New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

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CommonJoe
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New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:14 pm

Hi,

First of all, I really love Linux Mint. I've been using it on my main machine for almost two years. I'm a complete newb on the forum, though.

I'm running 18.3 on my main computer, but I've been tinkering with 19.2 in a virtual machine to prepare to upgrade my main computer. I've been taking notes which evolved into something that would be good for newbies -- something I intend to publish online at some point soon.

There have been some hardships along the way which brings me here. I struggled to find Window Borders Themes for Cinnamon 19.2. The ones I'm using in 18.3 (and forced with the "gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.wm.preferences theme [Theme]") doesn't work anymore in 19.2. Either I'm absolutely awful at using Google (which actually is true) or good Window Border themes for Cinnamon don't exist.

So I made some.

Montage.png
Montage.png (6.72 KiB) Viewed 885 times

There are just two files for each color: metacity-theme-3.xml (about 30K) and thumbnail.png (about 1.2K). Both files are inside of a metacity-1 directory. That's it. No external svg files needed.

Features I've included: Sizes of icons, colors of everything, and other options are configurable at the top of the xml file. The shade and stick icons change the way they look depending if those functions are on or off. Mouse hover highlights the icons so you know which button you're about to press. And the one feature that started me down this whole road: you know which window has focus.

So, a couple of questions:
  1. Where is the best place to publish them so others can find Window Borders? I'm releasing them public domain. (More notes about installation will follow in the coming weeks.)
  2. If I did these wrong or if I could have done them better or if good Windows Borders exist, could someone point me in a direction with URLs?
Thanks in advance.

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xenopeek
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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by xenopeek » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:42 pm

If you didn't already plan to do so please apply the CC0 license for your works to actually put them in public domain. See explanation here: https://creativecommons.org/share-your- ... domain/cc0

Others can hopefully answer where best to share your works.
Image

cliffcoggin
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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by cliffcoggin » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:30 pm

Congratulations Joe. I'd use them if you ever get to publish such clear and legible controls.
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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by gm10 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:01 pm

CommonJoe wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:14 pm
So, a couple of questions:
  1. Where is the best place to publish them so others can find Window Borders? I'm releasing them public domain. (More notes about installation will follow in the coming weeks.)
  2. If I did these wrong or if I could have done them better or if good Windows Borders exist, could someone point me in a direction with URLs?
For both see here: https://www.gnome-look.org/browse/cat/125/order/latest/
Tune up your LM 19.x: ppa:gm10/linuxmint-tools

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:14 pm

Hi. Me Again.

@gm10, I'll go talk to the guys at gnome-look.org, but I purposely posted here first because I think this is a big problem with Linux Mint and Cinnamon. I downloaded some of the more popular themes and none of the window borders work in Cinnamon. In fact, they don't even work in controls or desktop either. I know this problem is being worked on by the Cinnamon guys, but Cinnamon needs to be functional in the meantime. Hence the reason I got frustrated and made these. Somehow, posting it on gnome-look.org didn't feel right, but I'll post there.

@cliffcoggin, I'll try to ping you when I publish them. If you want them sooner or if I forget, private message me. I'll zip them up and send it your way. And FYI, they aren't controls. They are simply window borders. This whole "theming thing" in Cinnamon is a real mess. I've found themes that work with controls and desktop (not an easy feat), but none them worked with windows borders. Hence, the reason why I did what I did. Front end is not my forte, though. My ability to create art is terrible. I'm more of a functional guy.

When I eventually post my installation notes for Linux Mint, theming is going to have an abnormally large section compared to the rest of the system settings in Cinnamon.

-- Common Joe

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:48 am

As if theming couldn't get more complicated, it looks like opendesktop.org, gnome-look.org, and box-look.org became (merged into?) pling.com.

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by smurphos » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:52 am

CommonJoe wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:14 pm
I think this is a big problem with Linux Mint and Cinnamon. I downloaded some of the more popular themes and none of the window borders work in Cinnamon. In fact, they don't even work in controls or desktop either.
Which themes? You need to bear in mind that a lot of the stuff on gnome-look is effectively un-maintained aka old junk.

Cinnamon version 3.8 and later requires Window borders to be metacity-theme-3.xml - it doesn't support the older metacity-theme-2.xml or metacity-theme-1.xml formats. This was a deliberate choice by the devs to unbloat the Window Manager and improve performance. Long term the intention is to drop support for separate window borders themes entirely and have the borders drawn by the GTK theme. Older Cinnamon versions supported all three formats.

There is a current bug in Cinnamon 4.2 with metacity-theme-3.xml themes that use mini-icons (application icons in the titlebar). Mini-icon support has been dropped, but in the process these themes don't render properly. This has been fixed upstream but not yet released.

Mint 19.x requires the GTK theme to be GTK 3.20 or 3.22 compatible. Older themes built for GTK 3.18 only won't render correctly. The opposite is true for Mint 18.x. There's nothing the Mint devs can do about that - the upstream GTK devs broke backwards and forwards compatibility between GTK 3.18 and GTK 3.20. Themes may support one or both.

And of course for a full Cinnamon experience the theme needs to ship a Cinnamon Desktop theme. Not all theme developers will choose to support Cinnamon. And again in an ideal world the theme developers should be updating their Themes to properly support new features in each Cinnamon version. There were major changes between Cinnamon 3.0 and 3.2 and again significant changes between 3.8 and 4.0.
For custom Nemo actions, useful scripts for the Cinnamon desktop, and Cinnamox themes visit my Github pages.

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by smurphos » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:03 am

Just to add - your window - borders look good :)

PS - if you wanted metacity-theme-3.xml versions of the legacy Mint 18.x window border themes they are here - https://github.com/smurphos/Window_Borders_Mint_19/

Bear in mind that the ones that use mini-icons are currently broken in Cinnamon 4.2

You may also find this thread interesting reading - viewtopic.php?f=90&t=272018
For custom Nemo actions, useful scripts for the Cinnamon desktop, and Cinnamox themes visit my Github pages.

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:04 pm

smurphos wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:52 am
CommonJoe wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:14 pm
I think this is a big problem with Linux Mint and Cinnamon. I downloaded some of the more popular themes and none of the window borders work in Cinnamon. In fact, they don't even work in controls or desktop either.
Which themes? You need to bear in mind that a lot of the stuff on gnome-look is effectively un-maintained aka old junk.
Well, just about all of them. Keep in mind I'm looking to give a newbie a complete theme they can easily retrieve and just immediately enjoy and that doesn't look like Mint-X or Mint-Y.

I looked a couple of weeks ago and couldn't find any. Checking in again on Cinnamon Themes at https://www.pling.com/s/Cinnamon/browse ... er/latest/, I glanced at the first 40. Yours are new and the only ones that qualify. They are absolutely awesome, by the way: clear to read, great colors, and you can even tell which window has focus! (My only suggestions? You're missing the sticky icon and I'd like to see different, bigger icons in the window borders. With that said, I doubt many people use the sticky icon and not everyone wants the larger icons. Your themes really were what I was looking for.)

The rest are (at best) a good looking desktop theme only or (at worst) completely unusable because of bad colors or missing icons (even though some of them had options for desktops, window borders and controls). Besides you, the only exception was CBlack by Cloweling. Although it left me personally underwhelmed, it's a good looking, clean, unified theme that I think others can enjoy. It seemed to work on my first glance.

For a newbie trying Linux Mint (where themes are but a small part of the overwhelming experience of trying to learn an operating system), trying to scroll through 10 at time where the pictures don't always leave a good impression as to what can be done in the "theme", it's just a nightmare. I had to download each theme to see what it could really do.
smurphos wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:52 am
Cinnamon version 3.8 and later requires Window borders to be metacity-theme-3.xml - it doesn't support the older metacity-theme-2.xml or metacity-theme-1.xml formats. This was a deliberate choice by the devs to unbloat the Window Manager and improve performance. Long term the intention is to drop support for separate window borders themes entirely and have the borders drawn by the GTK theme. Older Cinnamon versions supported all three formats.
For a newbie (my target audience for my notes and the target audience of Linux Mint), that's not a good thing. The goal of my notes is to cut through the clutter and give them something to work with. I'll be linking to your work at Pling.com.
smurphos wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:52 am
And of course for a full Cinnamon experience the theme needs to ship a Cinnamon Desktop theme. Not all theme developers will choose to support Cinnamon. And again in an ideal world the theme developers should be updating their Themes to properly support new features in each Cinnamon version. There were major changes between Cinnamon 3.0 and 3.2 and again significant changes between 3.8 and 4.0.
Yeah, that's a toughie. Even I don't know if I'm Cinnamon 3.0 compliant! (Although what I wrote is so simple, I hope it is.) I saw what you did with the Cinnamox program. I haven't tried the Cinnamox program (and probably won't as UI design is not my forte), but I'm glad it exists. It's definitely needed.

When I find a few minutes, I'll make a minor update to my theme and release to Pling (as suggested).

You're both in the Linux Mint forums and in Pling.com. What's your opinion on how Linux Mint should move forward with this problem? What about including your stuff in the next release of Linux Mint for additional themes? Would you be game for that and who would we contact for that?

Thanks for all your work on the themes. They really are fantastic. :)

-- Common Joe

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by smurphos » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:48 pm

CommonJoe wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:04 pm
What about including your stuff in the next release of Linux Mint for additional themes? Would you be game for that and who would we contact for that?

Thanks for all your work on the themes. They really are fantastic. :)
Well I'm flattered - thank-you - I like my themes aswell. :)

The Cinnamox themes are also available on Cinnamon-Spices which is integrated into the Themes settings module via the Add/Remove tab so they are kind-of already built in to the release. There a few other good complete themes available there - e.g. Adapta which is abandoned upstream but I'm keeping alive as a Spices version keeping track with the latest Cinnamon version. I don't feel that I can put that one on OpenDesktop as my personal contribution is fairly minimal. Unfortunately most of the other themes on Cinnamon Spices are Cinnamon Desktop themes only, but some of those are very good quality - Adara is nice.

Image

https://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/themes

Looking elsewhere......

The original Arc theme (from which Mint-Y is derived) is bit of a classic. It's also abandoned by it's original author but is being kept going here by various contributors including myself - https://github.com/NicoHood/arc-theme

Materia is also very nice and I've also had a hand it in - however there a few things currently broken in it's Cinnamon theme that i need to get around to submitting fixes for - https://github.com/nana-4/materia-theme

Other notables that are good....

https://gitlab.com/tista500/plata-theme

https://github.com/vinceliuice/matcha (in fact all of https://github.com/vinceliuice themes are probably worth a look - I haven't tried them all)

Time permitting and with the originals author's consent I would quite like to maintain few more of these other good themes on Cinnamon Spices so they are more accessible to new users, and I have a couple of other projects of my own on the backburner. Time is my enemy - family, real-life work, and spending too much time on these forums get in the way as-well as tinkering with trying to properly learn python etc.... :roll:
For custom Nemo actions, useful scripts for the Cinnamon desktop, and Cinnamox themes visit my Github pages.

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:29 pm

smurphos wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:48 pm
The Cinnamox themes are also available on Cinnamon-Spices which is integrated into the Themes settings module via the Add/Remove tab so they are kind-of already built in to the release.
Doh! Well, I feel like a bit of an idiot. But then again, I don't call myself Common Joe for nothing. I do a lot of smart things and a lot of dumb things -- just like everyone else.

All of these things you've written are a huge help to me. Obviously, not everything will be for newbs and therefore not everything will make it into the final cut of my notes for newbs, but it's been a great help to me. Thank you.
smurphos wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:48 pm
The original Arc theme (from which Mint-Y is derived) is bit of a classic. It's also abandoned by it's original author but is being kept going here by various contributors including myself - https://github.com/NicoHood/arc-theme
I've been seeing Arc-inspired themes everywhere. I'd wondered about the history. I have an Arc-Black set of themes that someone made (I have the name somewhere) that I use personally. It's a nice set of controls and desktops for the dark fans like me. It was just missing a working set of window borders... which led me eventually here.
smurphos wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:48 pm
Time is my enemy - family, real-life work, and spending too much time on these forums get in the way as-well as tinkering with trying to properly learn python etc.... :roll:
I hear you all too well. I've stayed away from forums most of my life (the introvert and OCD part of me is happier that way), but the stuff I make does no one any good if it's sitting just on my computer. I've been dying to give back to the open source community. So, here I am taking my first steps.

Thank you for all of your help. You're well beyond me theme-wise and my stuff probably can't help you, but, just for kicks, I'll give you a heads up anyway when I push it to Pling.

See you on around on the 'Net.

-- Common Joe

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:03 am

And they're released. https://www.pling.com/p/1319251/
smurphos wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:03 am
Just to add - your window - borders look good :)
Smurphos, you helped me a lot. Thank you, very, very much.
cliffcoggin wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:30 pm
I'd use them if you ever get to publish such clear and legible controls.
Replying so you get notified of the release.
xenopeek wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:42 pm
If you didn't already plan to do so please apply the CC0 license for your works to actually put them in public domain.
Done.

Thanks again, everyone.

-- Common Joe

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by smurphos » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:12 am

Nice - a couple of observations.

The window title seems to be set a little off-centre vertically in the titlebar.

The rounded corners look a bit odd for maximised apps.
For custom Nemo actions, useful scripts for the Cinnamon desktop, and Cinnamox themes visit my Github pages.

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:19 am

smurphos wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:12 am
The window title seems to be set a little off-centre vertically in the titlebar.
I noticed that too. I'll work on when I have a few minutes.
smurphos wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:12 am
The rounded corners look a bit odd for maximised apps.
Hmm... yeah. I've never seen that either. I'll have to consider adjusting that, although I'm kind of enjoying the difference on my current setup. Maybe I'll create a different option for that so people can turn that on and off.

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by smurphos » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:34 am

Also maybe one more generic version that derives the color from the active gtk theme?

E.g. Metabox uses the gtk theme selected background color.....

https://github.com/smurphos/Window_Bord ... heme-3.xml
For custom Nemo actions, useful scripts for the Cinnamon desktop, and Cinnamox themes visit my Github pages.

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Re: New Windows Borders for Public Domain, Questions at end

Post by CommonJoe » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:48 am

smurphos wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:34 am
Also maybe one more generic version that derives the color from the active gtk theme?

E.g. Metabox uses the gtk theme selected background color.....

https://github.com/smurphos/Window_Bord ... heme-3.xml
That's a pretty good idea. Noted. (And thanks for the link. I'm noticing the variable names too. I might fix those in the future. Didn't know there was a convention, but I've seen that in one of the other two files I was studying.)

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