/!\ Attention: This have been resolved, Clearlooks is now the default theme! .

Breaking News (July 15 2005)

After a long period of inactivity on this issue, ShaunMcCance - documentation overlord - has declared that a blue version of Clearlooks will be the new theme.

How To Contribute Right Now (as of Feb 16, 2005)

  • Add any missing themes that should be under consideration as the default. Please do not delete items from the list, though feel free to add negative comments to the appropriate section for that theme below. We will cull later.
  • If the theme(s) you think should be considered are already on the list, then you're in luck because (until we move to the next phase) your job is already done. We do not need another long theme thread full of random opinion messages that most gnome hackers are deleting w/o reading as we speak. Please do not squawk like a chicken just to make noise ;-)

  • Write the semi-automated testing programs mentioned in the sanity checklist section.

  • Check the theme engines that are proposed here for sanity based on the sanity checklist section.

Themes that Should Be Considered

Add here, just a simple list please:

Theme Components:

  • CleanIce (Metacity theme)

  • Snowdream (GTK theme)

  • Suede (icon theme -- at least for the folder icon)

  • Nuvola (Nuvola icon theme - At least for stock items. It's SVG and brighter and friendlier than the default icons. Screenshot on site is outdated)

SethNickell: Lets limit things to Themes for now (no need to know what the underlying engine is).

Comments on Themes Under Consideration

Add comments here:

  • Industrial

LucaFerretti: Industrial buttons break all HIG-compliant dialogs. You can see this, for example, in the File Management capples. This should be related to the cute shadow added to buttons: to show it you have to add an external border to buttons. Unfortunately it seems that this feature can't disabled :-(

  • SmoothGNOME (Glider)
  • Clearlooks

DianaFong: Of the proposed themes, Clearlooks' visual attractiveness and functionality makes it a good choice as the new default theme.

RaphaelBosshard: Clearlooks seems to be a sane default. It's rather clean but not too boring and looks a bit like an updated Bluecurve. I also like the work the author has done with the new 0.3 version (spinbutton and combobox looking like one widget, the slider). It has also a very important usability feature: ring focus on text inputs and the like.

StevenGarrity: +1 for Clearlooks. It builds on Bluecurve, has a nice nod to Industrial in the metacity theme, and is improving quickly.

JamesHenstridge: the CVS version of the clearlooks engine animates the drawing of progress bars. This is particularly annoying for applications like Rhythmbox that display a 100% progressbar when idle -- they are now constantly animated. If this becomes the default theme, we should turn this off, or make it a bit smarter.

DanielBorgmann: This was already changed to only animate while the progressbar isn't filled.

RodneyDawes: Cleanice is a very well tested theme and is quite stable. It is designed to be simple, fast, tiny, and usable (yes, that includes accessible). I try to keep it up-to-date with the latest GTK+ widgets, as well as keeping the newer widgets looking like the deprecated widgets (GtkComboBox for example) I think it would make a great default engine.

RodneyDawes: I've added links above for the CleanIce Metacity theme, and the Snowdream GTK+ theme above. CleanIce is just the engine. For the icon theme, I think we should stick with gnome-icon-theme for now.

  • gonxical

MystiLleef: gonxical achieves a rare balance of uniqueness, aesthetics, usability and functionality all in one deadly combo. Fortunately, the theme uses the pixmap engine which all gnome desktop have installed by default. Unfortunately, the pixmap engine still needs some performance optimizations.

  • SimpleGNOME

LucaFerretti: a modern appearance with traditional GNOME/GTK+ green; please note the neat and clean squares and rounds for combo and radio menu entries.

Theme Considerations

These matter to different degrees, and a theme that is really great in a few areas might be ok even if its weak in another:

  • Performance
  • Functional even with Red-Green color blindness
  • Functional with large and small font sizes (9 - 15)
  • Attractive
  • Different (from WinXP, OS/X, KDE, etc)
  • Wears well (relatively light colors, not gaudy, etc)
  • Scalability (should work on screenshot/thumbnails, too - smaller images loose detail, and a direct comparison of thumbnails started the discussion.)
  • Documentation (becomes the default for screenshots in the docs)
    • Ideally, it should transfer well to online help, to images on the web, and to the printed page.

The Process

By March 1, 2005, fill in a process here with dates. For now... discuss the process.

<!> LuisMenina: So. we're March, 2nd... Who will choose the default theme, and when ?

ThomasWood: I really think there ought to be a proper discussion on the gnome-themes-list mailing list. I think the whole of the gnome-themes collection needs discussing, as well as deciding on a new default theme. gnome-themes-list would be the appropriate place to do this.

New Technologies

Cairo has now been integrated into GTK+, and the new features Cairo exposes will turn current themes on their head, giving us eye-candy similar to OSX. However GTK+ theme file formats and engines need to be redesigned with this in mind. Is this cart before the horse?

AlanHorkan: If we are taking a bold step forward and looking to the future shouldn't we be looking at fully scalable SVG themes?

CallumMcKenzie: We need a new theme now. When we get whizzy new drawing engines widely tested and debugged and all the theme designers have learnt how to use them, then we can use them.

VincentNoel: An easy way to help gtk+ look better would be to apply the patch in gnomebug:162023, which hides the focus line until the user navigates widgets with the keyboard.


During the 2.8 release cycle (June 2004) there was a lot of discussion about changing to Industrial or Glider. The initial suggestion by JeffWaugh had been to use a tweaked version of Ximians Industrial theme called Indubstrial(sic). Response to the proposal was good, with several suggestion for improvement which JeffWaugh implemented.

Consensus seemed to have been nearly reached when LinkDupont proposed his theme SmoothGNOME (later renamed to Glider) as an alternative. A similar cycle of criticism and response lead to improvements to Glider and the result was two good themes - and no decision.

In July 2004 there was a call for a decision. Opinion was split evenly and no decision was made. It is interesting to observe that the thread almost immediately split in two, one half deciding the Glider was clearly the right choice and the other half deciding exactly the same thing about Industrial. The reasons used by both sides in the argument were almost identical.

In August 2004 another thread was started with the urgent goal of making a final decision so the documentation team could make appropriate screen-shots. Once again no choice between Industrial and Glider could be made and it was decided to keep the current default theme.

In February 2005 JeffWaugh started the discussion again by pointing out our "first-glance" inferiority to KDE in screenshots. Neither Glider or Industrial has been mentioned to date although many new suggestions have been made.

Attic/NewDefaultTheme (last edited 2013-11-20 08:29:47 by WilliamJonMcCann)