If you want to understand why I’m so pissed off about such a “minor” thing (icons, pfft!) it’s because this year I will be showing my Linux desktop to 1000s of people at conferences and I want to challenge their preconceptions about FOSS; to know that FOSS can be beautiful.

@aral KDE Plasma is beautiful. 😬 (At least with the dark theme.) 😉


Microsoft and Apple doesn't overwrite any icon in their operating systems, and still the ecosystem feels *mostly* consistent. The consistency problems of those OSes and Linux's aren't the icons.

Pop_OS removing the custom icons seems like the right choice. Apps should have a decent icon independently (as every app should provide a decent UI/UX for the purpose). If the app doesn't have a decent icon, it's the app's problem. Fix it in the app, make a pull request with a better icon.

The solution of custom icons, also, doesn't scale well. It's better to have each icon with its own style, that all the icons with the same style... In a distro that doesn't fit in that style. Is having to re-design every app for every distro the right decision? I don't think so.

@sirikon Try and get an app that isn’t consistent with Apple’s HIG onto the iOS or macOS App Stores. Also, on those platforms, since consistency is the norm, people would reject an inconsistent app even if Apple allowed it (or if it was distributed outside the store). It’s a matter of pride on those platforms for your icon to be consistent. On Linux, the norm – currently – is inconsistency.

@aral I agree on that. The norm should change to consistency, but the distro providing icons for the third party applications doesn't seem the way to go for me

@aral @sirikon tbh, i have a feeling that they all are moving towards inconsistency, with microsoft being the worst. say thanks to electron, etc.

@leip4Ier @aral

Microsoft is being highly inconsistent with their own applications. Just see the icons of VSCode, Visual Studio and the Office Suite. And all that compared with how SharePoint or Bing looks like.

How is electron affecting here?

@sirikon @aral electron is just one of the offenders. electron apps are based on a built-in browser, so it's impossible for them to use system UI widgets, and they don't even usually try to mimic them.

@leip4Ier @aral Ok, thought that it was something about the icons, but yea, agree.

@aral I understand your frustration, and of course consistency in design is very important. But the right thing to do for Pop!_OS would not be to retheme all the icons (like it used to), it's to retheme none — the icons *are* consistent in the upstream GNOME (they were intentionally designed to be consistent between each other & with third-party app icons). *That's* what you should be calling for.

The default GNOME icon theme is... not very good, honestly. At least the current one. It looks 2003. It was a good year, no doubt, but it won't get you any wow points today.

So, this is PopOS's added value: it's GNOME but better. Much like Ubuntu tried to be back in the day. My boss, a long time mac user took a look at PopOS PC I installed for the intern and said "wow, this looks and feels really really nice. Is it really Linux?". I couldn't believe my own ears. Even Elementary hadn't moved him. The intern is in process of switching to Linux right now.

I understand the appeal of "getting rid of distributions" and making desktop Linux a cathedral project. It's harder to achieve consistency in highly competitive bazaar environment, totally get it. But "harder" doesn't mean "impossible". PopOS duplicates a lot of work redrawing all apps' icons in its own unique style, but honestly? Their style being well defined, it's doing okay.


@drequivalent @aral you're talking about the previous, pre-3.32 icon theme, aren't you? That one looked quite dated indeed, but the new one is flat, bright, & lovely.


But then again, Apple has complete despotic rule over anything iOS, and nobody has that for Linux, which in fact is one of the good things about Linux.

@aral This is actually a thing.

It is visual consistency that helped me make the jump from macOS to Linux many years ago.

I’m not a techie plus a very visual user, and if it weren’t for @elementary OS' much-derided styleguide, I would probably still sit in my gilded iCage wondering what might be on the other side.

I had tried other distros, but being unable to see the beauty of code or licenses, you’re left with the GUI and UX – and coming from macOS, most felt like an assault on the senses.

>FOSS can be beautiful
Do say more! D'you have this Linux desktop in an OS-neutral website presentation @aral ? User-facing website, not dev-facing git repo? 🙄
@dirk @strypey @elementary

@mike_hales you could download and install elementaryOS as a dual-boot (or in a virtual machine like VirtualBox) if you want to see what it's like.

@strypey OK. But time pressure - or maybe it's temperament - makes me want to see a design rationale, an architecture and a presentation, B4 I begin to think about installing and trialling machinery.

@mike_hales have you checked out the elementaryOS website? From memory, it's as user-friendly as the OS and has plenty of screenshots.

@dirk @aral what do you think of #PureOS in this regard? The last version of #MacOS my wife's veteran #MacBook can run goes end-of-life later this year. I'm trying to convince her to try installing a GNU/Linux on it, instead of giving Apple more money for a new one. The more similar the look-and-feel is to MacOS, the easier her transition will be. So as much as I'd love to put #Trisquel on it, I think I'm more likely to succeed with #elementaryOS. But PureOS could be the best of both worlds.

@strypey I haven't used PureOS yet, but it looks like both distros are valid choices.

Being used to #elementaryOS, PureOS looks a little less polished, but I heard that you can import your iTunes library without much hassle.

Elementary otoh tries to deliver a terminal-free experience. So you get notifications when there are updates and you can install them via the AppCenter GUI.

Also, if you install elementary tweaks there's an option to make windows look more OSX-like.


@strypey In any case I would recommend to already switching to apps like Thunderbird, Firefox or the LibreOffice suite before she makes the jump, so that there are small islets of familiarity from the get-go. That helps!


> "small islets of familiarity

... is a nice way to put it :) I've been gradually introducing my wife to a range of #FreeCode apps over the years. She's already on Firefox and she only uses webmail, so Thunderbird isn't needed (yet). She has used LibreOffice although she complains about the UI. Not being able to install MS Office easily is one reason she hesitates to make the leap. She likes #Transmission ;) I've also replaced other proprietary apps like #Adobe Reader spyware > #Skim.

@aral Since the Pop icons are a fork of Papirus, I would recommend installing Papirus and using these. Papirus is in the Ubuntu repos so an easy "sudo apt install papirus-icon-theme" is all you need.

Your fix has the disadvantage that the Cosmic Pop icons won't receive updates anymore, while Papirus has regular updates.

@aral If you don't like the colour of the Papirus folder icons you can change them with Papirus Folders. 🙂

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