Bug 71930 - new KDE-like icons for gnome2 desktop
new KDE-like icons for gnome2 desktop
Product: Red Hat Public Beta
Classification: Retired
Component: redhat-artwork (Show other bugs)
i386 Linux
medium Severity medium
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Assigned To: Havoc Pennington
Depends On:
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Reported: 2002-08-20 07:31 EDT by jeroen
Modified: 2014-01-21 17:48 EST (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
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Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2002-08-20 10:31:37 EDT
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Regression: ---
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oVirt Team: ---
RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
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Description jeroen 2002-08-20 07:31:54 EDT
wtf happened to the icons on the gnome2 desktop? The ones which are the default
for null really look a _lot_ (imho) like KDE icons. This is bad mkay?

_Please_ switch back/revert to using the icons from previous betas which at
least look like gnome icons. See the icons from jimmac for example
(jimmac.musichall.cz/ikony.php3). Those icons have a distinct "gnome look" in
the way they are drawn (with perspective, lighting etc).

The mix in some menus of the new KDE-like icons and existing gnome icons is also
bad imo. One of the reasons i've always preferred gnome over KDE was the
uniformity and general look of the icons used throughout gnome. Please don't
deviate from this now.

On a more positive note, the new gdm greeter in null looks extremely good!
Comment 1 Kristian Rietveld 2002-08-20 08:19:23 EDT
Hello, just my 2 cents on the issue. From what I heard these redhat-drawn icons
(further referred to as KDE-like icons) are there to create more consistency
between the desktops on RedHat Linux. This sounds like a good idea, however the
consistency in the gnome2 desktop itself is now completely gone.

GNOME artwork has its own special style, this style is a very important part of
the GNOME desktop. This also means that GNOME style icons simply dot not easily
mix with other icons, such as the KDE and KDE-like icons.

For example, the "Lock screen" and "Log out" icons in the main menu do not mix.
The same for the icons in the Preferences menu. Also, having the default stock
icons in GTK/GNOME programs and KDE-like icons on the panel/desktop does not
look nice.

My opinion is that the gnome2 desktop should look like gnome2 in every
distribution and should not become a KDE look-a-like. The user has a choice for
two different desktops, these desktops should then be different and not

Thank you for reconsidering this decision.

[Adding myself to CC]
Comment 2 Dennis Smit 2002-08-20 08:40:23 EDT
I simply totally agree with both jeroen and kris. The new icons simply aren't
which breaks the consistency within the desktop. I don't think the people really
want such
thing and therefor i don't understand the desision either. However as proposal
for a fix i'll
just say "Use gnome icons they aren't there for nothing. They are there because
they look
neat profesioenal and consistent with the desktop".
Comment 3 Christian Schaller 2002-08-20 08:45:59 EDT
Have to agree with the other posters, these new icons give the desktop the feel
of a fisher-price toy. Not nice at all.
Comment 4 Ross Burton 2002-08-20 09:00:07 EDT
I'm not sure if I can say anything which hasn't already been said. Basically, my
choice of GNOME over KDE was initially due to the look and feel, I find the KDE
icons cartoony and I never did like the angle they use.

The current mix on icons in GNOME2 is not pleasant at all. Some icons are KDE,
some are GNOME. What is worse is that some icons are similar, but both are used.
For example, the wrench&screwdriver icon GNOME uses for Desktop Preferences is
nearly identical to the KDE icon, but they are subtly different, making the
desktop look inconsistant.
Comment 5 Steve Fox 2002-08-20 10:00:22 EDT
Another me too. The stock GNOME icons are far more classy than the current
icons, which have a cheapy AOL-look to them. I appreciate that you may be
targeting a wider audience, but I don't think they will benefit from cartoon-ish
icons either.
Comment 6 Scott Russell 2002-08-20 10:31:31 EDT
With the new icon changes and menu structures Red Hat has tried to:

  1) Unify KDE and Gnome2 desktops so that users can switch back and forth
     between them without any confusion.

  2) Provide a consistant look to the default desktop that makes switching 
     from other operating systems easier on the first time user.

Unfortuently I firmly think that neither of these two goals are acomplished by 
removing the stock gnome icons from the default desktop.

1) Unify the KDE and Gnome2 desktops

Sharing a common menu structure between the two desktops will make it easier 
for people who switch back and forth between the two environments. By 
definition though this excludes the new Linux user. Microsoft has shown 
that 'if it is good enough' people will simply use what is in front of them 
without the need or motivation to switch. A classic example is IE on the 
desktop vs downloading Netscape. The only audiance the common menu interface 
will benifit is existing KDE and Gnome users who switch back and forth between 
the two desktops for reasons of their own.

Extending this idea to a common set of icons between the two environments is a 
well meaning idea that has serious negative effects. For the long time gnome 
user, which is the default desktop install for Red Hat, they are confused by 
the lack of any familure icons. A long time gnome user might in fact think that 
KDE was installed by accident!

Not only does replacing the stock gnome icons with KDE themed icons create 
confusion to the long time gnome user, but it breaks visual consisantcy with 
the gnome desktop. For example, all Open Office docuements have the open 
office "bird wings" on them. This is a visual clue that associates Open Office 
docuements with the Open Office appliction. In the current (null) release 
several Open Office icons have been replaced by koffice like icons while 
several other Open Office icons remain. This mixing of icon styles breaks 
the "bird wings" associations with Open Office leaving the user confused and 
asking "If I click this, what will it open?". 

Following on with this example, it further creates confusion in the office 
environment when a user tries to figure out why their open office icons look 
different from their coworkers, or perhaps a client, open office icons. This 
leaves the end user wondering "Maybe I don't have Open Office installed?".

This Open Office is only one example of how the new icons lack consistancy and 
create confusion for both new linux users and long time gnome users alike.

2) Consistant look that makes switching OSes easier.

This is an excelent idea that is long over due and can be acomplished by 
studying the basic work flow in one OS and transfering those work flows to Red 
Hat. For example, having a unified location for setting all user preferences 
and system settings is a consistant work flow idea across multiple OS designs. 
Red Hat _should_ follow suit by unifying it's menu structure in both KDE and 
Gnome to match this work flow.

Another basic concept is the idea of generic top level categories followed by 
specifics. For example Start -> Application -> MS Word follows this work flow. 
The intial steps are _very_ generic and lead to a specific action. 

The above example also embodies another work flow concept that addresses 
accesablity of items. A goal of 3 clicks to start any application should be 
established. (this of course may not always be possible) Having the user drill 
to far down into any menu system and they forget how they got their in the 
first place. By keeping everything within 3 clicks, or 3 levels deep, the user 
is required to remember only a minimal amount of information needed to launch 
the application a second time.

All of these basic concepts can be achived with a unified menu structure. 
Please note however that this DOES NOT extend to a unified set of icons between 
gnome2 and KDE. See my earlier references for why a unified set KDE and gnome2 
icons harms both new users and long time gnome2 users alike.

Lastly, let me say that I fully support Red Hat's attempts to unify and simply 
the menu structure however completly disagree with the attempts to extend that 
concept to the icons of specific applications.
Comment 7 Havoc Pennington 2002-08-20 10:55:03 EDT
Whoa, which mailing list or IRC channel did this bug # get posted to? ;-)
If I find the list thread I'll respond there more completely. Please listen to
the rationale before getting too excited.

Some notes:

Guys if you don't like the icon style there is a gconf key 
/desktop/gnome/interface/icon_theme, unset this and you will revert 
many of the icons (not quite all, due to a couple bad hacks in the
implementation, namely some custom icon names redhat-foo.png - you could however
make a custom icon theme that overrode those names).

As to looking like KDE icons, note that the KDE people are all complaining that
the icons look like GNOME icons; so clearly someone is confused. ;-)
They are a third icon style unique to the Bluecurve theme.

Re: consistency, the eventual plan is to replace _all_ the icons. But with
latest redhat-artwork and redhat-menus the entire top level of the main menu
(lock screen etc.) is at least covered. This release has to ship with incomplete

In any case, this issue is a bit complex to cover in bugzilla. But in brief it
is just an icon theme, and consistency within all the apps shipped with Red Hat
(including Mozilla, OpenOffice, Qt apps) is a more important goal to us in the
long term than consistency across GNOME in this release and GNOME in 7.3.
To avoid any claims of "GNOME/KDE-bias" we are not using the KDE or the GNOME
theme for the consistent look, but instead dropping an original theme into 
all desktops and applications. This is the "Bluecurve" theme.

If you have a better idea how to make Mozilla, OpenOffice, Qt, GTK apps all
consistent, that doesn't involve "port everything to GTK" ;-) your ideas are
welcome. But this is a problem that needs solving as users use all these apps.

But let me suggest a mailing list as the best forum for the discussion.
Comment 8 Mike A. Harris 2002-08-20 12:42:27 EDT
Icons are for sissies.  Real men type commands in a terminal.
Comment 9 Seth Vidal 2002-08-20 13:00:50 EDT
all appeals to machismo or $deity will be filed in /dev/null, thanks.

Comment 10 Bernhard Rosenkraenzer 2002-08-20 13:02:26 EDT
Re "better idea how to make Mozilla, OpenOffice, Qt, GTK apps all 
consistent, that doesn't involve "port everything to GTK" ;-)": 
Comment 11 Scott Russell 2002-08-20 13:18:56 EDT
Since it's just an icon theme (with a few ugly hacks meantioned) can an icon
theme for the stock application icons be provided? 

For example, removing the gconf key has no affect on Mozilla or Open Office
icons but does affect the gnome-terminal icon. As discussed above changing the
default icons for exisitng Linux apps can have negative side effects for both
existing Linux desktop users (besides Mike who isn't a sissy icon user) and for
new users who are seeing the Linux desktop via Red Hat for the first time.

> If you have a better idea how to make Mozilla, OpenOffice, Qt, GTK apps 
> all consistent, that doesn't involve "port everything to GTK" ;-) your 
> ideas are welcome. But this is a problem that needs solving as users 
> use all these apps.

I'm not sure why I see the need to change a set of application icons in the
first place? For example, the Open Office icons all have an emblem which helps
tie them together and visually relate them to the Open Office product. What is
really gained by changing these icons? In the current release it results in a
lack of consistancy between Open Office apps and by removing the familure Open
Office emblim from the icons it leaves Open Office users confused as to what the
icon really represents. 

Given the confusion that can be caused by changing an application icon and thus
'debranding it', what is it that can be gained by changing the icon?

Which list should this be disussed on? I think that bugzilla is approprate to
help track feedback and proposed changes? Mozilla uses bugzilla this way after
all :)

Just a few more thoughts.
Comment 12 Kristian Rietveld 2002-08-20 13:33:44 EDT

/me kicks bero

let's end the toolkit war (:

Comment 13 Havoc Pennington 2002-08-20 14:23:19 EDT
GTK rulez!!!! 

Sorry. ;-)

lnxgeek, the reason changing the icon theme doesn't affect certain icons 
is that the default icon theme doesn't contain the icons used for the 
panel. (The icons there are ones we added, in the redhat-* namespace, 
so don't exist in the upstream theme.) You could override these icons by
creating a new icon theme that provided icons by that name. Edges are a bit
rough but the basic mechanism is there.

The reason icons needed changing is that the default panel with evolution,
mozilla, gnome foot, and openoffice had 4 different icon styles, plus a fifth
for the desktop icons, and the result was really extremely unattractive.
It's essentially an aesthetic issue. There's also the question of which icon
style we use for applications we write - having two icons for each app isn't 
very appealing.

There are legal concerns with munging other people's logos, is the main reason 
the new icons don't contain logos. It is fully legal to remove a logo, but 
not to modify one. e.g. you are not allowed to change the shade of red in 
the Red Hat shadowman logo, or make it 3D, or change the perspective.

Meta-topic: Discussion in bugzilla is fine, but we don't do it as actively as
mozilla does, as it's sort of hard to follow IMO. The right place for this is
limbo-list (though the thread there is getting a bit long...)
Comment 14 Scott Russell 2002-08-20 14:58:04 EDT
The thread on limbo seems to be widly outta control. I'm hoping for a sane
discussion of UI rather than a bunch of 'me too' and 'i hate it' stuff :)

I understand what you are saying about icon styles across products not meshing
well. That's a by product of seperate development teams. However changing the
icons still creates a new problem of product identification that impacts both
long time users and new users. I think at this point it's just trading one
problem for another problem. 

The new icons for Open Office, Mozilla and Evo do appear to be consistant in
style but then fall apart when it comes to identification of products and they
lack a centeral theme to show users which icons are and are not related. It
could be argued as well that they are _to_ similar. For example the Calc and
Present icons are very similar.

I think the upstream theme you refer to is the KDE Hi-Color theme. Correct? This
seems to fit in with the idea that the gnome icons now look KDEish. Why not use
the icons from the link above in this bug report? Taking a quick glance at them
they seem to solve most of the cross-application style problems you were
pointing out and they have the added benifit of not looking like KDE icons on a
gnome desktop. Using KDE icons as the basis for the new Bluecurve icon theme
also tends to irk (and confuse) the long time gnome users. I think there would
have been less resistance if new icons were designed rather than old ones from
KDE recycled into gnome.

Again, since this is 'just a theme' it would be good for Red Hat to provide a
theme that restores the existing KDE, Gnome, and Application icons. Red Hat can
ship Bluecurve but having a theme that remains consistant with past Red Hat
releases is also good. 

Doing so will ease the user experince when moving from 7.3 to the new release.
This was a huge issue for Apple to fight when it made the push from 9.x to 10.x.
It took Apple much $$$ in PR along with years of slow change to make it work.
Going from Red Hat 7.3 to this release is as visualy shocking as going from OS
9.x to OS 10.x.
Comment 15 Havoc Pennington 2002-08-20 15:08:11 EDT
In redhat-artwork 0.38 some of the specific issues you mention with the office
icons have been addressed. I would see that sort of thing (and the issue with
product identification) to be more a matter of how specific icons are done, than 
a problem with the idea of consistent theming.

The Bluecurve theme is not hicolor only, no, it was created by:
 - creating an empty icon theme
 - copying in all of hicolor
 - copying in all the gnome icons
 - slowly modifying the icons

The previous default theme is available, if you unset the icon_theme key in
gnome, or switch to the hicolor theme in KDE, you should get the previous theme,
with the exception of the redhat-*.png namespaced icons I mentioned earlier.
In any case the intent is to have the old default theme available, and to 
make the new theme a good one UI-wise and all-other-wise, but I see solving
those problems as an iterative and ongoing process, not a criticism of the 
basic approach being taken.
Comment 16 Scott Russell 2002-08-20 15:28:29 EDT
Yes, I read that earlier and unset the icon_theme value. Some icons were
restored, others were not. Specficly the Office, Mozilla, and Evo icons all
remain as they were under the Bluecurve theme. 

The reason I suggested a theme to restore the default app icons at all was
because unseting the icon_theme value doesn't do the trick.Is that a bug or is
that what you are refering to as the redhat-*png icons?

Am I understanding you correctly when you say "the intent is to have the old
default theme available" that by either removing the icon_theme value, or by
selecting a different value, that all gnome, kde and applicaiton icons will be
restored to their non-Red Hat settings?

I'll download the -38 release and give it a spin. I'm _very_ interested in
providing feedback for both the Bluecurve UI and the stock gnome UI themes.
Comment 17 Havoc Pennington 2002-08-20 15:48:43 EDT
Yes, the point about redhat-*.png used for the panel icons is that the default
icon theme has no icon under those names, so they don't get replaced.

If you unset the icon theme value and change the icon theme in KDE then things
should use the default icon theme, yes. If you look at the redhat-artwork
package (rpm -ql) then the icons in /usr/share/icons/Bluecurve are in our icon
and should change when you change icon theme, and those in /usr/share/pixmaps
are not (though an icon theme could still override the stuff in
/usr/share/pixmaps if it wanted). So the eventual ideal situation is to have
both the Bluecurve and gnome/kde icon themes in /usr/share/icons with coverage
in all three for all icon names.

In other words right now Bluecurve is the only icon theme with complete coverage
for all icon names we are using, but in principle any icon theme could have
complete coverage.
Comment 18 Scott Russell 2002-08-20 16:07:21 EDT
sorry, I wasn't planning to test KDE, just gnome2. I'm most interested in
providing you UI feedback on how gnome looks both with icon_theme = Bluecurve
and icon_theme = undef.

I installed the 0.38 redhat-artwork rpm. Regardless of icon_theme the
"Screensaver"  icon is missing. (it was before as well) With icon_theme set to
"" the Open Office, Evo, and Mozilla icons remain as they were from Bluecurve,
not the origional application icons. If I'm being dense sorry but I thought you
said previously that a way would be available to restore icons to their defaults
for both gnome and apps? Are we just not there yet?

With Bluecurve icon theme enabled the Calc and Impress icons are _much_
improved. However Diagrams, Draw, Math, Printer Setup, and Project Managment are
lacking in style. They just match the rest of Bluecurve.

With the Bluecurve icon theme enabled there are different icons for the same
application depending on which menu you enter. For example:

Internet -> Email (evo 1.0.8)
Extras -> Internet -> Ximian Evolution (evo 1.0.8 again)

Sound the same icon be used everywhere that the application is used?
Comment 19 Havoc Pennington 2002-08-20 16:30:12 EDT
Screensaver icon missing is an xscreensaver bug primarily (no icon field in
.desktop file).

What I said is that you can revert to the default icon theme, but the default
icon theme does not contain all the icons, so sometimes you will still get
bluecurve icons. Yes essentially it is not there yet, but only because of some
specific missing icons, not because of any architectural or code issue.

Extras->Internet->Evolution should really use the normal Evolution icon,
probably, yes. This would be a bug for the Evolution package.

In general a problem with any _specific_ icon or menu item should be filed
against the specific involved package.
Comment 20 Scott Russell 2002-08-20 16:35:13 EDT
Okay, now I understand what you are saying about the default icon them. Should
this bug be reopened with 'missing icons standard default icon theme' or is
there one already open for that?

Um, filing icon bugs under various apps seems like a sane thing at first until
you think about filling out the same text dozens of times. ick. uhg. administrivia.
Comment 21 Havoc Pennington 2002-08-20 16:45:53 EDT
Please don't reopen this bug for specific detailed issues, no. This bug has way
too much clutter. ;-)

A bug about "there are some issues" just isn't useful; bugzilla is a bug
tracker, to track tasks. So it's only worth filing bugs against specific desktop
files, or about specific icon names missing from specific icon themes, or about
specific changes to specific icons. If you file a general "here are some issues"
bug then it isn't useful for tracking things because different people need to
fix each package at different times.

So yes I know it's annoying, but if there isn't time to file specific issues
it's better to just not file, really.

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