A message from snwh (Suru icon upstream maintainer)

Unlikely. Imagine that Google made Samsung One UI second official launcher.

I don’t believe changing the radius will make any real difference

Well, even if not, doesn’t change the very post by Will up in this thread and the fact that Ubuntu is not dropping it’s visual identity.

Soooo back to the icon discussion:

Let’s see when the 3.32 app stack hits disco daily how everything looks without the Suru app icons.

Maybe it’s better than we imagine. As long as we keep the symbolic icons and the folders as @taciturasa suggested

Edit: Also,… thanks @ads20000 for the efforts to bring transparency to the community but if SNWH wants to communicate with us he could have done it already either in the big thread of doom (now closed) or otherwise.

Again: GNOME designers have other goals. That does not mean that they are wrong or we are right, it is just different.
Speaking of myself, I am very fine to live with that differences without bursting into pieces.
Thus Ubuntu has a dock (yay) and ubuntu has a systray extension (yay). And thus ubuntu has an own theme (yay).

We are already contributing to the upstream theme additionally to our daily Yaru business (not much, but it could increases in the future, especially since they want to improve the upstream shell theme in the next cycle). From my private communications with tbernard I can say, that the issues with the Yaru theme are far less problematic than to overwrite their new app icons with a different icon.

They dream of: app developer develops his/her app including a unique icon -> app developer publishes his/her app -> user uses the app developers app (including their unique icon).
Overwriting this with a custom icon set is not what they want, thus their feedback was… rather negative :stuck_out_tongue:


What if we create another extension that will insert icons into shape? I suggested this idea earlier.

I think there’s a deeper problem here, where the Gnome designers are trying to project a vision that, IMVHO, isn’t a good fit for a free and open source project like Gnome.

I understand why they’d love some top-down visual integrity. But that works better when you can use legal instruments like licensing, T&Cs, etc., to retain a necessary amount of control over what “vendors” do with your product and how they present it.

Gnome is free and open source. If people have your permission to fork, change and cannibalise your work, I’m not sure how you can hope to achieve that product-vendor model, where your principles and wishes are respected through the ecosystem. So we see an (IMO) less-than-ideal position where Gnome designers are putting pressure on a “vendor” using informal channels like critical blog posts and tweets.

FWIW, I’m not disputing the validity of what they’re trying to do; just the wisdom of trying to do it with a free and open source platform. IMO, embracing a vive la différence philosophy is necessary if you’re going to work under a licence where you cede control. It’s like releasing an animal into the wild and then trying to keep it as a pet. There’s nothing wrong with releasing an animal into the wild, and there’s nothing wrong with having a pet. But I question the wisdom of trying to do both with the same animal.

My opinion, as above, is that your licence should be an honest statement of what you’re happy for people to do. If someone takes a FOSS component off the shelf, they shouldn’t have to worry this much about upstream’s design principles, or their hopes for how the ecosystem will evolve. Surely, half the appeal of FOSS is the fact that you can diverge from upstream to follow your own vision?

I guess, speaking purely for myself, the recent developments here feel like a bizarre juxtaposition of proprietary-style wishes with free and open source licensing. It’s like a basket of apples with a sign saying, “Help yourself to these apples! Do what you want with them! Sell them if you like!” - and someone’s stood next to the basket, pressuring people about what they should or shouldn’t do with the apples.

The Gnome website says that Gnome is Free Software and links to the definition at GNU, whose “essential freedoms” include the right to "change [the software] as you wish" and “distribute copies of your modified versions to others.”

This includes the right to “use your changed version in place of the original” and states, furthermore, that “whether a change constitutes an improvement is a subjective matter. If your right to modify a program is limited, in substance, to changes that someone else considers an improvement, that program is not free.”

I don’t know how there can be this much contrast between the licence for a project and the hopes of its contributors. When it comes to your work, if someone has these freedoms, they aren’t really in a formal product/vendor relationship with you. But the GNOME designers have created an atmosphere and narrative where it’s become, at the very least, politically awkward for Ubuntu to try to replace the upstream icons, because they’ve made it clear that they disapprove.

Again, as previous, all completely IMO.


Oh yes, it does. This thread has to be read again, from top to bottom. It took me few days to go through that long thread, but it was a treat.

And, the result and further. You make your own “squircle,” not someone else’s. You can make them in Gimp, Imagemagick or Inkscape. (I’ve not touched them for years, having fun learning now.) There’s whole manual on Inkscape.

The Yaru team should create its own squircle and folder app icons.

No offense but… Are you a bot?


What’s a bot? No offense any way.

Btw, Inkscape is te app that was used to create the Suru template. The result was in svg, but the icons are in png, so you can’t manipulate them.

We can make squircles in GIMP and Inkscape :slight_smile: I don’t want to boast, but I reckon I could rustle up a hexircle or even a dodeca-dircle if the design team wanted one.

The main advantage of keeping the upstream Suru squircles (for me at least) was the nicely executed edging, optimised for the different sizes. But that goes away if Yaru switches to having the same svg for all >32px sizes, as per the latest HIG guidelines. So it’s arguably moot at this stage.

Also: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If we wanted squircles, other than politics, there would be no reason not to use the existing ones (Suru is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike).

The problem is less where the squircles come from (or who draws them) and more whether Ubuntu actually wants them. Drawing squircles would be the easy bit.


“Inkscape is te app that was used to create the Suru template. The result was in svg, but the icons are in png, so you can’t manipulate them.”

No, but we do have the source svgs for the Suru icons, which we did manipulate. When I wanted to make a new Suru icon, I either started from the blank Suru template in Inkscape, or - if there was already a similar icon to the one I wanted to make - loaded it in Inkscape and started by editing it.

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I know you can. I learned something from your comments in that thread. And, from all the other guys too.

You can take them apart, and redo them, if you want…or in a text editor. You can change the width and height from 512 to 48 without loss. Change the gradients and whatnot.

Let me explain. I say it doesn’t make any difference because:

  1. The point of the whole discussion is not the shape of the background, but only the fact that the background exists and it’s applied forcibly
  2. Changing the radius of this shape it’s a poor choice for differentiate and won’t create enough distance from Suru.
  3. We don’t really want to take the distance from Suru. We will go either upstream or Suru.

The original objection was more “ethical”. It was “how” we are conducting this transition, more than if we are legally allowed. It’s an annoying move, IMO, because @jaggers’s right, once you release your work with some permissions, you should not moan if someone takes them, and sure you should not feel in the right to do it, however I see some good reasons behind it (other than the fear to see their effort be partially obscured by a distro that is huge). As @frederik-f said, there is no right and wrong (for us at least) only a decision whether we should follow a more communitarian approach or take our way.

I like @frederik-f proposal, we have awesome symbolic and folders icons and we (at least the part of us that has design arrows in its quiver) will try to speak our voice in the GNOME effort.

  1. I am all for applying the background forcibly to any app icon, for that background would differentiate Ubuntu from other distros.
  2. You can take a square and add the curved corners to it, and that squircle would be, then Ubuntu’s, not some “squircle” developer outside Ubuntu.
  3. If that squircle is Ubuntu’s own, no outside squircle developer would cry about how the squircle is used by Ubuntu, and/or disown the Yaru team and its work.
  4. It is a question of independence of Ubuntu, as it has always been. There was no outside icon/squircle developer crying, and this thread would’ve never been.

Hopefully a lot has been lost in translation there. Sam says in his post that “Ubuntu is claiming to have such an application platform in Snap”.

But if not, that’s an example of the weird “upstream” fixation I referred to above. As far as I can tell, “GNOME vendor” is not a real thing except in World of Warcraft. That aside, the argument amounts to “Ubuntu should be sticking with upstream merely because it’s ‘upstream’, not for any reason that actually matters to users”.

Right. Gnome designers do a lot of valuable work. But they have a luxury that Ubuntu doesn’t have: they are not accountable to thousands of app developers and millions of users. This gives them the freedom to take a highly principled approach to minimalism, for example, or design a shell that is optimised for their simple “core apps” and not for thousands of third-party apps.

Ubuntu, with a much broader user base, needs to take a broader view: catering for use cases like launching apps quickly (Dash to Dock), or seeing whether anyone messaged you on Slack while you were at lunch (app-indicator menus), or even something as simple as the satisfaction of recognising Ubuntu when you see someone using it on TV (a custom theme).


I’m just a user for many years in personal use and in my company, for me it’s very important the visual identification that I’m using Ubuntu and not every other distro.
If i wanted a “pure” gnome I’ll go yo Fedora.

Just my Two cents


I’m not sure if it has been posted yet, but Sam posted an update to his blog. This is very close to what @ads20000 said.


I haven’t really been involved in Yaru for a long time, so this is my opinion and mine only.

  • Yaru is clearly loved by many people, including me. The Yaru team is doing a great job and that needs to be said as much as possible.
  • The way the Yaru team does it is amazing. I still can’t understand how they keep up. The fact that Canonical trusts Yaru enough to literally make it the face of Ubuntu is an incredible complement and shows “design-by-community” works. Sam might not like this approach, but he should judge Yaru on the result, not the approach.

I think the Yaru team is doing their best to work with Gnome, to contribute back upstream and to take into account “what Gnome wants”. However, Ubuntu will never be a “Gnome distribution” or “Gnome OS”. Working together requires effort from both sides to align better. I have seen much effort from the Yaru team to do that; the vision of Gnome is taken into account in many discussions. However, I have not seen such willingness from the Gnome side. I interpret Sam’s post as “I want X and I am frustrated that you are not doing that”. This is not a good basis for collaboration.

Does Sam want Gnome and Yaru to work together? Or is he only interested in more people to implement the Gnome designs?

Anyway, I applaud the efforts of the Yaru team to work together with the Gnome team. I’m all for more collaboration, even if it remains one-sided. I just want Gnome to be more open to new ideas and participate more in the discussions of the Yaru team.


I’ve got an email reply from Sam to this post but I didn’t get explicit permission to paste the response to the forum so I won’t (I got explicit permission to pass on details from the previous email I posted), so I’ll be a little more coded, but the general idea, though, is that yes, Sam doesn’t like it when people just fork projects rather than collaborate, from what I can tell. He dislikes the fact that Yaru simply forked (as he puts it) rather than tried to collaborate first (he had high standards for icon inclusion and feels like we’re cutting corners for the sake of completeness, he doesn’t like that low quality), but also dislikes how someone before was contributing to the Paper icons project and then simply forked it and stopped contributing back to his(?) Paper project.

Anyway, this difference of opinion will likely persist and explaining myself repeatedly is exhausting, so moving on so everyone can be more productive would be great–I’m already very busy in my limited FOSS contribution time. Also, encourage folks to reach out to me directly themselves instead of this quasi-gossiping in forums that would be preferred, this whole sending me forum snippets isn’t productive.

Does he want us to ‘move on’ in disagreement with himself and GNOME, then?! Does he not want us to agree with him after all?! I suppose if that’s how he wants it then that’s how he wants it… just… frustrating (I know it’s time consuming, as he says, but he talks about these issues as though they matter to him, but not enough for him to want to conume all his FOSS contribution time, which is understandable). But there you go, perhaps the Yaru devs can engage with him directly if they care about what he has to say and want reconciliation. I know some don’t think that’s necessary but I wonder if more friction and animosity will occur if this isn’t resolved, I just don’t think it’s ideal that, as a GNOME distribution, we’re disagreeing with GNOME and GNOME (when Sam is speaking on their behalf) don’t seem comfortable with that (which makes me uncomfortable that Yaru is in disagreement).

In any case, I suppose that’s the end of me trying to make communication happen by proxy. I’m glad that Yaru is in email conversation with other GNOME developers in any case so perhaps my intervention wasn’t necessary.

By the way, Sam says that he appreciates @frederik-f trying to upstream some Yaru changes into the default so well done on that Frederik and keep at it! :smiley:

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What??? We’re not collaborating? :man_facepalming:

…he had high standards for icon inclusion and feels like we’re cutting corners for the sake of completeness, he doesn’t like that low quality…

No one in our team is an icon designer so yes, we simply picked up the pieces as best we could to move the project along. What alternatives did we have when the maintainer only “collaborates” a few times a year.

IMHO we should close this thread. Nothing good comes from us discussing this anymore.


I’d agree because Sam no longer wants to engage on this in the way I was attempting (and didn’t really in the first place, like I said, I possibly just made things worse, but wanted some sort of reconciliation if it were possible) @ian-weisser

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He’s working under the wrong licence then! Creative Commons Share-Alike encourages people to take your work and use it in their own projects. That’s the whole point.

Also: under this licence, by forking, you are collaborating. You’re contributing to the same body of assets that people (including upstream) can use in their projects, because the licence requires derivative works to be released under the same terms. So, if someone builds on your work and makes something you actually like, you can just reach out and grab it and use it yourself. It goes both ways if you want it. If snwh had actually liked any of our icons, he could have just taken them and put them in his icon set.

With a Creative Commons project, people should only have to collaborate if they want to, because they share your aims and principles. Otherwise, they can help themselves to your assets and use them in their own projects. If that’s bad, then honestly, he’s releasing his work under the wrong licence. It’s the whole point of Creative Commons, lol. There are other licensing terms that give creative control.

To be fair, that’s a predictable consequence of starting a public debate with a blog post, instead of sending a PM!