Re: icon naming spec and gnome-vfs

On Tue, 2006-08-01 at 10:31 -0400, Pat Suwalski wrote:
> David Zeuthen wrote:
> > On Mon, 2006-07-31 at 18:06 -0400, Rodney Dawes wrote:
> >> I will however, disagree that we need to provide such explicit
> >> icons as to state what method a hard disk is connect to the computer
> >> through, or what type of data is contained on an optical disc, in a
> >> base
> >> GNOME install. 
> Speaking of which: the latest GNOME has a castrated icon theme that does 
> not show me what type of image the icon represents, nor what type of 
> audio file I'm clicking on.
> These icons have succumbed to being treated as "such explicit icons" in 
> the "base GNOME install" during the last release cycle.
> The problem is, as a user, I can't get the old icons back, and certainly 
> not from an official source. So we have to treat the "base GNOME 
> install" as the "de facto GNOME install."
> David is right: the more information the icons can provide, the better. 
> I don't know where you get the funny idea that the less information the 
> icons provides, the better.

An image thumbnail will give you much more information than a text label
on a tiny icon and that is likely to be the default case on the GNOME

But I'd like to go back to the original suggestion to provide specific
device icons. 

The whole idea behind generic icons and 'stripping down' the core icon
theme is based around the concept of theming. Life would be so much
better if we could somehow all agree on a single set of icons to ship
for the desktop. Neither Windows nor OSX have to worry about that. But
this is unlikely to happen at this point as most Linux distributions
think of icons as a mean to brand their product. Theming seems to be the
solution to customize the look, yet poses a great problem. I'd like to
illustrate it on the following picture:

While the original message of the ad was different, this is very much
the impression a typical desktop looks like when a user installs a
default Ubuntu, Fedora or unfortunatley, SUSE. There's only a few things
that make me feel "whoa, that's unpolished" more strongly than when I
see an icon theme that has bits of completely differently styled icons
in it. When Windows XP shipped, the control center had a mixture of
windows95 jaggy isometric icons along with the new smooth vectorish XP
style. It looked much worse than if Microsoft stuck to the old style. 

I perfectly see the advantage of having a set of unique device icons for
different flash cards. It's undoubtedly easier to use if my desktop is
populated by distinguishable device icons. But in my view it's much
worse to have, say Bluecurve styled generic drive icon and 9 other
specific media icons that are of totally different graphical style than
to have 10 generic media drive icons.

I always intended to draw the specific media icons, but I really hope to
see infrastructure for getting the generic fallback in place first so
that theming is actually a solution and not an excuse. In the past I've
been adding specific icons to gnome icon theme, while not being able to
make them properly in all the required sizes, only to see distributions
fail to theme the set properly. The concept of themes makes us look
unpolished without a decent concept of generic fallback. So let's go
from generic to specific -- properly providing all sizes, ending up in a
consistently looking desktop sooner. 


Jakub Steiner <jimmac novell com>
Novell, Inc.

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