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Porting Gnome icon themes to KDE (and vice versa)

I really like the buuf icon theme. But it only exists for Gnome. I want a version for KDE.

A post made by someone on KDE-Apps says:

It is very easy to convert GNOME icon theme to KDE icon theme, because it's the same format ;). Just edit index.theme and change any Statu to Actions, Places to FileSystems and Categories to Applications (remember to include big letters :D).

I tried this, and it failed. It properly themes GTK apps in KDE, but all the KDE apps have blank icons.

It seems like this should not be such a hard problem. The icon theme files of the two DEs are nearly identical. There are probably only a few things that need to be changed to get this working. I could probably even write a script to do the conversion if I knew what exactly needs to be converted. I'm thinking even of getting to the level of sophistication where you could make a mapping of Gnome <=> KDE apps. Like if an icon exists for Rhythmbox, make a copy or symlink called "Amarok" when porting from Gnome to KDE, and vice versa.

This would be a dirty hack to make up for the deficiency (as I see it) that Gnome and KDE apparently haven't completely standardized on an icon theme specification. Or else that themers are not adhering to the standard, if one exists. It looks like both Gnome and KDE are using some variation of the standard listed at but clearly there are still some differences. This kind of thing I think is one area where it makes no sense to have anything but a single standard. Everyone would benefit. I think we're to the point now (if we weren't already) where lots of people are mixing and matching QT and GTK apps. Gnome and KDE both have "killer" apps which I personally can't do without. K3B and Amarok, and Gaim and Firefox for example. It would make sense to have themes nowadays provide icons for both. If there was a good standard, then the work of making a theme wouldn't necessarily have to be significantly more than it is now, either.

But I think even a dirty hack script to port themes, at this point in time would be really helpful and useful. If I can ever find good documentation about how KDE and Gnome icon themes are laid out, and the differences between them, I might give it a try.

(If anyone knows of such a script that already exists and works, that would be helpful, obviously.)

October 05, 2006 @ 4:04 AM PDT
Cateogory: Linux


Quoth Yams on October 05, 2006 @ 11:44 AM PDT

I've come across a lot of themes that have messed up naming standards. I have to go back and rename files for previous and next icons for example. This was the case with Buff 1.0, although I think 1.01 has fixed this.

Currently I'm in the process of replacing any icons left over from Tango with Buff icons. It's a very slow process.

Federico Stafforini
Quoth Federico Stafforini on February 17, 2008 @ 12:44 AM PST

I believe kde has a lot of icons which fall out of the naming standard. I have solved this using the Inherits=... property within the icon theme's index.theme. For example, Tango in Ubuntu comes with this:

[Icon Theme] Name=Tango Comment=Tango Icon Theme Inherits=gnome,crystalsvg Example=x-directory-normal

I have added the Inherits lines to other icon themes, and KDE uses missing icons from the other themes: a KDE theme such as crystalsvg usually has all the required icons, and should fill the gaps left by the gnome icon theme.