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#1 2020-07-26 15:46:14

mint4all
Member
From: out of sight
Registered: 2018-08-21
Posts: 132

Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

Greetings!

Call me old-fashioned (I admit, I am), but I greatly dislike the use of symbolic icons in the panel whenever a REAL icon is available. Here's what I am talking about (screenshot from my virtical 2-row panel):
Symbolic-Icons.png
NM-applet (wifi), variety (screen saver) and cherrytree (note taker) display their non-symbolic icon, but update manager, volume control and notifier applet display their symbolic icons even though their non-symbolic icons are installed, available, and dislay elsewhere.

My system: fresh build of Mint 20.0-xfce4.14-64bit, all distro-installed- plus the "obsidian" icon sets installed and recognized by the settings manager.

Is there a way to override this kind of fall-back behavior, and enforce proper icon sizing as well? Thanks.

Last edited by mint4all (2020-08-08 23:33:31)


Linux Mint 18.3, 19.3, 20.0 -- xfce 4.12 & 4.14... Apple IMAC 11,3 -- Dell Precision T1500 Desktops -- Toshiba Satellite, Dell Inspiron & HP Pavilion Laptops -- Family & Community Support re. Linux

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#2 2020-07-26 16:36:52

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 6,865

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

mint4all wrote:

Is there a way to override this kind of fall-back behavior,

You could try adding:

.xfce4-panel image { -gtk-icon-style: regular; }

...to ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css to force regular icons, but not all applets support this.

and enforce proper icon sizing as well? Thanks.

If you right-click the panel and select Panel Preference, on the Appearance tab there is a new Icon size feature. Turning off automatic sizing will allow you to specify an icon size to use.

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#3 2020-07-26 23:15:52

mint4all
Member
From: out of sight
Registered: 2018-08-21
Posts: 132

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

Thanks for the quick reply! Alas, adding the .css did not change a thing -- the "systray" (aka Notification Area) is still visually awkward, as you can see...
Symbolic-Icons-2.png
Thanks for mentioning it, but I was aware of switching the panel icons' auto-resize option to manual sizing, and am using it for the other buttons in the panel. The systray, though, has its own icon size setting thereby overriding the panel's option.

As you can see from this screen shot, the icons for the running apps (ristretto, task manager, network applet, variety, uodate manager, cherrytree) are spaced properly, but ristretto's icon is symbolic and oversized, whereas the other 5 are behaving as regards sizing. Mint's update manager icon is but a blur (v 5.6.9) even though it displays its colorful icon in Mint 19.3's systray (v 5.5.9); that would indicate that there seems to be a forced switch to a symbolic icon, either in the app itself, or in xfce 4.14.

The Notification plugin's icon is grossly oversized, and does not respect the systray's icon sizing even though it is a running process; it also displays a symbolic icon. The pulse-audio's icon, though properly sized, still is a symbolic icon. Any other options i should look into?

Last edited by mint4all (2020-07-26 23:17:58)


Linux Mint 18.3, 19.3, 20.0 -- xfce 4.12 & 4.14... Apple IMAC 11,3 -- Dell Precision T1500 Desktops -- Toshiba Satellite, Dell Inspiron & HP Pavilion Laptops -- Family & Community Support re. Linux

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#4 2020-07-27 01:54:32

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 6,865

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

This is going to get a little confusing.

To begin with, it looks like the Osidian icon set does not have regular icons for all tray items. For example, look at the status/24 folder, specifically the icons that pulseaudio-plugin uses (audio-volume-high, audio-volume-low, etc). Even the regular icons are symbolic-like.It also does not have regular icons for the notification plugin, which should be named notification.png, notification-new.png, notification-disabled.png. You could copy over other colour-based icons to replace those and use the "-gtk-icon-style: regular" code in your gtk.css file to access them.

Test with the gnome icon theme to see the "-gtk-icon-style: regular" in action.

I don't understand the ristretto icon statement - ristretto doesn't have a tray icon that I am aware of. Is it possible that it is another app that is displaying that icon?

With respect to the update icon and the variety icon, you would need to find out the icon names being used and do something similar as above.

To resize the symbolic notification and pulseaudio icons (and re-color them if you want) you could use these statements in gtk.css:

#xfce4-notification-plugin > image { -gtk-icon-style: symbolic;; -gtk-icon-transform: scale(0.6); color: green; }
#pulseaudio-button > image { -gtk-icon-style: symbolic; -gtk-icon-transform: scale(0.6); color: green; }

Note: "-gtk-icon-style: symbolic" is only required if "-gtk-icon-style: regular" is included above these statements.

And a final comment, yes, there seems to be a growing trend towards symbolic tray icons.

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#5 2020-07-27 02:22:24

MrEen
Member
Registered: 2019-04-19
Posts: 201

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

ToZ,

This is Mint mint4all is using, and they've implemented the XappStatusIcon applet, that is completely over my head, but I believe is the cause of the issue here. If I understand it correctly, it has replaced xfce4-notification-plugin and anything else that used to be in that area.

It's possible I'm interpreting things incorrectly, but I don't think so.

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#6 2020-07-27 22:10:16

mint4all
Member
From: out of sight
Registered: 2018-08-21
Posts: 132

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

Thanks for helping to sort this out! Indeed, it is rather confusing ... Just to clarify: though this is Mint 20, what you saw in above screenshots is NOT using mint's "xapp-status-plugin" -- i had removed to so as to having a "pure" xfce panel (just maybe). Also I erred re. "ristretto": the media player used is "rythmbox" (part of Mint's spin), and not "parole" (xfce's media player). So as to find some clarification of what-is-what, I went all out and included all status notification plugins available. Here's what it looks like (btw: Adwaita icons, obsidian icons disabled for now).:
Symbolic-Icons-3.png  -- quite a mess. From the top: pulse audio and xfce's notifications plugin; system monitor and cherrytree in xfce's "systray' area; wifi, mint update, and rythmbox in mint's "xapp-status-plugin", and below the logout button, xfce"s "status notifier plugin" showing "variety" running. What sticks out the most is that mint's "xapp-status-plugin" only handles a single-row panel, and has no confugirable options whatsoever. Thats why i eliminated it. Absent this plugin, these background apps appear in xfce's "systray" area, as shown in my earlier posts. The strangest thing seems to be xfce's "status notifier plugin" that seems to override xfce's "systray" from variety's view point, not from other apps like system monitor or cherrytree. These bewildering notification options show up during configuration, as you can see here:
Notification-Items.png
It now appears that xfce's "Status Notifier Items"(at left, never having used it before) has an option to toggle symbolic icons on/off, but not the "Notification Area" (aka "systray", in the middle). At right you can see how i constructed the panel plugins .. So my question is: should I be using the "Status Notifier Items" plugin exclusively to accomplish what I set out to do, namely to override symbolic icons and give me back apps' regular icons? Thanks for clarifying this confusing topic ...


Linux Mint 18.3, 19.3, 20.0 -- xfce 4.12 & 4.14... Apple IMAC 11,3 -- Dell Precision T1500 Desktops -- Toshiba Satellite, Dell Inspiron & HP Pavilion Laptops -- Family & Community Support re. Linux

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#7 2020-07-28 00:32:49

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 6,865

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

It is messy. The status notifier is the newest plugin but it only supports application indicators.

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#8 2020-07-28 02:49:14

mint4all
Member
From: out of sight
Registered: 2018-08-21
Posts: 132

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

ToZ wrote:

It is messy. The status notifier is the newest plugin but it only supports application indicators.

Agreed ... BTW: much thanks for the .css snippets -- they go quite a way towards what i wanted to accomplish. My point is: "one does not replace what works with something that doesn't work or offers a sub-par user experience". Those words of wisdom are based on my 25+ years of being the "IT-guy" plus 10+ years of freelance consulting. XFCE is, imho, a premium UI, and deserves the best TLC.

This notification/systray/indicator "mess" begs for a soluution, though; alas, i'm not the one that could implement it. Mint tries it with the "xapps-status-" thingy, but leaves behind legacy apps/APIs ...

FYI: I provide assistance to a modestly increasing number of older folks that havw grown accustomed to legacy Window and Mac interfaces and such. These folks navigate their rejuvenated (with Linux!)  laptops and desktops based on VISUAL cues they are used to, and ye ole' colorful icons serve that purpose. They can't seem to equate a symbolic rendition of what they used to recognize as "before" with what the devs deem to be "now".

Sooo, what I'm trying to do is to come up with an easy to build/configure/maintain common config (Mint's XFCE spin is by far the closest i've come with, ime) that partakes of and benefits from its distro's ecosystem (updates, system backup/restore, panel layouts and such). "Set and forget" comes to mind ... Too much to ask?


Linux Mint 18.3, 19.3, 20.0 -- xfce 4.12 & 4.14... Apple IMAC 11,3 -- Dell Precision T1500 Desktops -- Toshiba Satellite, Dell Inspiron & HP Pavilion Laptops -- Family & Community Support re. Linux

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#9 2020-07-28 11:33:31

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 6,865

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

I agree. However, the problem  I believe is two-fold. If every application supported app indicators, then they could work with the one plugin. But because this doesn't happen in real life, there is a need to support both application indicators and old tray style icons. In addition, some applications also have their own panel plugins (power manager, notification plugin, etc).

Mint's xapp-status plugin and the newer status-notifier plugin are good to see but I wonder if they could be extended to support old style tray icons as well?

Also, the variety tray icon can be changed in it's preferences - so you can pick an icon that is more square, coloured if you wish, and sharper.

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#10 2020-07-29 02:48:21

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 6,865

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

It would appear that merge of the status-notifier plugin and systray is in progress.

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#11 2020-07-29 17:13:04

File Manager
Member
Registered: 2019-11-01
Posts: 17

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

ToZ wrote:

It would appear that merge of the status-notifier plugin and systray is in progress.

Does this mean systray items will regress, meaning left-click and right-click do the same thing and no tooltips?

This is what happened when Ubuntu tried to replace systray items with indicators 10 years ago.

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#12 2020-07-30 01:02:44

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 6,865

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

I'm not sure. I haven't run the WIP branch yet. I gather there is some work that still needs to be done.

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#13 2020-08-05 23:43:52

mint4all
Member
From: out of sight
Registered: 2018-08-21
Posts: 132

Re: Override Symbolic Icons [Solved]

Fwiw --- I went down "the rabbit hole" looking into and untangling the chain of "icon theme inhertitance". It looks like all the "Mint-Y"-icon themes inherit any missing icons from the adwaita-, gnome- and hicolor-themes, resptively. Afaict, there's no way to override the use of symbolic icons. So I/we have to just go with the flow (the trend to increasingly use symbolic icons) ...

Which brings me to my original problem: the confusing (to me, anyway) app notification plugins. Here's a pic of my final layout:
System-Tray-Final.png
The top 6 app icons (cherrytree, variety, network/wifi, rythmbax, mint update, mind warp) appear inside the legacy "Notification Area" plugin (aka systray), followed by xfce's "Natification" and "pulseaudio" plugins (both recolored per ToZ -- thanks a lot!), with a visual separator at the top and bottom.

Mint's "xapp-indicator-plugin" was removed as it competes with xfce's systray but does not support vertical multi-row panels, and xfce's new ntofication plugin was also removed as it does not work for all apps. So there you have it. Thanks for your suggestions, and help. Hopefully xfce's devs consolidate the code for systray and app notification, and -- wishful thinking, idk -- look over mint's xapp-indicator and emulate its api in one single plugin. IMeanwhile, this is servicable and visually ok. When folded into a single row panel, it forms a decent notification area for laptops and tablets (my laptop users are happy even though they miss the older, colorful status icons).


Linux Mint 18.3, 19.3, 20.0 -- xfce 4.12 & 4.14... Apple IMAC 11,3 -- Dell Precision T1500 Desktops -- Toshiba Satellite, Dell Inspiron & HP Pavilion Laptops -- Family & Community Support re. Linux

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