View Full Version : Popular Icons Readme file

July 6th, 2009, 09:46 PM
stwschool, I like your solution. Out in the real world, it's you and I, and the other people in this this forum, who represent and implement GNU/Linux to solve problems. I'd like to share a short README with everyone if they're interested or have the time:

Polar Icons README file


This icon set is not mine (note: plug the author and give due credit here). The author dropped off the project, stating that he didn't have time to finish it. He was kind enough to upload a pack of unsorted icons, so that others could pick up where he left off. I've attempted to sort these into the proper locations. I'm sure that I've made some mistakes, and there's still more to do to make this a complete replacement for default Gnome.

Statement of Intent

I think it's important that this pack sees completion. Asthetically, GNU/Linux has come a long way, but still has dire need of complete professional quality icon replacement sets. As of this writing, Ubuntu is using Human and Tango for the majority of its default themes. This is embarrassing, when so many people have spent their time and talent making very appealing sets that go unused by the most popular distributions and desktop environments. Take KDE for example: how long did they use the same tired crystal icon theme? What was it, ten years? Distributors need to take note that appearance is perhaps more important than any single factor in drawing in new users. Ask someone why they've just switched to Mac / OS X, and you might hear about how things "just work", or something about there not being any viruses for Macs. What they won't say right off the bat, is that OS X is beautiful, and that Mac hardware is stylish and appealing.

Now, this is human nature at its finest(?). They won't immediately tell you about how much asthetics factored into their purchasing sub-standard spec hardware for more money crammed into an appealing package. They'll tell you about usability and the relative lack of malware because they don't wan't to sound shallow when they say that their purchase was primarily about asthetics. Ask that 45 year old uncle of yours with the 25 year old girlfriend what they could possibly have in common, and watch him fumble all over himself while he tries to explain that they're both avid skiers, or that they're both "dog people." Same concept applies.

A Case Study
I could go off into a tangent about how we need to save the masses from Microsoft (and mainly because we need open standards in all areas before the human race can really start using information technology for something meaningful), but I'll limit that topic to just one brief example: My wife happily used Windows for 10+ years to surf the web, send/receive email, and manage digital photos. I tried to get her to use Linux on a handfull of occasions, but fearing that she'd have to relearn how to use a computer, she was put off by the idea. Even when I tried to show her how to do things more efficiently or how to use a better piece of software to accomplish a task in Windows, she was hesitant and became quickly annoyed. "I don't want to have to learn anything new", she'd say, or, "I'm fine doing it this way already." And you know what? She's right. She typifies the average user. Your average user wants things to be reliable, comfortable, and intuitive--and they're well within their rights to demand these things, because to them, computers are just another modular electronic device.

We live in a modular world. The universe is the kernel and the planet is the platform. Modern life has evolved into an interactive program where we can extend our wills and senses by using electronic devices. The devices themselves are hot-swappable modules. When one stops working, we unplug the old module and insert a new one (or we plug the module back in after it's returned from the service center). The average user sees the external device as the whole. Everything inside is deep magic and inconsequential.

Let's imagine that the master boot record of your friend's computer gets corrupted. They might come to you saying that their "whole computer crashed", and ask if there's anything you can do to fix it. So you assess the situation and throw in a rescue disk to repair the mbr. They nervously hang on your every key press, desperately trying to make sure that you don't do any further harm. By the way, when they say, "I just want to see what you're doing so I can learn what to do next time", this is their real motivation. Anyway, after you fix the mbr and boot into the operating system, they exclaim in disbelief, "Wow, what did you do!?", despite just having watched you. Don't answer that question either--because they're still going to navigate through the 200 icons on their desktop and make sure that the family photos and tax records are still there.

Though because of repeated incidents like the (somewhat) fictional scenario above, people always keep an eye out for alternatives that are: *more* reliable, comfortable, and intuitive. And if it's newer and shinier (and not to mention, if it has a bazillion dollar ad campaign), it won't be long before people hot-swap it into their lives. But even my wife that didn't want to relearn how to use a computer by running Linux, or didn't want to learn how to batch convert files in Photoshop, wanted an Intel Macbook when they appeared on the scene. The moral of the story is: when it's shiny and pretty by default, people will want to use it.

The Future of GNU/Linux

I foresee a time in the future where all software is operating system agnostic; and going a bit further, that selling proprietary operating systems will cease to be a business altogether (selling support and services is another story). "Linux", like GNU before it, will play an important part in making this happen by offering free stable replacements to software, services, and standards that are not inherently open (note: GNU did this by replacing the peices of the UNIX itself that were not free and open).

In the end, we'll all be "thin clients" attached by our various devices to something that I call in my fictional writing, "The Evernet." The Evernet too will be modularized into services, and our devices will connect to one or all of them powered by a tailored versions of the main standardized open operating system. That operating system will be "Linux"--and everything and everyone will use it. Operating system sales will cease (unless a software company is getting paid to create a tailored version of the main meta-distribution for a target product; note: they'll be paid for coding and support, not for the code itself), support services will rise, and "software" companies will go back to actually writing software-proper (but that's another story, and yes, they will still make plenty of money).

So what am I saying here? That Linux *is* the future of computing. Once standards are completely opened up and legitimate progress in information technology is unhindered by companies unintentionally stifling it through the old world capitalistic model of selling something that doesn't need to be sold anymore, then real advances can be made. We're not fully cognizant yet of what computing can offer us, but it, along with a handfull of other technologies will shape the future for the benefit of everyone in ways that we can scarecly fathom today.

So how do we start moving forward? We accelerate the process by getting more people to use GNU/Linux sooner, by appealing to our undeniable asthetic-oriented nature.

-Rob Aronson, 2009

(key - .item, x.completed, @.solution, #.note, ?.question, *.started, !.important, %.stalled)

x.xchat icon
@.just had to rename it to 'xchat-gnome'
x.distributor logo (change to ubuntu)
@.just had to change the target name to 'start-here'
.wireless network icon (sys tray)
.change display settings icon (sys try)

July 6th, 2009, 10:00 PM
one hell of a bean #1 "raronson", bravo...

July 6th, 2009, 10:24 PM
one hell of a bean #1 "raronson", bravo...


raronson may be new to this forum but is well known in the linux world

I recommend his story being a sticky somewhere

July 6th, 2009, 11:57 PM
Moved to own thread. Could you please give provide the author and provide a link to where you got this post from. Thank you.

July 7th, 2009, 12:14 AM
just tried to look up the link, its not there?!?

July 16th, 2009, 05:55 PM
Actually, the author of the icon theme picked the project back up and completed it while I was working on sorting out his leave-off.

www.gnome-look.org, search for Polar Icons