move crystal icons to hicolour

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at
Fri May 20 21:20:40 BST 2005

Jonathan Riddell wrote:
> Currently most KDE applications have an icon in Crystal but not in
> hicolour.  hicolour is the default fallback icon theme defined by the
> icon standard (the name being the old icon theme used by KDE which is
> now called kdeclassic).  Since KDE applications have no hicolour icons
> in most cases it means they lack an icon when used outwith KDE, mainly
> in Gnome's applications menu.
> I'd like to move the application icons from Crystal to Hicolour to fix
> this.

As the supposed maintainer of the HiColor theme -- Kenneth Wimer 
<wimer at> asked me to do this and I volunteered -- I have to say 
that I strongly disagree with this.  Crystal style icons should never be 
installed as HiColor if there is any other alternative.  In this 
specific case, there is an alternative, we can use the old KDEClassic 
icons and I have "uncrystalized" icons for two others:

(Note that I am not 100% happy with the "uncrystalized" KPlato icon -- 
it needs more work, but there was a deadline.

In general, the FreeDesktop spec is clear:

It is recommended that the icons installed in the hicolor theme look 
neutral, since it is a fallback theme that will be used in combination 
with some very different looking themes. But if you don't have any 
neutral icon, please install whatever icon you have in the hicolor theme 
so that all applications get at least some icon in all themes.

Crystal themed icons do *not* look neutral and, therefore, should never 
be installed as hicolor.

My thoughts are that for various reasons that the HiColor theme should 
be completely supported.  That if possible we should have HiColor icons 
for all icons and that these should be unthemed (neutral as per the 
spec).  Then, if we want to also install a "real cool" theme such as 
CrystalSVG in addition to HiColor that this is OK.  This also appears to 
be KDE policy:

This page has not been updated, but it hasn't been removed either, so I 
consider it to be policy and I suggest that it should be followed.

To be clear, according to this policy there MUST be a HiColor icon, then 
we can also install optional icons of other themes.  This is the policy 
that I intend to follow.

Then there is the question of which icons should be installed as 
HiColor.  Obviously, KDE 2 style icons which are now called KDEClassic 
icons qualify as HiColor and can be used.  It is also acceptable to use 
"uncrystalized" (tonal range and color saturation adjusted) Crystal 
style icons.  But, in no case should Crystal style icons be installed as 

Other posters have asked why the HiColor icons have been removed from 
apps.  This is a very good question.  IMHO, this should not have been 
done and in all cases they should be restored ASAP.  The names may need 
to be fixed in some cases to conform with newer practices.

We need to continue to support the HiColor theme.  However, I believe 
that, considering the new FreeDesktop spec, the KDEClassic them should 
be deprecated and all future unthemed icons should be installed as 
HiColor to conform tot he FD spec.

One of the various reasons that I feel we need to fully support the 
HiColor icon theme is that many commercial users are probably not 
interested in "way cool" stuff -- they will probably prefer the unthemed 

I also note that it is a fact provable by information theory that 
Crystal style icons do not contain as much information.  So, it should 
not come as a surprise that they are not as easy to see at smaller sizes 
and on small screens.  I think that in my case this may be aggravated by 
the fact that my eyesight is less than perfect.


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