The letter is addressed to the maintainers of Linux distributions who elect to ship custom GTK and icons themes by default in lieu of upstream defaults. From a report: By publicizing the issues they feel stem from the practice of “theming” it’s hoped that distros and developers might work together to create a “healthier GNOME third party app ecosystem.” So what’s the actual rub here? It often feels like the ability to control how our desktop looks and works is part of some unwritten Linux constitution, one we’re all secret adherents to.
But theming on the GNOME platform isn’t all it seems. It’s not without complications or compromises. As superficial as these changes might seem, usability is actually more than skin deep. Now, elephant in the room time: many leading Linux distros use custom GTK themes and icon sets as a way create a brand identity for themselves; an experience that feels uniquely their own. This includes Ubuntu (with Ambiance and Yaru), Linux Mint (with Mint-X), Pop OS (with Pop GTK) and Manjaro.