Changing user icons

John Bailey rekkanoryo at
Sun Jan 18 16:46:37 EST 2009

Jim Fenstemacher wrote:
> With respect to all of this I still would like to have the option to use
> the protocol icons instead of the "green dot", the way Gaim looked.  I
> have a few reasons for this:
>    1. Icon simplicity:  Current there are two icons displayed for each
>       user, one to show their status and one to show their protocol. 
>       This could be simplified into one icon showing both, they way Gaim
>       showed worked.

This is blatantly false.  The status icons we use currently are far simpler than
the protocol icons used by versions prior to 2.0.0beta7.  Previously, any status
other than available was noted by having an emblem over the protocol icon,
making it harder to determine the status simply from the icon.  It also created
a mess of icons for the user to remember.  Instead of simply one icon for
available, there were 12 (or however many protocols we supported at the time).
The same went for away, do not disturb, or any other status.  This created more
than 200 possible combinations that a user had to remember and visually
distinguish, compared to the far simpler handful of icons we have now.

>    2. Aesthetics (for some) <snip>

Aesthetics carried (and carries) precisely zero weight in this.

>    3. Open source:  This is open source software and as such is a
>       collaborative project.  It requires input from all parties to
>       develop the best software that the community can.  Simply ignoring
>       part of that community and rejecting their ideas alienates part of
>       the community.  This is not the xxx behind an open source project.

We have not ignired the community.  We don't agree with this exceedingly tiny
vocal minority.  We did listen; the fact that we didn't act on their demands and
requests does NOT mean that we didn't listen or that we ignored anyone.

There's an old adage in open source communities--if you don't like the direction
of development, fork it.  Anyone is welcome to do so.  Of course, there's also
the fact that anyone who wants to change something in Pidgin is welcome to try
by submitting a patch.  If we reject it, there's always the fork option to fall
back on.

>    4. Appease a small group:  Again, I understand that this would only
>       be helpful for a small group of users, but that was part of the
>       idea behind the "green dot".  While reading one of the tickets a
>       developer mentioned that the "green dot" was implemented so that
>       it would be easier for color blind people to use.  This is a very
>       small amount of the population (even though 2 of the developers
>       are color blind).  So part of the reason the "green dot" was
>       implemented was to appease a small group of users.  I think the
>       implementing Gaim-style icons would appease an equally small group
>       of users.

The colorblindness issue is not nearly as important as it's made out to be.  It
is, however, a convenient side-effect.  There were requests to implement
Adium-like status icons as well, and this satisfied those requests.  There were
also other reasons, such as not using trademarked images, making the icons
consistent, and so on.  The decision had *many* components to it, not just the
few mentioned here.

>    5. What the developers believe:  The Gaim-style icons are no longer
>       used because the developers do not believe people should use their
>       program that way.  I believe that end users should be able to use
>       programs the way they see fit.  This is a belief and I think the
>       developers should respecteveryone's beliefs.  They should not try
>       to impose their beliefs on others (as with religion, political
>       views, morals, etc.), but rather give the end user the option to
>       use the program the way they believe it should be used.

We're not forcing anyone to do anything.  People are perfectly free to arrange
their buddy list into groups that reflect the account or protocol, as well as
turning on the protocol icons.  It is, however, our right as the developers to
say no to any feature request or change demanded, requested, or suggested.  It's
also our right to say that adding options is out of the question.

> Again, I completely understand why the "green dot" is used as opposed to
> Gaim-style icons.  I am simply asking the the end user be given the
> option to use the icons they wish, no matter what their reason.  I hope
> I have not been too long winded, I am simply voicing my opinion in the
> hopes that I can improve the program.  If I knew anything about
> programming I would probably take the time to modify is myself, but
> unfortunately I do not.
> Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully you consider my
> opinion.

We have already considered and rejected this change.  The reasons have been
discussed on more than one occasion, and quite frankly we're tired of having the
discussion with the exact same arguments.  If someone can come up with an
original arugment that doesn't simply rehash arguments we've heard for the last
two years, then they're welcome to participate in the discussion and see if
we're willing to change our minds then, but until then our original decision stands.


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