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Re: More on icons for packages

Thanks for forwarding this Free.

Last Wednesday 26 January 2005 07:56, Free Ekanayaka was like:
> |--==> Paul Brossier writes:
>   PB> On Sun, 2005-01-23 at 19:35 -0500, Dale C. Scheetz wrote:
>   >>With regards to GNOME panel icons. The "add to panel" option now no
>   >>longer offers "launcher from menu" so now with the "custom launcer"
>   >>you have to hunt for your icon.
>   PB> well yes, here it does at least. also you can drag and drop it from
> your PB> menu.

>   PB> On Tue, 2005-01-25 at 18:17 -0500, Dale C. Scheetz wrote:
>   >>It might be better to reserve /usr/share/pixmaps specifically for menu
>   >>icons in xpm format and create /usr/share/icons for png gif and jpeg
>   >>icon images.
>   PB> i don't think this is the right way to go. gnome and kde use the
>   PB> freedesktop standard and look for their icons in /usr/share/pixmaps.
>   PB> other applications using icons should seriously consider looking in
>   PB> there if they want to find any. clever ones could prune redundant
>   PB> icons according to their file format preference.

Personally I don't like /usr/share/icons - it's just another place to go 
looking for things. /usr/share/pixmaps contains xpms and pngs, other formats 
are surely unnecessary.

>   PB> you don't really want to use jpeg in a menu do you?

I'd go further than that and say one shouldn't.

>   >>Is it worth while trying to get some general icon policy established
>   >>or am I straigning at gnats?

I think it's an essential step.

I've been keeping an eye on the situation with regards to icons in menu 
entries for A/DeMuDi, unfortunately I've been distracted with setting up a 
system for my local arts centre and organising a little conference. *cough*

My intention is to contact all the maintainers of apps included in DeMuDi that 
don't appear to have icons and encourage them to include them - Most of this 
needs to happen upstream, otherwise the distro will become full of temporary 
hacks. Part of the hiatus has been caused by my realisation that Debian icon 
policy is rather unclear. I will resume efforts as soon as time allows.

Anyhow, I've posted my notes below. Suggestions welcome.

>   PB> another manual does not seem required. but mentionning the use
>   PB> of .desktop would be a worth addition to the menu manual.
>   PB> see http://standards.freedesktop.org/desktop-entry-spec/latest/
>   PB> here is a minimal .desktop example:
>   PB> $ cat /usr/share/applications/freewheeling.desktop
>   PB> [Desktop Entry]
>   PB> Name=FreeWheeling
>   PB> Comment=live looping instrument
>   PB> Exec=fweelin
>   PB> Terminal=0
>   PB> Icon=freewheeling.xpm
>   PB> Type=Application
>   PB> Categories=Application;AudioVideo;
>   PB> .desktop go in /usr/share/applications and icons in
> /usr/share/pixmaps PB> (or full path). both png and xpm are ok.
>   PB> there could actually be some lintian/linda rules that checks if both
>   PB> menu and .desktop entries are there and that the icons are installed
> at PB> the correct location.
> I do agree with all these observations. Let me add that issues related
> to the menu  systems are becoming even  more important now that Custom
> Debian Distributions are entering the scene.
> Cheers,
> Free


tim hall

My hunt for a solution to this particular issue has led me thus far:

This is an open posting that I'm intending to send to all maintainers of 
packages that don't appear to have icons. Please could you let me know if I 
have my facts right. ;-] Possibly this needs to go on one of the Debian 
wikis. [?]


Many people have never been happy with the icons provided by debian.
There are not enough of them, they are inconsistent in style, and the
low resolution and limited colors make them look like escapees from
1989. Lots of users don't bother with them.

Debian needs a consistent policy on where icons go - the icon policy is still 
"something to be addressed" in future Policy weeklys; however, the
few policy weeklys published since then don't seem to address it at

These guidelines are my attempt to address it from the perspective of 
AGNULA/DeMuDi - a CDD. They are based on Debian Policy with a view to 
incorporating freedesktop.org standards. I am only focussing on achieving 
coherence amongst multimedia applications here.


Please, make sure the icons you specify are always available on the system. 
So, if you want to have an icon with your menu entry, the preferred method is 
to supply the icon with that package. Also, to prevent the distribution of 
icons files to turn too much into a mess, please put all icon files in the 
directory /usr/share/pixmaps - It's all static shareable 
architecture-independent data.

The use of /usr/X11R6/include/X11/pixmaps/ for .XPMs seems to be deprecated, 
but some packages still use it. KDE keeps its icons (mostly .PNGs) in a 
sorted-by-theme tree based at /usr/share/icons. Most other WMs read .XPMs out 
of /usr/share/pixmaps this latter is the standard.

A package should provide a menu file /usr/lib/menu/<package-name> that 
contains information about each program it likes to make available in the 

 ?package(ecasound2.2):needs=text section=Apps/Sound\
   title="ecasound2.2" command="/usr/bin/ecasound -c" \
 icon="/usr/share/pixmaps/ecasound.xpm" \
 icon16x16="/usr/share/pixmaps/eca_16.xpm" \
You may also want to include a .desktop file using the freedesktop.org defined 
Desktop Entry Standard. I don't know enough about this yet.

1.   The icons should be in XPM format. Icons may also be provided in .PNG 
format for future compatibility with freedesktop.org standards.

2.   The icons (.XPMs) may not be larger than 32x32 pixels, although smaller 
sizes are ok. 48x48 or even larger may be acceptable for .PNGs. This 
restriction applies only to icons referenced 
from /usr/lib/menu/<package-name> for application menus. KDE and GNOME seem 
to use 16x16 icons which requires an icon16x16 entry in the 
package's /usr/lib/menu file. You can provide both 16x16 and 32x32 pixels 
icons using the variables icon16x16 and icon32x32 so that the user can 
configure menu to use one or the other.

3.   The background area of the icon should be transparent, if possible.



Apparently it's also possible to specify an icon for a sub-menu. However, if 
each package would supply its own icons for the sub menus we can never be 
sure that the icon files are available. Thus, only the menu package is 
allowed to specify icons for sub menus. The syntax for this is:

       X11 Apps menu/apps /usr/share/pixmaps/icon.xpm "Editors"

The other problem specific to A/DeMuDi is that having an independent top-level 
'Sound' or 'Audio' menu section breaks Debian Menu Policy. 

I have designed a set of generic sound-application group icons, which could be 
used more widely. Free has converted them to .XPMs and they may be freely 
used (of course) by maintainers who do not wish to design their own, for 
whatever reason.

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