody had
> > yet adopted it really. Now is not the time to argue over the goals of
> > the spec. They have been set, adopted, and in use now for a few years.
> Bullshit.  It's a living document.  The needs of the developer community 
> change.  Your vision of the spec is not what we need.  Therefore that 
> vision needs to change for the spec to continue to be useful moving 
> forward.  It's not any less valid just because people didn't know that 
> or realise its importance when all this was being hammered out.
> > I spent a lot of time in that first year as well, in order to make the
> > spec more easily adaptable by KDE, I made significant changes to the
> > spec. It was said to me four years ago when writing the spec, that I
> > seemed to be the only person to actually give a damn about the problem,
> > and it seems that is still the case, unfortunate as it is.
> How can you say that?  Look at this thread and the number of responses. 
>   Sure, some of it is potentially unjustified whining, but you get that 
> with any discussion about stuff people care about.

Because the majority of this thread is unjustified whining. And it's all
due to nobody being involved in the discussion, and therefore the
discussion falling by the wayside.

> > We really need to have feedback from multiple app developers, and
> > artists both, for icons to go into the spec. There needs to be some
> > balance between what developers think they need, and how much we can
> > expect any theme artist to draw. And we need those people to understand
> > the goals of the spec, which this thread has made it abundantly obvious
> > as being a problem.
> No, the problem is that the goals of the spec don't fit what the 
> developers need.  I won't speak for artists because I don't know what 
> they need.  Perhaps some artists could speak up?  Currently the balance 
> is "the artists don't need to do anything because none of the developers 
> can get new icons in the spec."  How is that useful?

Now, that is bullshit. The "community" isn't just developers. And apps
always need icons regardless if they are in the spec or not. But putting
every icon for every app in the spec DOES NOT make sense. At that point,
it is no longer a spec. It is merely a never ending list of file names.

> > If one doesn't have the patience to endure the
> > process of time, and can't get artists and other developers that might
> > use the same icons, to get involved in the discussion, then I fail to
> > see how a lack of consensus is a problem that being disrespectful, and
> > demanding, is going to solve.
> Basically this lack of consensus involves you on one side, and everyone 
> else on the other side.  At least, I haven't heard anyone else chime in 
> in support of denying Lennart's request.

I didn't deny it. I said I need more feedback. I don't want to put names
in and then in 2 months rename them all again because they make sense in
a different organization. No one chimed in to say either for or against.
The problem is that you, and apparently no one else either, wants to
discuss the issues. You just want a vote for in/out and be done with it.
That's not how specs get written.

> > That is all. I will be at UDS Barcelona in ~10 days, if anyone else is
> > going to be there, and wants to ping me in person about the spec, and
> > what it really needs, and how to actually get people involved in it,
> > rather than simply bitching when their proposed icon doesn't go in, due
> > to lack of useful commentary. If you are going to come find me and
> > bitch, then you will be promptly asked to leave me alone, because I have
> > no time to deal with people being disrespectful.
> This isn't about disrespect.  This is about getting out of the spec what 
> *real* developers need.  If you aren't interested in making the spec 
> more open to new additions, I just don't see that happening.  It's fine 
> for a base set of icons (with some hole here and there, sure), but it's 
> not sufficient for a complete icon theme.

What do you think *real* developers are? And what do you consider a
"complete" icon theme here? If complete means every icon ever used by
any application that might get installed on my desktop, then no one will
ever be able to create a complete theme. So it's obvious that there
needs to be some balance. One way we can do that is to have a unified
set of icons that wouldn't need to be redrawn for every desktop, as we
do now. I've talked with David Vignoni and Ken Wimer a bit about this at
the last UDS in Mountain View, and we all agreed that sharing a bunch of
the redundant icons would be beneficial for both desktops. Of particular
note are device icons, such as all the iPods and the like. 

> > [1] http://www.tigert.com/2005/09/15/ive-created-a-monster/
> I don't really agree with the thesis here.  For me, icons are a mental 
> shortcut so I don't have to always read text.  They have nothing to do 
> with differentiating between important or unimportant options.

Yes. I don't agree 100% with it, but the overall title and concept I
totally agree with. When every button and menu item have icons, you lose
the effect of what icons are meant to provide. When you open an app that
has a list of documents or windows, and every icon is exactly the same,
or only slightly different, that mental shortcut is gone, and you have
to read the text anyway.

> If you've found any of this personally insulting or disrespectful, 
> please point out what parts and I'll be happy to apologise.  It's not my 
> intent to be insulting, just to try to get the point across that there's 
> a huge disconnect between your vision for the spec and what people here 
> actually need.

Some of it does seem to be. Accusing me of not doing /any/ work, when I
in fact have, and stating that I only ever deny requests, which I don't
even tend to do. The lack of things going in, is not due to denial. It
is the lack of requests and feedback to make sure things are correct
now, rather than revising the spec and making everyone else change there
code all the time, because the spec keeps changing. And the bit about
suggesting a personal agenda. I only want our desktops to be the best
ever. If that's an invalid personal agenda, then I am happy to disagree
on it, because if the software we're making isn't awesome, then what's
the point? (That's meant to be a rhetorical question.)

> What would *you* suggest to help fix this situation?  It seems like 
> people want more icons in the spec, or at least more icon names 
> acknowledged as being used in the field such that they should be 
> included in icon theme implementations.  Should we start another list of 
> icons as someone else suggested?  Should we try to flesh out your 
> device-names.txt list with more concrete examples, and put it somewhere 
> where it's easier for people to add to when they come across new model 
> numbers, or when people need new classes of devices?

I think we obviously need more collaboration and communication, and we
need it from more than one person sticking an icon in their app because
they think it should have on there. We need people developing similar
apps on other desktops to provide feedback in the discussion. We need
artists to provide feedback on what they think is too much to have in
the base set, and what they feel is a good balance. The device-names.txt
file could certainly have more examples in it. We also need people to
help flesh out what's needed for other addenda as well, such as emotes,
mime types, and actions. New classes of devices belong in the icon
naming spec. The device-names.txt is for listing specific model
examples. I'm also willing to move the icon naming spec, and the various
addenda into a git repo for the icon naming spec. Of course, that
depends on someone setting up the repo so I can move them over. We've
also got wiki pages, that I don't think anyone is actively using. Diana
Fong, who used to be at Red Hat, had started setting up wiki pages with
icon names and info, as a sort of status for requests, but that sort of
went nowhere as she left Red Hat, and no one else really got involved
in it. (There were some icons in Echo that she wanted to get names in
for, iirc.) I would be glad to see something like that happening again,
but I don't have the time to maintain it as well. But if yourself, and
others want to do so, I would definitely support it.

I definitely need help managing the requests and the discussions for
their inclusion. A mailing list probably isn't the best place for it,
either. We sort of need something where we can show status for
individual icon names, and have a record of comments in support of,
or against, including specific icons, and what they are used for,
and how, and all that. 

So let's stop bickering about this and get things rolling in a manner
that will benefit everyone.


-- Rodney

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