A message from snwh (Suru icon upstream maintainer)


Addressing icons.


Now that I’ve gotten the objective post out of the way - instead of opening a dialogue with us, he has decided to publically smear and mock both the project and the individuals working on it, as well as creating a highly toxic atmosphere for further development.

He is also a member of the GNOME Foundation as well as a prominent figure within the GNOME Design efforts and irc room, meaning that open door invitation to collaborate on making the status of Adwaita better and further contribute on the visual design of the ecosystem is soured and closed. And, with that, our relations with the GNOME Project start to further break apart.

This is so antithetical to the idea and philosophy of open source development it’s absurd. The fact he would have the gall to actively mock the words of specific people within this community astounds me. Brilliant :roll_eyes:

EDIT: Most of what was upsetting about this article personally appears to have been addressed. The original post used more heated and pointed language that put focus on the community rather than the decisions. I’ll leave this post up for posterity. Please do read the article for your opinion. Thank you!


Hm, all I care for are (Ubuntu) users when trying to push an alternative to the stock gnome experience.
Creating an Ubuntu theme for gnome was initiated by a similar idea (to give an alternative).
I really don’t understand all his negative feelings but hey everyone is free to express their opinions.
Currently the Yaru theme for the shell, gtk, sound and icon themes are our idea of an aesthetic alternative to the stock gnome experience.
I think we succeeded to give a professional alternative. Now we should stand tall and don’t break that idea only because some people think it’s a bad idea.

I don’t think that discussing this here will bring us any further. As long as we can maintain a professional alternative to the stock gnome experience we will go on with this. Thanks for your positive attitude towards Yaru though :slight_smile: I think you are part of the majority that love our theming project. There are always people against it. Strangely I rarely see the negative feedback for other gnome based distributions (pop os… Linux mint… Etc)

Edit: though I thought every press is good press I think that I was wrong and that that omgubuntu post with the wrong news about a script that currently only exists on one computer caused more trouble than positive responses :smile:

Edit 2: thanks for your positive attitude @taciturasa :heart:

Edit 3: just for clarification: there is no toxicity between gnome design community and this one here. The other members are very friendly and even accepted design ideas from us.


I actually agree with him FWIW. I see no smear, just an honest opinion.

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Thanks for the link.

He has addressed mainly 3 points,

  1. Unity was dropped and GNOME was adopted – don’t mimic Unity, be fully with Gnome, no half ways,
  2. Reach out to app developers, before changing their icons – it is their apps and their icons,
  3. Design-by-community is as bad as design-by-committee – yields poor results and bad decisions.
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I agree on point #2.

We should ask maintainers if they want to contribute or even in general if they agree/disagree with that


I agree with second point too. But I’m against third-party app icons in system.
App developers should create Ubuntu icons by themselves and distribute with apps.

Those app developers most probably don’t use Ubuntu as their daily driver. Should they also make specialised icons for Pocillo, Moka, Humanity, etc?

The app developer has the right to make icons that identifies with the app, not with the distro vender. The distro vender has no right to the icon, and to the app itself.

Emphasises the 3rd point.

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If they like.
Apparently, some developers already have the desire to design a suru version, at least according to Sam’s post.


If they don’t like, then what? Are you going to infringe the rights of the app developer?

That’s between Sam Hewiitt and app developers for his Suru icon set. Not for Yaru. And, he had disowned Yaru.

Why do you say so? O_o

Sam says so…

…now there’s some rumblings that Ubuntu’s community-built Yaru icon set (which is a derivative of the Suru icon set I maintain) intends to ignore this and infringe upon applications’ brands by modifying their icons:

What the Yaru team seems to lack is patience for developers to do it themselves and the willingless to let developers make up their own minds on whether or not to fit in with Ubuntu.

…a community-led team have decided to step in and make a platform-wide decision just because they think “it’s ugly” to have mixed-style icons.

…the entire point of the GNOME icon refresh initiative is to address visual mismatches between third-party app icons and GNOME icons and we been have reaching out to developers to see about updating their icons to new design—this is the appropriate approach for a platform visual overhaul, by the way—which could always use more help on.

and, it is his Suru icons…, best ask him.

Let’s pause this thread here for 24 hours, and let some folks cool off.

Many folks who are close to a project have a visceral reaction to this kind of post, and this kind of discussion. That’s human. When we pick up the conversation, let’s talk about solutions and compromises that are achievable: Not everyone will be thrilled, but everybody knows they were listened to, and nobody feels exploited.


I’d like to know @mpt’s thoughts on this article’s contributions and/or perhaps @didrocks if they’re feeling bold. I think Matthew has said before that maybe the forced-shape idea itself is flawed and he’d prefer if Ubuntu retreats back from that? But if we do, do we use GNOME’s icons and is Yaru Ubuntu-y enough without the icon theme, especially considering Yaru (the GTK and shell theme) could transition to being a more minimal difference from the GNOME reference (Adwaita) in accordance with a theme API (though this is just speculation at the moment), or does Yaru need to create completely new icons?

Despite what @snwh says in his article about how he thinks community designing is poor compared to professional designing, I think it would be preferable if Canonical employees didn’t have to impose their opinion on this matter, but I think it would be good to hear their thoughts and reasoning regardless to be considered by the whole community and as valued as a community voice would be.

We may not be professionals, and we need to think about how Ubuntu looks to non-users, whether we’re drawing users in or not, but it’s ultimately Ubuntu users, not design professionals, who Ubuntu should aim to please, and I think the comments on OMG!, for example, seem to be in support of the Yaru squircle theme being for all applications. I think it’s reasonable too, given the salient comments about Windows 10’s app icon backgrounds being considered acceptable! But I also understand that Sam and others would like Ubuntu to go full GNOME upstream like Fedora (no extensions, Adwaita theme, and default icons), but I don’t know how they think Ubuntu could maintain its separate image without some theming customization or similar, @snwh?

This wouldn’t help those of Sam’s persuasion on this matter, but perhaps Canonical could run a consultation/poll (on Ubuntu Insights and big enough that OMG! would hopefully run an article on it) on the issue, as it has done for GNOME Extensions in the past, so that we could get a better idea of what the community feels about this matter, not just what the loudest voices on OMG! and on the forum think?


Few things to think about,

  1. backslapping doesn’t always help,
  2. Suru icon theme is not an end by itself - it was once needed only as mobile icons,
  3. It is not a squircle, that is, not a square and circular corners, but a rectangle and circular corners,
  4. there’s nothing wrong with ubuntu-mono-dark icons.

Please take “Which is nicer?” to an appropriate thread.

That is NOT what this thread is about.

Two irrelevant posts deleted.

Honestly, thinking about it, I really am in favor of dropping the Suru icons in favor of the stock gnome ones, esp. since the icons have gotten sooooo much better. Maybe we could do minor tweaks like palette swaps for the apps we ship by default, or in some way render the svgs differently to add suru-like outlines or dynamically swap palettes?

Edit: This is the app icons, not the symbolics or folder and files. Those we should keep!


1 Irrelevant post deleted.

While the appearance of icons is important, it is not the subject of this thread.

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