Multiple styles in icon themes and the future of the XDG icon specs

Noah Davis noahadvs at
Thu Nov 21 11:58:02 UTC 2019

On 2019-11-20 01:04:29 EST, Simon Lees <sflees at> wrote:
> I think the simplest way to do this is to focus more on implementing it
> in the toolkits rather then by drastic changes to the desktop spec.
> Possibly the best way forward could be to teach toolkits to use two
> themes, the standard theme and the "application" theme (for lack of a
> better name). If the application theme is set then the toolkit would use
> it over the "main" theme for the elements you suggested such as buttons
> etc. You could then extend the button api etc with a flag that tells it
> to use the main theme instead. You could also add api to QApplication
> (or its equivalent) that specifies certain applications like maybe
> desktops should ignore the application theme.
> In a similar way to the way the current spec allows you to set a
> fallback theme for missing icons we could also extend it to specify a
> "application" theme that it could choose to use or not to use.
> If you were to then ship a breeze-monochorome theme that falls back to
> the breeze theme, users of toolkits that didn't support this new
> functionality could choose to use breeze-monochrome and have 95% of
> there icons looking right (with the exception of ones with conflicts).
> If a KDE user was to set gtk to use breeze-monochorome for example then
> pretty much all of there icons would look in place.

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, although I feel a little out of my depth. I suppose there are probably some people I could talk to in the KDE community that are already familiar with modifying Qt.

> The default enlightenment / efl icon set is taking a similar stylistic
> approach but rather then using monochrome for most things like actions
> it uses a single shade of blue.

That's quite interesting. Do you have any links I could follow to have a closer look? Is this in the current released version?
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