Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 20:12 UTC, submitted by kiddo
Gnome A common complaint about GNOME is that it has a certain fetish for icons. Menu entries, buttons - everything has an icon attached to it which often wastes space needlessly by making buttons larger than they need to be, as well as menus wider than they need to be. The good news (for me, at least) is that the next GNOME release will have all these icons removed.
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'Bout time...
by umccullough on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 20:20 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

The minimalist in me says: "Yay!"

I hate needless visual cues, and IMO, the icons on buttons and menus are so small and lack detail that they're pointless already.

It's mostly about placement and muscle memory. Even the specific "look" of a given word, or words is more important than an icon next to every one.

As a visual person, myself, I very much appreciate simplicity in just the text, subtle use of color, and proper use of whitespace.

Edit: Also, sometimes it's best to have only an icon, with no text... as long as the icon is unambiguous and where you'd expect to find it.

Edited 2009-08-02 20:22 UTC

Reply Score: 3

GUI Icons
by OSGuy on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 20:23 UTC
OSGuy
Member since:
2006-01-01

This is a bad & lazy move by GNOME developers. So if you can't fix it, get rid of it. This is cheating.

"Windows has found a solution to your printing problem. Do not print!"

Why not use smaller, neater and properly aligned icons in the buttons rather than removing them. Try to fix the problem, not hide it.

I hear what you say "It is the theme developers that are responsible for this", My answer: There should be strict rules what type of icons and sizes should be included.

Edited 2009-08-02 20:27 UTC

Reply Score: 20

RE: GUI Icons
by molnarcs on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 20:37 UTC in reply to "GUI Icons"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

I think it's done well in KDE - icons in menus don't enlarge menu item heights, nor do icons on buttons (they make the buttons wider though). Besides, you can disable icons on buttons since forever. I remember they were disabled by default by the way (not sure about recent releases) and I actually enabled them (weird as it may sound to Thom) because they are pretty ;)

See with/without icons screenshots:
http://picasaweb.google.com/CsabaMolnar/Computer#

Edited 2009-08-02 20:39 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE[2]: GUI Icons
by NicePics13 on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE: GUI Icons"
NicePics13 Member since:
2009-06-08

Just take one of the better premade GTK themes like Shiki, look over the commented gtkrc and you too can have text only buttons and neat iconless menus. Xfce even has those options in the appearance tab.

Edited 2009-08-02 22:39 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: GUI Icons
by chemical_scum on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 01:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: GUI Icons"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

Just take one of the better premade GTK themes like Shiki, look over the commented gtkrc and you too can have text only buttons and neat iconless menus. Xfce even has those options in the appearance tab.


Yes and if Gnome gets too oversimplified or makes Mono compulsory, We can always go over to Xfce full time. I am actually in Xfce at this moment.

Edited 2009-08-03 01:43 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: GUI Icons
by _txf_ on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 20:44 UTC in reply to "GUI Icons"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

Indeed. I have always thought that gnome and gtk chrome has always been needlessly chunky, but, if you look at kde buttons and menus you can see that even with icons the chrome is not as wasteful as in gnome. It seems to me to be more of a "lets hide problems instead of fixing them" attitude so prevalent in gnome.

That said, I have no strong feelings about icons in buttons, they sometimes help but at other times are a bit pointless, so I'd say provide an option to do so for a few versions of gnome and see what most people like then remove the option if icons no longer remain popular.

Reply Score: 9

RE: GUI Icons
by J. M. on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 23:53 UTC in reply to "GUI Icons"
J. M. Member since:
2005-07-24

This is a bad & lazy move by GNOME developers. So if you can't fix it, get rid of it. This is cheating.

My thoughts exactly! They should just assure that the icon size does not break the layout.

I don't like the change at all. The icons on buttons and menus have always been one of my favourite features of GNOME and GTK+. It helps a lot. Not only it looks good, but it makes the buttons and menu items much quicker to recognize. The more buttons and menu items you have, the more the icons help. When you have a lot of buttons or a lot of menu items, you just get lost without the icons.

I don't understand how anyone can say the small icons in menus are not helpful or recognizable - to me, they're perfectly recognizable even at the small size. And if they're not, it just means you're using some crappy icons. So again, instead of solving the problem (making/using better icons that look recognizable at smaller sizes), you just take the lazy way of "solving" the problem and remove the icons.

I think this is the most stupid decision made by the GNOME team in many years.

Edited 2009-08-03 00:02 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: GUI Icons
by Ender2070 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 03:39 UTC in reply to "GUI Icons"
Ender2070 Member since:
2009-07-24

I totally agree with you. People say gnome isn't going anywhere.

I think eventually gnome will remove so many features, that you'll be left with a firefox window, and mono to run tomboy & f-spot.

Reply Score: 5

RE: GUI Icons
by tyrione on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 05:00 UTC in reply to "GUI Icons"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

This is a bad & lazy move by GNOME developers. So if you can't fix it, get rid of it. This is cheating.

"Windows has found a solution to your printing problem. Do not print!"

Why not use smaller, neater and properly aligned icons in the buttons rather than removing them. Try to fix the problem, not hide it.

I hear what you say "It is the theme developers that are responsible for this", My answer: There should be strict rules what type of icons and sizes should be included.


Cheating? NeXTStep never had icons on menu categories. It never needed them and saved that for the Inspector(s).

Hell I miss the sensible and direct short cut system of NeXTStep in OS X.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: GUI Icons
by bralkein on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE: GUI Icons"
bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

Yes, well GNOME isn't Nextstep or OS X is it, it's a totally different desktop metaphor. I wonder if you realise how tiresome your incessant Nextstep-related interjections become, because to me it seems you insert them everywhere you go, regardless of their relevance to the matter at hand.

Now to try and keep this post somewhat on-topic, I would add that GNOME does tend towards a rather reductionist or even minimalist desktop experience, and the removal of button icons is rather in keeping with that. I kind of like button & menu item icons myself, but it would be interesting to see if GNOME could make a clean, useful interface without them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: GUI Icons
by tyrione on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 20:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: GUI Icons"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Yes, well GNOME isn't Nextstep or OS X is it, it's a totally different desktop metaphor. I wonder if you realise how tiresome your incessant Nextstep-related interjections become, because to me it seems you insert them everywhere you go, regardless of their relevance to the matter at hand.

Now to try and keep this post somewhat on-topic, I would add that GNOME does tend towards a rather reductionist or even minimalist desktop experience, and the removal of button icons is rather in keeping with that. I kind of like button & menu item icons myself, but it would be interesting to see if GNOME could make a clean, useful interface without them.


You have no balls in your content as usual.

The entire menu structure of GNOME is a rip off of old Mac OS.

In fact, it's a piss poor rip off. The free desktop org group can't even have an intelligent menu system and has to crowd everything with links to applications within the Menu [mostly broken even on Debian and doesn't play very nicely with KDE] all to avoid the need of a useful Workspace Manager or Finder [both with their own shortcoming (I give Workspace Manager more slack because it stopped being updated 15 years ago whereas OS X is finally getting its crap together and making the entire OS environment Cocoa) and allow people to go to a sensible /Apps, /LocalApps metaphor and just double click app links from those respective directories.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: GUI Icons
by sbergman27 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 20:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: GUI Icons"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

You have no balls in your content as usual. The entire menu structure of GNOME is a rip off of old Mac OS. In fact, it's a piss poor...

Well, I suppose that no desktop thread on OSNews would really be complete without Tyrione's mindless, droning, and incessant Apple cheerleading, nor the venomous and vile calumnies he so regularly hurls at... oh... pretty much everything that is "Not Apple".

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: GUI Icons
by testman on Tue 4th Aug 2009 12:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: GUI Icons"
testman Member since:
2007-10-15

I'm sorry but any claims of Apple and Microsoft cheerleading in OSNews forums is laughably ironic. It seems to be an offence (I once saw it described as "evil") in these parts to be a fan of anything that isn't approved by the nerd/oss/Linux troika.

Reply Score: 2

RE: GUI Icons
by motang on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 15:36 UTC in reply to "GUI Icons"
motang Member since:
2008-03-27

I agree, it is lazy on Gnome's part. I hope there would be a work around to enable the icons back for people who like it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: GUI Icons
by ZehRique on Wed 5th Aug 2009 21:05 UTC in reply to "GUI Icons"
ZehRique Member since:
2009-08-05

I agree with OSGuy.
The problem seems not the rules of the buttons, but the size of the icons developers attach on them.

This should be rethought.

Reply Score: 1

All or None?
by CaptainN- on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 20:51 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

I do think in general this is a good move. I don't know if it's a good move to do this on every button wholesale. I suppose though it's easier to move them out all at once, then put them back in on a case by case basis.

Reply Score: 1

RE: All or None?
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 23:59 UTC in reply to "All or None?"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I do think in general this is a good move. I don't know if it's a good move to do this on every button wholesale. I suppose though it's easier to move them out all at once, then put them back in on a case by case basis.

I agree. I have nothing against icons on buttons, when they do their job well. In Gnome, they sometimes help, sometimes get in the way, but always take up too much space. Even a simple "Close" (note: not the "X") or "Help" button just takes up far too much space... not to mention all the others that you're likely to encounter, often in the same window.

I'm kind of nervous about the removal of the "Interface" tab, though. Okay, it does look like crap as it is, but it could surely use an overhaul and some more options. I like having the ability to choose between no toolbar labels, labels under icons, selective labels on the side, etc. If these options are just moved to another preferences window, like Nautilus' preferences, then maybe I can live with it.

But still... it's supposed to be a system-wide setting. I guess it doesn't matter though, as there are surely plenty of programs that don't abide by it and instead provide their own controls (Firefox and Geany come to mind).

Reply Score: 3

What next?
by Narishma on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 21:33 UTC
Narishma
Member since:
2005-07-06

Next they should remove the text as it takes too much space and may confuse users who have to read what it says instead of just clicking on it.

/s

Reply Score: 18

RE: What next?
by ParanoidAndroid on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 12:31 UTC in reply to "What next?"
ParanoidAndroid Member since:
2006-03-26

As long as GNOME devs see themeselves as all-knowing creatures they will keep doing stuff like this.
There are international guidlines to visual styles, button placement, widgets etc. These are called the usability aspects of a system. It does not make sense to invent this yourself, as GNOME is always trying. GNOME 3.0 will probably be reduced to a few dots to prevent users from becoming "overwhelmed"

Reply Score: 3

80/20
by panzi on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 21:35 UTC
panzi
Member since:
2006-01-22

I think the 80/20 rule should be applied: Only display buttons for those 20% of things, that are used 80% of the time. This helps quick scanning for the item so you can click it faster (if the item is easily recognizable). Or make it optional like KDE does.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 80/20
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 21:37 UTC in reply to "80/20"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I think the 80/20 rule should be applied: Only display buttons for those 20% of things, that are used 80% of the time. This helps quick scanning for the item so you can click it faster (if the item is easily recognizable). Or make it optional like KDE does.


Please stop quoting that nonsense 80/20 rules. 80% of people use only 20% of features - but it's always a different 20%.

Reply Score: 8

Against the crowd
by Moredhas on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 21:44 UTC
Moredhas
Member since:
2008-04-10

I actually like all these icons everywhere. The only valid reason for getting tight-fisted with pixels is netbook screens, but with those the exceptions, monitors are getting larger, resolutions are getting higher. A friend has his computer connected to his 42 inch plasma, and has the resolution set to 1920x1080. First thing I'd do is make widgets scalable, and the last thing I'd do is take away visual cues like icons on buttons.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Against the crowd
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 00:14 UTC in reply to "Against the crowd"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I have a decent-res screen, 1680x1050, up from my last 1600x1200 (which was a CRT, and was previously run at even lower resolutions). Quite honestly, the buttons are *still* noticeably a hog even at such a relatively high resolution. Maybe there's something they can do about it without removing the icons, who knows. Maybe shrink the buttons, leaving less room between the text/icon and the edge of the button. Shrink the icons themselves, even. I don't know, but as it is now, the buttons *are* a pretty big waste of space IMO. And they add up.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Against the crowd
by Lennie on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 07:09 UTC in reply to "Against the crowd"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Actually screens are getting smaller again, think of all the netbooks and things, yes they are getting bigger their too, but then again, we have other mobile-devices like PDA's that also run GTK.

I know what you mean though, my Samsung monitor is 23", 2048x1152. Love it. :-)

Reply Score: 1

icons are good
by xmv_ on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 21:48 UTC
xmv_
Member since:
2006-06-09

i find it harder to read text than understanding an icon
not to mention when you are using an interface with a diff language than your native language.

instead it should be done like in KDE as many pointed out.

saying "its more lightweight so it must be better" is like saying "we filter internet because of child porn"

Edited 2009-08-02 21:49 UTC

Reply Score: 12

thank you
by renhoek on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 21:49 UTC
renhoek
Member since:
2007-04-29

Never display an icon and the text. The icon alone should suffice, if not, use only text. We don't need a bunch of weird icons, just text will do fine.

All the noobs won't recognize the icons, and all the powerusers will use the keyboard shortcuts.

More icons does not make it more userfriendly, easier to find functionality does.

Reply Score: 3

RE: thank you
by molnarcs on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 00:36 UTC in reply to "thank you"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Never display an icon and the text. The icon alone should suffice, if not, use only text. We don't need a bunch of weird icons, just text will do fine...

Well, saying "I think..." would have been nice instead of never do this or that... especially since what you suggest doesn't make much sense. For one thing, deeper into the discussion one of the developer points to some studies done in the efficiency using icons, text, or icons+text:
Jared Spool, amongst many others, has studied the efficiency of icon +text vs icon-alone vs text-alone over the years, and this post nicely summarises his findings (which ties in with other studies I've read, but this was the first that came to hand):

http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2009/06/28/old-news-about-icons/

Note: 'text+image' in this context means 'an icon with a label', not 'an icon with a tooltip' -- I don't recall where icon+tooltip falls on the scale, but it's not at the top due to the greater interaction effort required to reveal tooltips.

Follow the link to see the results yourself.

Second, the problem is that they try to tackle the issue on the wrong end. Text+icons are not the main problem, badly designed icon theme plus oversized widgets are.

I don't think I need to explain the widgets parts. About the icons, two things: they should be scalable, and they should provide visual cues beyond just form and shape. Actually there are three things... scalability, color cues, and visual appeal. (Oh bugger. Amongst our icon weaponry are such elements as ... ;)

Again, sorry to bring KDE up, but that is what was done really well with oxygen - they actually designed it from the ground up in a holistic way. Take for instance the color palette:
Colors

“Since color has a very important role in Oxygen, a consistent color palette was needed”

Oxygen has one color palette with two parts (Figure 4). “Normal” colors have sober tonalities of the most needed colors. These are used mostly for mimetypes, folders, system applications and actions. Vibrant colors are more saturated used to emphasize important action icons on a toolbar, for rich media mimetypes, for application icons and, generally speaking, used when there is need to focus the attention of the use on a particular element, helping the user to find his way by following a “subliminal” color language.

http://www.oxygen-icons.org/?page_id=2

Now take a look at my screenshots I posted above to see how they look like. The black of save, the blue of help, the red of quit - all make these buttons recognizable from a distance, providing immediate access to the most important functionality. Not only that, but all icons are scalable - they look good at 256x256 while still being easily recognizable at 16x16. Tango on the other hand...fails on all 5 points I mentioned earlier ;)

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: thank you
by fresch on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 07:06 UTC in reply to "RE: thank you"
fresch Member since:
2006-09-12

I don't know if I would use Oxygen as an example on how to do it right. I find, at smaller sizes, Oxygen icons are WAY too detailed and any visual cue they might give is obscured by the visual blurring of these details. To me, Oxygen has no appeal, as the icons don't have enough contrast to the background and tend to only look good at larger sizes (+48px). Which is again lost on me, since I set icon sizes to at maximum 36px.

I think, this is largely a taste issue. Even with the most generic guide-lines, visual elements will appeal to some and not at all to others.

Reply Score: 1

Have your cake and eat it too
by jpobst on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 22:55 UTC
jpobst
Member since:
2006-09-26

I am definitely for making GNOME's ridiculously large buttons smaller, however I think they should still keep their icons.

Take the new "Delete" button for example. Even at the new size, you can easily fit an icon on it. Heck, you could still fit two icons on it without overlap, though it would be crowded.

Icons generally provide instant recognizability, and make things more visually appealing than just drab text everywhere.

Reply Score: 5

Change the default and remove the option?
by de_wizze on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 23:09 UTC
de_wizze
Member since:
2005-10-31

That just sounds to me like a really bad idea. I would welcome a change in the default but there would have to be choice some where to put it back. It just doesn't feel right to remove be removing problem (poor icon presentation) instead of fixing it (recode the theme engine to deal with icon properly).

Reply Score: 5

Let the kvetching begin!
by cmost on Sun 2nd Aug 2009 23:30 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

I'm sure this move by the Gnome developers will be met with an explosion of discussion on both sides. Many people will want to keep the icons while others will be happy to see them go. Somewhere in the middle lies the real solution. Personally, I rather enjoy the icons (after all, a picture is worth a thousand words!) I suspect many people enjoy them. As long as Gnome provides a way, at least initially, to restore the old behavior then I take no issue with this plan. Let us not forget the backlash Microsoft received for it's "ribbon" interface which is simply forced onto unsuspecting users with no way to restore the classic behavior. Over time, people got used to the ribbon but to this day, I detest it! Mostly because I didn't have a choice in the matter. Maybe bold moves by the Gnome team such as this will be the impetus many users need to return to KDE; after all, Gnome gained a lot of users when KDE 4 became the default on many beloved distros.

Edited 2009-08-02 23:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Let the kvetching begin!
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 11:25 UTC in reply to "Let the kvetching begin!"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

Gnome gained a lot of users when KDE 4 became the default on many beloved distros.

Have you any facts to confirm this or are you just trolling against KDE?

PS: KDE 4.3 absolutely rocks.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Let the kvetching begin!
by cmost on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 15:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Let the kvetching begin!"
cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

No concrete facts, however, I include myself and Linux Torvalds himself among those who switched to Gnome when KDE 4 became the default. I also include several of my Linux using buddies. A lot of people didn't like KDE 4 and saying so is not merely trolling against your precious KDE. I was a long time KDE user and only switched to Gnome a couple years ago when KDE 4 was so buggy it was unusable and I was tired of 3.5.x. I am aware that KDE 4.3 is a vast improvement and I've been anxiously awaiting it to go Gold before trying it out myself. Who knows; when Gnome 3.0 hits I may go scrambling back to KDE as may hordes of other Gnome users.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Let the kvetching begin!
by molnarcs on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 16:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Let the kvetching begin!"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Well, there might be some truth to his statement - actually I tried GNOME when KDE 4.0 came out. Was bored with 3.5.x, wanted to try out something new, and I knew that 4.0 wasn't ready. On the other hand, I never intended to switch, I always thought about it as a temporary experiment. Managed to stay with GNOME for a couple of months. Some parts were painful, others were OK, nothing really outstanding though. Switched back around KDE 4.1.3 (or 2?) which was good enough for me (but still lacked feature parity with 3.5.x).

The 4.2.x series has some features 3.5.x lacks, and still some features missing - I call it an even, but it IS DIFFERENT and refreshing in many respects. It's the first time I don't feel the need to change the default theme (or the defaults in general). For years KDE was bashed (more or less rightfully) for bad defaults (themes/settings), but finally they got it right. I used 4 distroes in the past year (Kubuntu/openSuse/Mandriva/Fedora) - and I always ended up switching back to oxygen. Exception is sculpture, a nice and very configurable/scalable theme. And now they did it again with AIR (kde 4.3) - beatifully done again...

One feature still lacking in 4.3 - good printing options. That's one part that GNOME does better at the moment. Quite an irony given its history (remember Linus bashing GNOME for their braindead decisions regarding the printing dialogue?). As I understand, however, the lack of features wasn't a decision they made. 4.x relies on QT for printing, which lack many of the features kde 3.5.x had. They didn't have the manpower to write a new printing framework, and QT development opened up only recently, after they moved to GIT. Work has just started to implement everything we may need directly into QT.

Reply Score: 2

...
by Hiev on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 00:16 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

There is already a very hiden option to ged rid of those icons in gconfig.

Reply Score: 3

RE: ...
by sbergman27 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 00:39 UTC in reply to "..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

There is already a very hiden option to ged rid of those icons in gconfig.

Not that hidden. It took 28 seconds to find. (Yeah, I timed it.)

/desktop/gnome/interface/buttons_have_icons

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 00:41 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Not that hidden. It took 28 seconds to find. (Yeah, I timed it.)

/desktop/gnome/interface/buttons_have_icons

Want a cookie? It's pretty damn well hidden for someone who doesn't know what the hell the "gconf-editor" is, let alone why they can't just easily access it from the main system menus.

Edited 2009-08-03 00:43 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: ...
by weorthe on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 01:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
weorthe Member since:
2005-07-06

System | Preferences | Appearance | Interface

X Show icons in menus

Seems to be about where you would expect it.

Edited 2009-08-03 01:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ...
by Hiev on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 01:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

That options doesn't work with buttons.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: ...
by sbergman27 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 01:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

It's pretty damn well hidden for someone who doesn't know what the hell the "gconf-editor" is

They don't need to know that. They need to know what System Tools->Configuration Editor is. And people who want to tweak at that level should learn about it.

Configuration Editor->Edit->Find

Search for "icons" and there it is. Search for anything you want... and there it is. It's easier to find Gnome's "buried" options than to sift through the hodge-podge mess that some other desktops call their regular menus. I'm not naming names, of course.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: ...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 02:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

They don't need to know that. They need to know what System Tools->Configuration Editor is.

Well, tell me then... how many distros do you see with the "System Tools -> Configuration Editor" menu option actually visible? I honestly don't recall ever seeing it in all the distro hopping I've done, and in Ubuntu, I just confirmed that it's even hidden by default in that popular "user-friendly" distro (that's news to me--I was never even aware of that button). It's either:

1. Click "Applications," highlight "Accessories," click "Terminal"
2. Type "gconf-editor" and hit Enter
3. Blah blah blah...


OR

1. Right-click "Applications," click "Edit Menus"
2. Click "System Tools" in the left panel
3. Click "Configuration Editor" in the right panel to put a checkmark by it
4. Close the window by hitting the "X" or the "Close" button
5. Click "Applications" (left this time...), scroll to "System Tools" and click "Configuration Editor"
6. Blah blah blah...


What it comes down to is... a registry editor type program is NOT something the average person will be able to use easily, IF they can even get to it to begin with. And even then, distros aiming to get marketshare from "dumb" users appear to be more than happy to *hide* options like this from them.

And people who want to tweak at that level should learn about it.

This I can agree with, but it'll be a cold day in hell when that happens. People don't *want* to learn. Yeah, I disagree with that myself, but that's the way people are.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: ...
by juvenile4909 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
juvenile4909 Member since:
2007-08-04

you just going back and forth just to read your text.
plain and simple you touche urself, if they dont like to learn s you said. then why the heck would it matter if a tool like gconfig is in their face or not.

the GUI is for users who like that sort of setup. and yes, they are always less like to have EVERYTHING on the system.

If you want to config on that level look it up and learn about it. Advanced options are almost always deep in menus or hidden.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: ...
by sbergman27 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 18:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

This I can agree with, but it'll be a cold day in hell when that happens. People don't *want* to learn.

Then those people don't need to be twiddling with how to change exactly what the surface of the buttons look like. What's more, that group won't *want* to do so beyond selecting a theme. And if they are *really* daring, maybe even changing the color scheme to something other than the theme's default.

"""
Hi! I'm new to this forum and a complete newbie to computers, but I just *gotta* set the buttons in the widgets so that they have little icons in them in addition to the text!
"""

Nah... I don't think so.

How do other desktops handle this situation?

Edited 2009-08-03 18:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: ...
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

How do other desktops handle this situation?


Windows 7 (probably Vista too, don't know about XP) uses no icons on buttons, but does use icons in menus every now and then.

From my article on menus:

http://www.osnews.com/story/20287/pt_IX_the_Menu

"There are more discussions concerning the design of menus. One of those is whether or not to use icons in menus. Apple's guidelines basically come down to "Please don't use icons in menus, only we are allowed to do that as we deem fit". Apple's argument is that users should be able to associate certain icons with actions, and by adding icons to every menu item, you hinder this process because the menus become too cluttered. Microsoft's Aero guidelines say more or less the same thing, but are far less strict, urging developers to only add icons for common actions, or icons that are already well established. "Cryptic icons aren't helpful, create visual clutter, and prevent users from focusing on the important menu items." GNOME's HIG appears to be mum on the issue."


The Linux world can read a lot from reading the Aero guidelines. There's a lot of good stuff in there.

Edited 2009-08-03 19:01 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: ...
by sumone on Tue 4th Aug 2009 10:37 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ..."
sumone Member since:
2007-02-11

Windows 7 doesn't. Vista does have them. I can't imagine why or which UI fool came to the conclusion that removing existing icons that have been there for years would "clean up" things. I prefer the buttons with icons.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: ...
by ephracis on Wed 5th Aug 2009 11:44 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ..."
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

The Linux world can read a lot from reading the Aero guidelines. There's a lot of good stuff in there.

True.

I recently installed Windows 7 on my "desktop" computer (hooked to the TV and surround) and I have actually decided to move all my stuff to Windows now. Linux will still remain on the desktop but is gonna play a secondary role now.

I think that there's a lot of stuff in Windows 7 that Linux should learn from. Especially Aero.

There's still a few parts of Windows though that doesn't feel like it "fits" in with the rest of the system. I love consistency and there's always places in every desktop environment that doesn't fit in right.

I must say that I love the lack of icons. A word is also a picture in a way. You know that thing where you switch place of every letter in a word except for the last and the first and you can still read it? I don't "read" words, I recognize them. So using text-only on buttons and menus are not a problem and doesn't make it harder for me to find the right buttons.

I generally like reduced colors and distractions. A nice color theme, limited use of icons and really good looking fonts is the shit. Small and subtle visual goodies can be nice, such as a feeling of the text being somewhat engraved into the background in toolbars are nice for example, as long as it's very, very subtle.

Anyway, I welcome this move from Gnome. ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ...
by Soulbender on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 10:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I'm not naming names, of course.


Stop battering XFCE ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: ...
by AdamW on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 04:29 UTC in reply to "..."
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

It's not hidden. It's in the Interface tab of the Appearances configuration applet. There's a checkbox for 'Show icons in menus', and a dropdown for 'Toolbar button labels', with options 'Text only', 'Icons only', 'Text below icons', 'Text beside icons'. I always uncheck the box and set the dropdown to Text only.

Reply Score: 2

Just my opinion
by WereCatf on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 01:36 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

I personally find the icons very useful. It's a lot faster to just look for a familiar icon than to read all the labels. They could have fixed this "issue" by just adjusting their use of white-space and by not allowing icons to resize the elements, but...

I wonder if it will be possible to turn those icons back on? If not then that's yet one more small reason for me to start looking for another DE.. :/

Reply Score: 3

i like gnome the way it is.
by juvenile4909 on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 01:57 UTC
juvenile4909
Member since:
2007-08-04

it never occur to me before readin this post. I like using it and i know all the options well. i think it's neat.

Reply Score: 2

Noooo
by Ikshaar on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 05:54 UTC
Ikshaar
Member since:
2005-07-14

I know UI are a matter of taste, but please stop referring to KDE as the model to follow... I cannot stand KDE UI. No offense to its followers but not everybody has same taste.

And on matter of icons - I am puzzled. I always found the small icon next to the menu extremely convenient... so I am not too happy about that move to remove them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Noooo
by molnarcs on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 06:44 UTC in reply to "Noooo"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Being one of the guys referring to KDE twice in this thread let me just point out that I didn't talk about the UI in general. I don't think GNOME should be like KDE - what would be the point?

We are talking about a very specific element (among several dozens) of the desktop. I'll recap for you:
GNOME currently has icons on buttons (and menus). Problem: they unnecessarily enlarge the widgets (both vertically and horizontally) taking up screen real estate. GNOME's solution: remove them altogether, possibly without a straightforward way to change it back. Some people like the idea, others don't.

Let's assume that icons on buttons are the cake they gonna eat by the next release. Question: is it possible to have the cake and eat it too? KDE is just an example that shows that yes, it's possible. There may be several others. This has nothing to do with the general UI.

Another question: is it possible that they are looking at the problem in a wrong way? Again, the answer is yes if you look at both the link I posted from the discussion (text+icons=good study) and the link to the design principles behind oxygen. As it currently stands, the gnome icons don't scale well, they are monotone (forgive me the pun) - the same pastellish palette for all icons - hence they are not as valuable as visual cues as they could be. Another solution would be to look at better ways to implement the widgets. Or just come up with a better default widget style. Instead, they decided to remove the icons as a "solution." In this respect - and this respect only - isn't the KDE implementation a good example? How would more scalable widgets/icons make GNOME more KDEish?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Noooo
by Ikshaar on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 14:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Noooo"
Ikshaar Member since:
2005-07-14

molnarcs&soulblender: the question is if devs will have that option to show them or not or just remove them. It seems to be still in the air.

But I also disagree with two assumptions: there is a problem of space and and gnome pastel colors are too subtle.

- problem of space is - I guess - for small screens, aka netbooks and co. On regular desktop not so much. I don't want to waste space and the option to design themes with tight UI elements is fine. But just that an option. Not the norm.

- pastel colors: I guess another fundamental matter of taste. In the image you link molnarcs, some of the icons used primal colors (brigth red). I like clean icons and colored one but I do prefer a pastel colors theme to primal color theme.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Noooo
by molnarcs on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Noooo"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Yes, I see your point, especially with color palettes - it is indeed a matter of taste. Still, you can have two different color palettes, one more subdued for general use (applications, mimetypes, filesystems, etc) and one for more important actions (ok, cancel, print, quit, save, quit) - they don't have to be as vibrant as oxygen's action palette is, but making them different and thus noticable (and more usable on buttons) may still be a good idea.

It also makes sense to mark dangerous operations red - I'm not sure what actually DELETE means in Thom's screenshots. Does it mean what it actually says, or is it mean "move to trash" - the former is way more dangerous than the latter. And again, I think this is where the two-palette solution works well:

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/PZAKSMYYcMzwofVLwIaY4w?feat=di...

See how subdued the rest of the icons are?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Noooo
by Soulbender on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 10:05 UTC in reply to "Noooo"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Who's taking about KDE being the model to follow? Are you saying that having a simple option to select to show buttons or not is somewhat a hideous UI design choice?

Reply Score: 3

Theme Issue
by fresch on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 07:22 UTC
fresch
Member since:
2006-09-12

I like the icons on buttons and menus, I find they are great visual cues and supplement muscle memory well. I would really miss them, and if there is an option to enable them, I will.

But really, this is also aggravated by GTK themes. GTK theming isn't exactly the most pleasant or comprehensive a themer could wish for. There is only limited control over spacing, especially for compound widgets like buttons (with icons.) That, and most themes are essentially copy/paste hack-jobs of other themes, and errors/bad ideas accumulate. Sadly, this even goes for "official" themes, be it GNOME's or a distribution's.

The icon size of quite a few interface elements can be set by a GTK theme, and I modify nearly all themes I like to use smaller icons on buttons, it frees up a lot of space. However, dialog buttons include some spacing that can't be controlled by a GTK theme. They actually are supposed to be bigger (according to GNOME HID guidlines), to be more readily identified as "important action" buttons.

So, what I am getting at is, I guess, GNOME/GTK should improve theming and users/distributions should choose a good (attractive) theme and there you are! No need to kludge this by completely disabling icons!

Edited 2009-08-03 07:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Icons for me
by spinnekopje on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 07:23 UTC
spinnekopje
Member since:
2008-11-29

I like icons, but they should not resize the item they are placed on. Give the user the option what to show, removing them is just getting rid of the problem instead of fixing it.
Most probably I will stay with an option I can set graphically, but I hope I can choose for the icons only.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Icons for me
by molnarcs on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 11:53 UTC in reply to "Icons for me"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Agreed, although I don't see how you can avoid resizing horizontally at least.

The problem with GTK widgets is that they seem to have the same spacing for text and icons - ie if the spacing between the text and the border is 5 pixels, adding an icon larger than the text will add 5 pixels around the icon as well.

In contrast, in KDE they seem to have defined a minimal spacing between the icon and the widget's border separately from the default text-border length of a specific theme. This way styles are quite scalable - you can have a GNOMEish large buttons everywhere style (plastic) or the slick oxygen style without the presence of icons affecting vertical size.

The default height of oxygen widgets seems to be 16 pixels (the usual small icon size) plus 1 pixel for borders. Without icons you end up with 18 pixel widgets in oxygen, which is one of the slimmest themes, and going below that height wouldn't make any sense even for text only anyway... Add an icon, and the widget stays the same height, because the border size can be separate for text and icon. See (again) this:
http://picasaweb.google.com/CsabaMolnar/Computer#536546794637534453...

So the simple and elegant solution for GNOME would be to modify GTK so it can have different variables for text-border and icon-border lengths, like in the screenshot above (I estimate a 2 pixel border around the text while having 1 pixel around the icons, preserving the same 18 pixel height). Instead, they are proposing a sledgehammer...

Edited 2009-08-03 11:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by _xmv
by _xmv on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 09:43 UTC
_xmv
Member since:
2008-12-09

I suggest Gnome authors try one thing, open the current Gnome 2.x application menu=>Internet
On any decent developer system there will be at least 25 entries.
Disable icons in the menu and add 2 apps to it, so you dont know the exact apps position.
Find pidgin. You have 1 second.

Repeat the process with icons. Reading 25 lines of text is far slower than looking for the purple bird head. I don't think that's even an argument, its just a fact you can't disagree with.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by _xmv
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 09:57 UTC in reply to "Comment by _xmv"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Please, learn to read.

The icons will NOT, I repeat, NOT be disabled for the panel menus.

NOT. N. O. T.

Reply Score: 1

removing menu icons is BAD
by hussam on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 10:12 UTC
hussam
Member since:
2006-08-17

Removing menu icons is BAD BAD BAD. They serve for accessibility.
Even if you're half blind an you see a drawing that somewhat looks like an 'X', you'll know that it means 'close'.

We should really stop the following new trends in Linux computing:
1. Minimalistic userz who hatez xserver and anything usable.
2. Disgruntled windows users who switched to Linux and run Ubuntu and are continuously trying to change everything related to GUIs by complicating everything and trying to make Gnome a clone of windows vista (I haven't tried vista but I've seen screen shots so I know what I'm talking about). It's like the other day when I joined #gnome-shell on irc.gimp.org and showed my concern that forcing compositing is a bad idea for old systems. So the developers reply saying: well ubuntu has been using composing by default for a while now.
My idea is that we shouldn't listen to people who switched from windows but only to people who have been using linux only for 5 to 10 years.

Menu icons are a good thing. Even windows used them back in the 90s. Accessibility is not bloat!

Reply Score: 3

RE: removing menu icons is BAD
by WereCatf on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 10:21 UTC in reply to "removing menu icons is BAD"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Menu icons are a good thing.

In menus they aren't all that useful. How often do you access menu at all? Most things are on the toolbar or accessed via a certain button in the interface. Those things are visible all the time so an icon on them makes more sense.

As for having a menu at all.. I've said it before and I say it again; it's useless to include both a menu and toolbar buttons. Either one or the other, not both. It's just duplication of functionality. Whenever I've coded something I've just made things straightforward enough that I can have left the whole menu out of the application. That's something GNOME devs should look into rather than pondering whether or not to have icons.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: removing menu icons is BAD
by Vanders on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE: removing menu icons is BAD"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

I've said it before and I say it again; it's useless to include both a menu and toolbar buttons.


No. How would that work? Take a look at any typical application and the menu items will heavily outweigh the toolbar buttons.

The toolbar is there for quick access to common functions: you can't cram everything into the toolbar. Likewise most people wouldn't want to use something like a web browser where the "Back" functionality was only accessible via. a menu.

Reply Score: 4

RE: removing menu icons is BAD
by ngnr on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 15:31 UTC in reply to "removing menu icons is BAD"
ngnr Member since:
2008-01-16


My idea is that we shouldn't listen to people who switched from windows but only to people who have been using linux only for 5 to 10 years.


hummm that's a great attitude that will help a lot of people to switch to linux. i´m sure they will feel well recieved into the community...

Reply Score: 1

Using GUI in a foreign language
by dpeterc on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 17:44 UTC
dpeterc
Member since:
2007-09-08

Just want to add one thing not mentioned so far.
As a software developer with a program translated in 11 languages, I often demonstrate the software speaking in English, but with software setup into customer's native language.
Before I had icons in menu, I was often lost in my own software, and had to ask the customer to translate it for me. With icons, I can still use my software.
Even for features which are not important enough to have the icon, or icon is hard to invent. I can remember relative position to icons and click the right entry.

Anyway, the removal of icons is typical Linux GUI blunder, like so many in history. Zero research, take away the feature, so we have more white space for zen designers.

Reply Score: 2

EXCELLENT!!!
by Jason Bourne on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 20:59 UTC
Jason Bourne
Member since:
2007-06-02

Finally a real good move from GNOME. Keep "moving" GNOME. KDE4 is still shooting its foot or at least is trying to recover from the last own foot shot.

The good is that we'll see the benefits in Ubuntu 9.10 (The only thing I hate in Ubuntu is the name, the versioning scheme and the silly idiot animal codenames).

Reply Score: 1

RE: EXCELLENT!!!
by lemur2 on Tue 4th Aug 2009 00:00 UTC in reply to "EXCELLENT!!!"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Finally a real good move from GNOME. Keep "moving" GNOME. KDE4 is still shooting its foot


Hardly.

Even Novell-cheerleader and long-time KDE basher SJVN has finally had to admit that KDE 4.3 is great, and has got it right by now.

http://blogs.computerworld.com/a_first_look_at_kde_4_3

Meanwhile, back on topic ... AFAIK with KDE4 the icons have become scalable graphics. Because they are scalable, it is possible to set them to display at a pixel size that matches with the associated text. One is not costrained to display a given icon at the closest available pixel size.

Is it not possible to adopt a similar strategy (make the icons scalable using SVG) in GNOME? Wouldn't that solve this problem without having to change the UI that people apparently like (or at least have got used to)?

I'm not trolling ... I guess I'm just asking if the GTK+ widget-rendering technology in GNOME is up to this potential solution, or is it irretrievably stuck to using raster graphics icons?

Edited 2009-08-04 00:01 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: EXCELLENT!!!
by Ed W. Cogburn on Tue 4th Aug 2009 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE: EXCELLENT!!!"
Ed W. Cogburn Member since:
2009-07-24

I guess I'm just asking if the GTK+ widget-rendering technology in GNOME is up to this potential solution, or is it irretrievably stuck to using raster graphics icons?



Compared to Qt, GTK+ is much more lightweight, Qt4 supports threads, XML processing, SQL DBs, multimedia, Rich Text & HTML, it now even has WebKit integrated (plus ECMAScript/JavaScript), never mind actual graphics-related stuff like OpenGL, SVG, and high-level abstract graphics constructs for 2D (graphical equivalent of the MVC paradigm), all this and more is stuff that GNOME has to use separate libs for.

There are both advantages & disadvantages to being either heavyweight or lightweight, so its really unfair to *both* toolkits to try and compare them directly, though obviously, people will keep doing so anyway. ;)

On the other hand, to be fair to GTK/GNOME, one of the *main* reasons for the significant changes of Qt between v3 and v4 was precisely to allow the entire toolkit from the ground up to do whole app/screen scalability (to make support for SVG format actually useful) in the first place. The profound internal changes (Qt4's API is now virtually device/resolution independent) between those 2 versions of Qt is also why it has taken the KDE folks 3 revs of KDE4 to get (nearly) back to the functionality they had in KDE3.

So I would imagine GTK+ will need just as significant an upgrade to *its* core to do the same thing. I doubt its "irretrievably stuck", but I'm not familiar with GTK's internals.

Reply Score: 2

Yes...
by cefarix on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 22:09 UTC
cefarix
Member since:
2006-03-18

Finally!

Reply Score: 1

Just when
by jamese on Mon 3rd Aug 2009 23:45 UTC
jamese
Member since:
2009-04-03

Just when I was about to give up on GNOME they do something like this... and totally redeem themselves! ;)

Reply Score: 1

Few icons in menus are useful
by csasso on Tue 4th Aug 2009 01:51 UTC
csasso
Member since:
2007-02-27

Few icons in menus are useful, but if all items in a menu have an icon then there is no distinction between important or dangerous items and those that are not.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 4th Aug 2009 04:29 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

The point of the icons in the interface is to make it easier for the user to interface

Reply Score: 2

Too much Tango
by itomato on Tue 4th Aug 2009 16:12 UTC
itomato
Member since:
2006-05-18

Visual cues? Can I not read my native language faster than I can decipher a cartoony, 28 to 32 pixel image?

The icons for GNOME elements are not easily modified.

If they would make it possible to modify the appearance from the dorky, chunky Tango, they might not have to 'throw the baby out with the bath water.'

When Aqua appeared with the pinstripes, the first thing I did was modify all the elements to bring back a "NeXT-like" appearance. Similarly, the first thing I do with GNOME is disable menu and interface icons.

Enough with the Tango, already.. The images make me want to do anything but click directly on them.

Reply Score: 1

yes!!
by SK8T on Tue 4th Aug 2009 17:16 UTC
SK8T
Member since:
2006-06-01

hell yes! waited for that so long!

Reply Score: 2

The choice?
by zivs on Tue 4th Aug 2009 18:36 UTC
zivs
Member since:
2009-08-04

As long as there's chance to choose with or without icons - I'm more than happy about this step. Otherwise I can't be really sure if I'll like that thing or not.

Reply Score: 1