[kde-linux] Why are taskbar icons sometimes a big X?

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at acm.org
Tue Jul 18 05:00:45 UTC 2006

Larry Alkoff wrote:
> James Richard Tyrer wrote:
>> Larry Alkoff wrote:
>>> Chris Peterman wrote:
>>>> On Saturday 15 July 2006 01:04, Larry Alkoff wrote:
>>>>> I have some programs that have perfectly good icons on the desktop
>>>>> but when I open them, the icon in the task bar box is a large X that
>>>>> looks hand drawn.
>>>>> A good case in point is Thunderbird which has a lovely icon of an
>>>>> envelope in version that appears in the desktop boxes as a big
>>>>> hand drawn X.
>>>>> By taskbar I mean the boxes for each desktop that typically show the
>>>>> program icon.  Please correct my nomenclature so I can call it correctly.
>>>>> How can I get the normal desktop icon to display there like other apps?
>>>>> Larry
>>>> Only thing I can think of is that the icons you want to use don't have 
>>>> versions in the size that is needed. 
>>>> As an example, take a look in your ~/.icons (thats where they are put for like 
>>>> GNOME and XFCE, and KDE also looks there for them) and look in one of the 
>>>> theme folders, you will see a bunch of folders named 12x12, 64x64, etc, which 
>>>> are all the sizes that the icons may be needed in. Now if you can get your 
>>>> hands on a SVG version of the icon, KDE should take care of the resize by 
>>>> itself (SHOULD, I don't know how well SVG Icon Support is in KDE or anything 
>>>> else for that matter). Otherwise just make a copy of the icon in those pixel 
>>>> sizes (any image program should be able to handle it).
>>>> I hope that made sense :D
>>> Thanks for your reply Chris.
>>> I have more information now.
>>> There is no ~/.icon folder but I think I'll make one and hard link any 
>>> useful icons found so they won't get lost.
>>> The locate program tells me that there are Thunderbird icons (and 
>>> others) scattered in quite a few directories in my Ubuntu system - it's 
>>> very confusing.
>>> There are 12 icons of various sizes in /usr/share/pixmaps.
>>> They come only in 32x32 and 48x48 in either .png and .xpm plus a much 
>>> larger size in .svg (no size available probably because they are scalable).
>>> How can I tell _exactly_ which icon is on the desktop?  Is there a program?
>>> There is a text file about the desktop icon in ~/Desktop but it only 
>>> lists the name, not size or path.  From the name 
>>> "mozilla-thunderbird-menu" I infer it must be either a 32x32 .xpm or .png.
>>> I've created another line in ~/Desktop to create another desktop icon 
>>> named 'Thunderbird Mail orig.desktop' and am going to experiment on the 
>>> original icon,
>>> first with a .svg but also .xpm and .png to see how they behave.
>>> Again, I really need a program that tells me the path and size of an 
>>> existing icon.
>> With Thunderbird and Firefox, this isn't the problem.  This is a
>> developer level question that I don't have the exact answer for.
>> However, I can tell you how to fix it.  Open the 'desktop' file for 
>> Thunderbird and first make sure that it contains:
>> 	Icon=thunderbird
>> If so, are you getting the correct icon in the menu?  If so, you can fix 
>> the problem by changing this line:
>> 	Exec=thunderbird %i
>> Adding the "%i" will force KDE to use the menu icon for the TaskBar and 
>> in the KWin window decorations.
> Thanks for the advice James but it didn't use the same icon on the 
> taskbar Desktop window.

It should use an icon with the same *name* but that doesn't always mean 
that it will be the same icon since there is a bug in the KIconLoader.

> I added " %i" to the end of the command line of the Thunderbird _icon_ 
> which had the effect of changing the Exec line in the ~/Desktop file as 
> you have specified above.  However, the icon now appears as something 
> that looks like two blank desktops one on top of the other at a 45 
> degree angle.  Is this what you called the "menu icon"?  It's no longer 
> a big X but I'd really like it to be the same as the Desktop icon.

The Menu Icon is the one that:


specifies in the 'desktop' file.

If you have more than one 'desktop' file for Thunderbird, you are going 
to need to change all of them.  If you have shortcut icons on a ToolBar 
or the DeskTop, you can change them with the right click: "Properties" 
dialog box -- under the: "Application" tab you will find: "Command".

You need to add the %i to the end of the command line.  This is 
specified with:


in the 'desktop' file (e.g. thunderbird.desktop)

> Where do you find documentation on this stuff?

The documentation is here:


It is not really user level documentation.


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