[Appeal] Appeal & Tango: Care to Dance?

Kenneth Wimer kwwii at bootsplash.org
Sun Oct 16 22:30:13 CEST 2005

Hi Steven,

On Oct 16, 2005, at 18:56 , Steven Garrity wrote:

> Greetings all,
> My name is Steven Garrity - I've been helping out a bit with the Tango
> Project [1]. The goals of the Tango project seem to line up pretty
> closely with the goals of the Appeal project.
> Is there any interest here in talking to see what our projects  
> could share?

I think that there definitely are several areas in which we could  

> I have seen some comments that the icon theme work happening on the
> Tango project is too close to the Gnome visual style. If that's the
> case, come and let us know! It's not too late to help steer the visual
> style of the icon set.

I think that the most important thing to keep in mind when discussing  
issues like this is the difference between community and vendor.

For a community project the look and feel of their effort represents  
their visual identity and as such is very important. I think that  
generalizing this between projects, instead of having a positive  
affect for either project will only have a negative one for both,  
either in the short or long term.

Vendors on the other hand are free to "do as they desire" as long as  
the communities are not negatively affected, resulting in a lose of  
market share.

This is not say that I do not realize the vendors desire for "one  
desktop" without having to chose between the two major linux desktops  
but rather that I would prefer a different approach to the subject  
which includes and encourages the communities to work toward a common  
goal while not diluting the vision of the individual projects. Best  
of all my way does not require any "choosing" as this level.

Most important to a vendor is that the desktop they sell be complete  
and in no way visually disparate. While simply hardcoding or themeing  
both desktops to look the same is one answer I do not think that this  
is the right approach because the functionality will still be  
different and there is no easy way around this, in fact it is one of  
the core reasons that different communities still exist.

The real subject at hand is that a vendor wants all X-desktop apps  
running under Y-desktop to look like and function as much as possible  
like Y-desktop programs. This in my eyes can be accomplished by  
technical work in both projects as well as on fd.o but is not an  
issue of artwork itself.

> There is also more to Tango (as with Appeal) than an icon theme. We'd
> like to work on generally making the free/open-source desktop more
> beautiful and enjoyable to use.

While both projects do have much more to them than an icon theme I  
think that the separation is clearer with Appeal and Oxygen. In fact,  
the Oxygen theme is not really a work of Appeal in and of itself but  
rather one of the first manifestations of the work sponsored/ 
encouraged/introduced by the Appeal project, much the same as the  
Plasma project.

The Appeal project is a direct approach to innovation in all areas  
(including future desktop development) as applied to the KDE desktop.  
I think that the main difference lies in the fact that Tango aims to  
be cross-desktop by intention whereas Appeal is as a result of its  
place in any cross-desktop strategy.

> Something that might be a quick/easy win for all of us is the Icon
> Naming Specification [2] at Freedesktop.org. This could make it easier
> for both of our communities to share artwork (both ways). We could use
> your help in filling out the spec as well.

Full ack (I hear that from Eva again and again and always wanted to  
use it once).

This would be one of the quickest and best thing for us to work on. I  
think that pretty much everyone agrees that a common naming scheme  
based on the work at fd.o is a good idea, although due to binary  
compatibility problems this will not be possible before the KDE4 time  

I do however, think that there is an extra step which needs to be  
taken in order to create a truly enterprise-ready icon theme -  
defining metaphors. This step would allow "theme-free" documentation,  
support and usability.

Here is my opinion on what both our projects should see as common goals:

1) Finalize and implement the naming spec.

2) Implement an icon switching mechanism in both desktops, so that  
the specific desktop uses its icons also in "other-desktop" apps.

3) Define common metaphors and other general rules for use in icons  
per the naming spec given above.

4) Encourage communities to use this platform to their advantage  
through vendor contribution and cooperation (ie. implement this on a  
broad scale).

I could go on to add another dreamy step....

5) Plan for the future...create a cross-desktop interface switching  
mechanism for both desktops so that a Gnome file dialog opened in KDE  
functions like other KDE apps and vice versa.

I am afraid that this issue (on both sides) would be too much for  
this to happen any time in the near future. Indeed one could argue  
that the major difference between the two communities is the  
technical, funtional  and visual issues. While the technical sides  
should naturally "play good together" I think that without a certain  
amount of difference here there no longer needs to be two  
communities. This is left to the functional and visual parts and that  
is something that takes years to change. The visual aspect is a  
matter of identification and coherence and while in some aspects it  
is good to support other projects in others it is more important to  
influence the community itself. In fact, without the second part the  
first will never work long-term.

> I hope you don't see this as off-topic on this list - thanks for  
> your time.

Thanks for taking the chance to open a discussion :-)



-->no matter where you go, there you are!

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