X/Cygwin icon proposal

Michael Bax bax3.NO@SPAM.bigfoot.com
Fri Mar 19 05:45:00 GMT 2004

Hi folks

This is a little long, but I have combined several points rather than
bombard the list with multiple messages.  Thanks for your patience.  :-)

Nahor wrote:

> What is "New Alpha"? I sent a few on the mailing list. Was it icon_test9
> (attached again here)? This one has 24bit icons, hopefully the prefered
> format on systems not supporting the alpha channel (crossing fingers).

The file you attached has issues under Windows 2000 (does not show icon
picture in Explorer).  But it was the latest version of your icon at the
time.  Original was from X.exe.

> I don't care about the majority of the systems out there. I care about
> the majority of the system using Cygwin/XFree. And that can be very
> different.

The majority of Cygwin users are not typical gamers.  They are more likely
to be similar in profile to hackers such as the Linux or BSD folks -- and
those are well known to be frequently using older generations of hardware
(and hence software).

Industry is still receiving PC's preloaded with Windows 2000 -- which will
be supported until 2007!  Remember, 2 years after Windows 2000 came on the
scene, IT organisations were still DEPLOYING Windonts NT!

Two years after the debut of Windows 2000, the number of *new* Windows NT
server licenses matched the number of Windows 2000 licenses.  And that's
just the new liceneses -- just think of the huge installed base.  And as for
desktops, by 2002 75% of desktops in industry were Windows 9x!

> Uh? I don't get your point. I personally don't buy a machine just to run
> unix. I use it to do other stuff (mostly compilation) that do make use of
> CPU power. So I have a recent machine, so I have XP. I assume that quit a
> dew (most?) geeks using Cygwin/XFree would be in the same case. But it's
> just a guess.

I'm sure that many Cygwin users have brand new machines.  But I am equally
sure that many more have older systems.

The baseline for support today must clearly be pre-XP systems.

> The other thing, IMHO, is that the alpha icon on non-alpha system, while
> not the best icon that can be on such system, is not completely ugly
> either.

Frankly, I disagree.  I wouldn't have put in the effort of designed a new
icon set if I thought it were OK!  :-)

> So between an icon that looks best on recent machines but not as good on
> older ones and one that looks best on older machines but not as good as it
> can be on recent ones, I prefer to think "future/progress/whatever" and
> take the first.

The problem is that the rest of the software world disagrees.  It is
standard software practice to support as many platforms as possible with the
*default* install, even if it is not as flashy as the others.  Sure, you can
have an option to enable alpha -- but don't make it the default.

Do you really want someone installing X/Cygwin for the first time to be
confronted with an amateurish-looking icon?  That was my first impression.
>From a technical perspective, aesthetics are secondary -- but in the real
world, first impressions last.

> Between the CVS and your "improved", I prefer the one in CVS. The thin
> lines is acutally too thin in 16x16, the line is too blury on yours, the
> white background seems to wash over the black line.

You originally said that my original monochrome X was ugly due to blocky
edges, but that is exactly the problem with your icon on Windows 2000
systems!  :-)

The lines in Improved.ico (why the quotes?) are actually in exactly the
correct anti-aliased proportion to represent the X logo within the limits of
the bitmap.  The CVS icon is incorrectly proportioned.

I do not argue that you personally prefer your version.  That is of course a
subjective choice!  However, Improved.ico has the proportions of the
original X vector logo; you may prefer something that looks different, but
that then is something different, not a faithful rendering of the X logo.

Ago wrote:

> If you can build ico files with both alpha and non-alpha icons why not
> include your version with alpha channel and for non-alpha either the boxed
> (which I liked) or a plain two-color variant.

> cygwin is unix. unix is simple (shell and stuff) and this is the opposite
> of the bubble-gum os WinXP with alpha channel.

Hear hear!  :-)

Earle wrote:

> - Default to a safe setting for anything that's not critical. -
> You'll save TONS of user grief, and by extension, your own.


> Looking really nasty under OSs earlier than XP is a bug I'd say.  Plus
> it's probably rechnically an invalid icon resource under those OSes so
> you may wnd up causing a boom (hey, under 95 or 98 it doesn't take
> much to crash the system!)

Strongly agreed.

> You've not very familiar with how a shortcut is made, are you?  Make the
> 1st icon in the file the clean X-in-a-white-box that's been there for
> some time.  Windoze shortcuts then will use it by default.

Or rather, the Improved.ico icon set I submitted based on that one.  :-)

> Then, since you're so unhappy with the icon, submit a patch to the
> x-create-shortcut-icons package that checks the OS version

Or just change the shortcut icon, if it's just the desktop that bothers you.

Nahor wrote again:

> But anyway, the alpha *is* "safe" for other OS (well maybe not for NT,
> but I haven't heard back from haro about icon_test9 which seems to work
> fine for Alexander). It may not be to your taste but it is recognizable
> as the X logo.

By "safe", Earle meant looking decent.  icon-test9.ico does not look decent
on all platforms, unlike Improved.ico.

Harold wrote:

> > What I'm really surprised about here is that the ICON format lets you
> > store a bunch of different formats in just one ICON resource (you can
> > specify a 1-, 16- , 256-, or 16M color, all in 16x16, 32x32, and 48x48
> > in one ICON).
> >
> > Does the one that everyone is so riled up about have the other,
> > fallback formats included?
> Yup, that is what both of our icon files have.

Hi Harold, that's actually not quite correct.  The existing CVS icon (that
you kindly sent me the link to) has no monochrome content and has a
messed-up 24x24 version.  It also has some rendering glitches.

That's why I created Improved.ico, with careful rendering and anti-aliasing
to preserve the form of the original vector logo -- I hope you can use it.

In summary:

So far 2 developers and 3 users have contributed to this discussion.  It
appears unanimous among the users that the alpha icon should not be the


More information about the Cygwin-xfree mailing list