@amolith It's a lovely 72F/22C here in Las Vegas. Unusually cool for this time of year, tho.

@Wimpy Well, of course. How else would you know who the email is from?

@ebassi @bugaevc @danigm Yes, admittedly this conversation diverged from a comfortable 10,000 ft view to getting down into some weeds where I probably shouldn't be stomping - as I do not write GTK apps myself.

Emmanuele, if you want to elaborate on your position I'd be interested to hear.

OT: Btw, nice Gundam models. I'm not into anime per se but I do tabletop wargames and enjoy building models, myself.

@bugaevc @danigm @tbernard That said, this has been a great conversation Sergey and I thank you for it - but I do have to drop off at this time. So, not ignoring you from here forward I've just got stuff to do. Cheers!

@bugaevc @danigm @tbernard Personally, I prefer clear answers over ambiguity - even if the answer isn't what I wanted to hear. So my take would be either go all in on a proper theme API, or shut it down completely and go Adwaita only. That or tell devs to stick to the stock widget safe zone where themes mostly work.

Straddling the fence is clearly problematic and to me, demanding that distros not apply custom themes just comes off as passing the buck.

@bugaevc @danigm @tbernard Perhaps so, it just seems to me that if the intention was to provide true theme support for GTK3, there would be a complete theme API for that and it would work reliably and this wouldn't be an issue we're discussing. Considering that's not the case and custom themes are "breaking" apps... I think the best you could say is that GTK3 has a non-generalized theme API that kinda/sorta/maybe works for themes other than Adwaita - the one theme for which it was designed.

@poetgrant Yes, Python as a language is fine but once you step outside of the Standard Library things get kinda cray-cray.

@bugaevc @danigm I don't think your filesystem analogy works, filesystem layout is decided by convention (see LSB).

Back to themes, as I linked previously the theme "API" you refer to is designed specifically for Adwaita. So in point of fact, GTK3 does not have a true theming API (i.e., a manner to load arbitrary themes). That was *by design* because the devs wanted a singular theme/design language. Custom themes are more or less a hackish workaround. Maybe a true API might solve this problem?

@bugaevc @danigm

> is GNOME about user choice now?

No you're right, not since GNOME 2.

> If you want choice, there's KDE, after all.

And if they put that in bold print on the gnome.org landing page, that would probably be fine. Instead there is this message:

"GNOME 3 is designed to put you in control"

@bugaevc @danigm

> why is theming a problem at all?

Answering my own question:

“There is no clearly defined theming API. There are CSS stylesheets, but they were only ever meant to be used by the platform and app developers. The platform stylesheet is called Adwaita (“the only one” in Sanskrit) for a reason.” -- Tobias Bernard


@bugaevc @danigm Then I stand corrected, it was my understanding the GTK themes were a workaround.

So then my question would be, if there is an API - why is theming a problem at all?

@bugaevc @danigm

> elementary: yes, so?

I'm just pointing out it's comparing apples and oranges, unless GNOME decides to go the same route and say "this is GNOME, this is what it looks like, like it or leave it." Which is pretty much what Elementary says ("this desktop is for people who like Elementary, if you don't then go elsewhere"). And that's fine. I'm just saying GNOME should stop straddling the fence. Go user choice, or go locked down. The middle ground is apparently a problem.

@bugaevc @danigm Regarding changing /usr to /system, that's not something your average user wants to do. However, choosing a UI color or style is pretty common.

My personal perspective is that user choice and themes are important. Part of the problem here is that GTK doesn't have a theming API - themes are all hacks. So again, something of a self-inflicted wound. Adopting a standard theming API might solve the problem also.

@bugaevc @danigm But Elementary is also an example of an opinionated desktop where there is the "Elementary way" and little flexibility about that.

Regarding Adwaita, I seem to recall last year discussion on the GNOME lists about removing theming support from GTK4/GNOME4 with the driver being app consistency with Flatpak apps (that don't inherit system themes). I believe there was a lot of pushback on that proposal at the time, but I don't know that it's dead. So killing themes isn't impossible

@bugaevc @danigm No, I mean at the platform level. Either decide GTK should conform to a defined set of widgets, or decide that GTK does not support theming - full stop. The status quo is an attempt to please both devs and users. Devs want custom widgets, users want themes. But apparently the result is broken apps.

Trying to push this off on distros is just kicking the can when the problem is a toolkit issue. The linked letter is just saying "please don't expose GTK's shortcomings."


So far, my weekend list is:

1. Shopping trip to IKEA and Games Workshop.

1a. Furniture assembly.

2. Spray paint a pile of models that have been sitting for months untouched.

3. Hiking some trails at an as yet undetermined location.

4. Some late night desert stargazing if the sky is clear.

5. Other duties as assigned.

@bugaevc @danigm Question in case anyone knows:

how does Qt handle this?

I can't recall ever hearing about theming being a problem there, but it seems to be a long-running issue for GTK/GNOME devs.

@bugaevc @danigm Well, as an outsider looking in (I don't write GTK apps) that seems like two opposing paradigms: a) it's okay to write custom widgets, b) it's also okay to use custom stylesheets* that break custom widgets. Seems like one or the other has to go.

* I know that the GNOME guys actually hate custom stylesheets and wish you would just use Adwaita. But there doesn't seem to be political will yet to remove the style functionality altogether. So implicit approval by default.

@bugaevc @danigm > but if it tries to use something custom

So that seems like a self-inflicted wound then, yes?

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