@colomar @blaubachn @mooshoe There is no supported way of theming apps in GNOME, what people call "themes" these days are just stylesheet hacks. The problem is that distros are using these hacks to approximate themes, which breaks a lot of apps. That's why people are mad at them.

@ohyran @brainblasted

> Well the first step is to ensure that bugs are passed along to the correct channel

That doesn't scale though. All of this theming stuff is really only possible because there are just a few dozen apps.

Theme maintainers could never keep up with even a few thousand regularly updated apps.

@vk Yeah, a dark style preference is definitely possible (though it's going to be a big effort).

Arbitrary system-wide theming without breakage is not, and never will be.

@ohyran @brainblasted Ideally we'd like a solution that still allows tinkerers/developers to play with custom stylesheets if they want, but if that doesn't work out hardcoding is definitely an option.

I haven't used Github in a while, turns out you can only use a small set of emoji as reactions. Gitlab's arbitrary emoji reactions are sooo much more fun and creative.

@brainblasted It's really annoying. They took the message and twisted it into a "hurrdurr, GNOME wants to take features away again".
Also the page clearly says, that theme developers shouldn't feel personally attacked, but half that thread basically is that.

@pino_ac Qt/KDE and GTK2 have all the same conceptual problems, they just use fewer custom widgets, so the breakage is less frequent and less visible.

@pino_ac If it's just individuals using these hacks to tweak their own system it's not much of a problem.

It's only really an issue when distributions start shipping these hacks to lots and lots of people who have no idea the hacks are even there, and just wonder why their apps are broken.

@alexl I don't use KDE apps much, but my impression from screenshots is that they mostly use default widgets, or at least more than GTK apps. That could be a likely reason why this is less of an issue there.

Qt apps with lots of custom widgets (e.g. Telegram, the Maui apps) tend to not use system colors though, so I'm not sure this has to do with the toolkit.


Tinkerers could still change the system stylesheet to something custom and theme the hell out of everything. Things are going to break in some cases just like now, but that's fine as long as they know why, and don't expect app authors to fix it.

There are other potential solutions, but this is the simplest one I can think of that would make most of the parties involved happy.

@ohyran What Android/iOS/everyone else does is there's a default style that comes with the toolkit, and everything uses that unless it opts in to something custom.

In this case, distros could just add a small patch downstream to all the apps they ship by default (and therefore QA), in order to have them look different. Everything else would use the system stylesheet by default.

On the current theming discussion: My article from last year is still as relevant as ever, and answers a lot of questions you might have.


@alexl If you do any kind of custom UI or styling you need to do extra work to make it work with a dark stylesheet.

This has nothing to do with GTK, it's true for Qt and every other toolkit too. Automatic restyling can only work if you limit yourself to default widgets, which very few apps can or do.

Have a look at these articles for more information on the matter:



@drequivalent @bilelmoussaoui @tbernard

The problem is that they don't theme only apps shipping by default, but everything at once.

They certainly don't do it well (@tbernard had an article on why it's unrealistic anyway), and I can give lots of example of broken apps, down to 100% unreadable text (#ffffff on #ffffff) in certain places.

@vk @alexl Optionally supporting the dark stylesheet is work. You need to QA it, fix e.g. legibility bugs, add a preference in the app, etc.

In Fractal's case, nobody has done this so far, so it doesn't support it at the moment. Contributions welcome :)

As I said, High Contrast is always available in System Settings.

@vk There is a dark variant of the system stylesheet, but it's up to apps to support it (some support dark only, e.g. for media apps). There's talk about having a "prefer dark" preference though, so this might change somewhat in the future, with more apps supporting dark.

High contrast is supported at the system level, it's an accessibility setting in GNOME Settings.

Dear distros,

don't be dicks to the people making your OS valuable in the first place. Stop breaking third party apps by default.


If you valued my privacy, there would be a "Reject" button. Enough with the anti-patterns, please.

Here it is. It's time for a FreeDesktop dark style preference. Here's what that would entail, and why: medium.com/p/614f501ae4ca

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