Call for participation: an ubuntu default theme lead by the community?

Hi @c-lobrano, Community theme (installed using this ppa) with Ubuntu 18.04 .
Now I see there’s also a package named yaru-theme

Apps already vary in whether they use the dark theme or not, right? For example, Gimp and Shotwell use the dark theme, while Files and Calculator don’t.

If apps can already do that, it wouldn’t be scandalous for the shell to do it too. That is, use the same color values as the default dark theme, regardless of whether you’re using a dark-themed app.

This has been actually done already :wink:


We addressed the contrast problem by increasing changing the OSD/popup border base tone.

Some more info:

Having the same color as gtk uses produces a strange “wall of greyness” because unlike Unity7, GNOME shell can not merge the menus into the top panel nor it can merge the non-CSD apps into the top panel unless you use extensions
Thus you can end up with THREE stripes on the top: shell panel, menus, titlebars. But his can also be found in this very thread

It’s not like these color are randomly chosen. It would be great if you could read up some of the discussions in this thread or github. It’s kind of exhausting to elude the whole history of all decisions :slight_smile:
But it is our fault to not have a more up to date wiki - sorry. I planed to update it AFTER 18.10. and didnt see this coming before 18.10

We also discussed an even lighter shell by having light popup menus like the dialogues
But this broke again the feeling of the popups “growing” out of the dark top panel
Thus to be a bit more friendly and overcome the contrast problem of dark headerbars, we use light notifications and dialogues in the shell. The rest is dark.

Edit: for the topic “wall of darkness” or “wall of grey” just search in this topic for “wall of”


The Yaru team is happy to announce a new stable release!

The changes are mainly bug fixes:

  • align notebook tab labels
  • added a margin to usb-creator’s dialog to fix Geary headerbar
  • improved visibility of selected partitions in GNOME disk
  • made osd_borders_color brighter in shell to improve visibility on dark backgrounds
  • fixed circular button border in Nautilus (the stop loading folder button)
  • fixes in rhythmbox
  • updates in build scripts

enjoy :tada:


Hi, I wrote a separate topic to discuss the space usage on the screen top, which is something that, using a laptop, affects me everyday. Programs like PyCharm or Slack which I use in my study and work, waste space using thick windows decorations. My proposal is to use thinner decorations for windows that don’t use the GTK Headerbar (i.e. don’t have buttons on the decoration), similarly to what is done on Mac OS systems.

<rant>I think this is too much of getting in the way of the user for a desktop which aims to the opposite</rant>

Want this for desktop icon ?

desktop-unity 1x

@frederik-f @c-lobrano @madsrh I’ve been recently tagged into the CommuniTheme Progress thread - I’m not ignoring it, I just can’t post in that thread!


Oops, sorry @jaggers :smiley:

From the other thread…


“so is using default gnome icons so bad?”


“Yes - that would be a bad idea.
If we were talking about apple OSX icons or similar inspired themes in the linux world like La Capitaine I would say yes, is this really necessary?
But we are talking about adwaita icons […]”

Here’s my personal opinion:

We talked about the pros and cons of “placeholder icons” on Github. But Yaru already has placeholder icons, which are taken from the default Gnome icon set. As Frederik points out, these are about as far from the Suru style as you can get.

Since you’re already using non-Suru icons in these positions, I think the acid test for shipping an icon should be: does it look better than the default Gnome icon, in the context of the Yaru-themed desktop?

Ideologically, I don’t think a very nearly Suru icon can be worse than a completely non-Suru icon. I don’t know anything about Ubuntu release schedules and freezes, but, for that reason - in terms of selfishly wanting my own desktop to look as complete as possible :slight_smile: - I feel it would be good to include the icons we’ve been brainstorming and working on, as soon as they represent an improvement on using default Gnome (which doesn’t mean they can’t be improved further) and it’s practical to do so from a release schedule point of view.

snwh is a) rightly keen to assure the quality of his upstream set and b) not in favour of placeholders (or “stopgaps” as we were calling them at the time). I think his intervention on Github has been very positive because the icons look a hundred times better, now I’ve paid more attention to the guidelines and tried to follow them as closely as I can. But I suspect they still aren’t quite good enough for inclusion upstream (in fact, I now need to master gradient stops in drop shadows). Based on my current learning trajectory, I’m confident I will crack the guidelines and be able to produce 100% Suru icons. My original attempts look awful compared to the latest ones, and that was only a couple of weeks ago. In terms of working upstream, a bigger difficulty might be if snwh just doesn’t like the designs.

Speaking purely personally, I feel that the fairest approach is:

  • Yaru includes the new icons as soon as they’re preferred to the default Gnome ones (release schedules allowing), but

  • I also make a offer to submit them upstream to snwh (one per PR) and action his feedback until he’s happy to merge them upstream as well.

Then he can do his quality assurance at his own pace, but Yaru has some placeholders in the meantime. Which - even if they’re not 100% Suru - are at least passable forgeries by now. That approach would meet point a) above, IMO. In terms of point b), like I say - you’ve got to use placeholders of some kind, as long as upstream has gaps. Seems fair for Ubuntu to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether to use default Gnome or a Suru clone when that happens, as soon as they want.

“But @jaggers could need more people to help him.”

I’m not a designer, and there are lots of gaps in my ability, but I’m happy to have a go at any outstanding vector work for Yaru. The worst case scenario is I have a go at something and just can’t make anything good enough, for that particular brief. That will probably happen :slight_smile: But obviously, I’m an Ubuntu fan, and it would be great fun for me to make some contributions to the new default theme. So I’m always happy to at least try. Other than the icons I’m already working on, what outstanding vector work is there?

The last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with my icons every night, so the nightly progress is a good gauge of how much work I can do in one evening. Of course, I won’t always be able to work on vectors every night :wink: but Inkscape is one of my hobbies, so I’ll usually have time to give. I can also do mockups in GIMP, but the same caveats apply as above (i.e., as a hobbyist, there may be tasks I’m simply not up to).

EDIT: To aid the “acid test” of whether they look better in a Yaru context, I always mock up the launcher with the 48x48 version. Since we’ve made further revisions to the icons tonight, and the Cosmic Cuttlefish wallpaper has been released :slight_smile: here’s the current state of play for our Suru clone icons:


I think Mahjongg, Aisleriot and Ubiquity are in a high state of readiness, with USB creator shortly behind. Mines and Transmission are not as good IMO.


Very nice idea. Overall I can only +1 your while post!
I think we should also keep in mind that we don’t have to use 100% upstream icons. This Suru is derived from unity 8 icons, so it is no crime to let Yaru diverge from Suru. Thank you once again for your work!

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Excellent work indeed! Thanks again for your huge work, even if it’s a little bit late for 18.10 (we are past UIF, and so, documentation team will start soon after beta taking screenshot for documentation), sounds like people using the snap and 19.04 users will be delighted to see progress on the icon side! :slight_smile:

Your approach sounds like the right ones to me and I can’t wait to see them coming and submitted upstream as well :slight_smile:


Brilliant, how’s best to approach snwh? Should I send him a PM or just open a PR tonight? I was going to start with PRs for Mahjongg and Aisleriot.

You interacted more with him than I did in the past. @mpt opened bug reports on his repo AFAIK, maybe PR and link to them (if he opened on those 2?)

I’ve been thinking about visual consistency and have a bit of thinking (including a couple of suggestions which I hope are realistic and pragmatic) for 19.04.

OMG! Ubuntu! has covered the 18.10 beta and it’s great to see positive comments about the theme. However, there have already been some comments about the mix of icons - possibly because not everyone is as engrossed in the conversation as people on this thread, Github, etc…

“Suru uses a uniform shape for all icons, which sounds great on paper. In practice… Things are a little mix-matched… The result is an icon theme that looks unfinished” - Joey Sneddon.

“It seems inconsistent to replace GNOME apps’ identities but not other third-party apps that are installed by default” - comment from Matthew.

Even if permission were granted and all stakeholders were in agreement, making Suru icons for every app is the labour of Sisyphus. It’s not realistic, even before you consider the arguments for and against. So, I think it would be useful to give a bit of thought to presentation - especially in the default installation - to make Suru icons and non-Suru icons coexist as harmoniously as possible. A new user should instinctively understand the rationale for the difference, without having to think about stuff like licences. If the two icon types don’t coexist sensibly, explaining the difference doesn’t make it any less of a shame. It just means people understand why things can’t be more uniform.

So, my suggestions are:

  • For the default launcher, include a good number of Suru icons, and group any third party icons at the bottom so they’re not interspersed.

It would be bad usability not to put Firefox on the launcher, but at least this way there’s a bit of visual structure. I also suggest putting the Help icon at the bottom of the Suru group, because help/about/info is often the last option to be presented (e.g., it’s the rightmost menu in LibreOffice, Inkscape and Gimp). Having it at the bottom of the Suru group, rather than the bottom of all the launcher icons, helps “punctuate” the launcher and is suggestive of two discrete groups. Example (obviously the specific icons are open to debate):


  • For the app grid, use folders to further emphasise the difference between core Suru apps and third party non-Suru apps - rather than having a haphazard blend of icon styles jumbled in one grid.

The folders feature is currently underused. We have a random folder called “Sundry” and one called “Utilities”. I propose having core Gnome and system apps (which should all have a Suru icon by 19.04) out of folders and putting third party apps into folders - ideally including any that the user installs from Software (is it possible to default them into a folder called “Installed”?). That way, when the user first views all apps in the app grid, they see uniform Suru icons and folders. The folders could even be named /Folder or something that would group them within the app grid (because punctuation comes before letters and numbers in alphanumeric ordering).

If the folders are sensible, this shouldn’t be a usability problem. Quite the opposite, IMHO. Listing all apps in a single A-Z grid here arguably isn’t the best approach, especially since they’re paged (I usually guess which dot to try and end up getting it wrong first time!). Also, the user has the launcher and “Frequent” to navigate quickly to their favourite or most used apps.

Any thoughts?

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Well, when your PR is merged there are several icons less which are missing.
Also, some apps are currently provided by snaps. Some of those snaps (gnome apps) have currently the wrong icons but this is already reported ( and should be fixed hopefully, since there ARE gnome snaps with the correct suru icons.
So after those two things happened there is basically only firefox + LO left.
We still didn’t ask any of those two companies if they would be okay with us providing a suru icon.

I have no idea where the settings for the icon placement is on launchpad, but surely this can be changed somewhere in the default settings packages.

Given didrock’s ruling, I think we can probably do LibreOffice. It’s free software and there are some official-looking icons used on the Wikipedia page which are on there under a creative commons licence which allows remixes. We’d just have to give attribution if we remixed them :slight_smile:


I didn’t check the licencse :smiley:
Maybe it’s a mixed one?
GPL for the code and copyright on the icons?

I’m honestly not sure, it looks like they trademark aspects of their branding (and possibly their own versions of the icons?) but I’m surprised if it’s possible for something as high profile as the Wikipedia page to feature correct-looking LibreOffice icons under a creative commons licence, if that’s not permissible? It would need someone more qualified than me to judge :slight_smile: I think LibreOffice icons would be quite easy to do if allowed.

@frederik-f I think I’ve got some good news - I had a look at the Document Foundation’s own wiki. There, they have versions of the icons:


…which are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported (CC-by-sa). This means that:

"You are free to:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
for any purpose, even commercially.
_ This license is acceptable for Free Cultural Works._
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.
Under the following terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits."

So, it seems that it’s permissible to reconfigure these designs using the Suru app template :slight_smile: if there’s somewhere Yaru can give credit to the originals, and I’m happy to get started if that’s desired.

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