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Tale of a little pixel

a cute little girl

Time to refresh some air

In the last entries I posted some screenshots of some upcoming features in the Plasma Workspace in 4.10, and they shown also a glimpse of another thing: a new default theme, on which I was working on since a while together with Nuno.

The new default theme landed today in git and it will be in the Plasma Workspace 4.10 release (disclaimer: the wallpaper is an old included one, the new default will be presented in a while ;)):


It's the typical case of a radical redesign, in which everything changed, in order to seem that nothing has changed, just a general feeling of feeling more "right".

The key design principle is to make the whole appearance "lighter". Most graphical elements that didn't have an actual "functional" meaning are now removed, as well as gradients (a pattern that says "3D", usually reserved for indicating interactivity) on all elements that are not clickable.

Plasmoids looks completely flat now, the taskbar has now an element around only the active task, and the shadows of the items are different as well. On a related note, now all the popups will use KWin to draw their shadow, just like the panel. This means better layout and better integration with other windows.

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Sent from Smithg551 (Anonimous) on 26/04/2014 at 14:41:59

Huge NOPE :-(

Why did you have to ruin the taskbar so completely?

Finding the active task by looking at the taskbar is infinitely harder than it was with 4.9 air :-(((

Epic fail!

Sent from Andrey Petrov (Anonimous) on 18/03/2013 at 13:12:20

Think different

These are pretty improvements. I am really glad to look at a kde theme that look aesthetic rather than technical.

The Desktop design should adapt immediately to the users who can later further personalize. Currently, the default sets are too mush limited. A really good desktop should provide more than one theme :
dark vs light theme.
colorful vs monochromatic theme.
And their interactions (especially problematic taking into account the pathetic state of KDE icon sets - too much icons are missing compared to Gnome).

Sent from FabriceV (Anonimous) on 15/03/2013 at 10:12:06


It's ok however the oxygen theme is ugly and unchanged for year. Am i the only one who thinks that it looks like win95 with crappy gradients and rounded/round borders/buttons everywhere? It completely does not fit to the plasma desktop. And the default color scheme - oh the horror...

Sent from Kamia (Anonimous) on 07/02/2013 at 15:48:36



if the panel is white, that is to say, isn't composited, the white text (like clock) is not readable >:|

Sent from jk (Anonimous) on 07/01/2013 at 13:06:03


Looks nice!

I will only be able to really judge it, when I have it on my desktop, though :)

I’m anxious to see it in operation!

Polish requires lots of work and does not show the changes strongly, but I think it makes all the difference towards being accessible for more and more people - and feeling more smooth/solid/round/polished!

Sent from Arne Babenhauserheide (Anonimous) on 28/12/2012 at 17:17:08

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Sent from chenyan (Anonimous) on 26/12/2012 at 19:50:06

Great stuff

I just finished my weekly compile of KDE from the git trunk and the new theme looks and acts great. Visually it's a subtle but great upgrade, it kind of makes the desktop feel neater and stable all round. What I noticed the most though was a great performance increase. Moving windows and other compositing actions is markedly faster and smoother. Weather it's because of the rewrite of the theme or due to work elsewhere in KDE I dont know, but interacting with windows, virtual desktops etc has never been this smooth.

KDE 4.10 is definitively going to be a rock solid release considering the current stability of the master git trunk.

Seeing all the negativity expressed surprises me, since I've been using KDE since the 2.*. The first iterations of 4 where a mess compared to KDE 3.5 which I loved, but by now it outshines not only the GNOME mess but also it's younger self by far.

For me, KDE is more powerful, stable and beautiful then anything else out there, including the Windows and Apple camps. By far

Sent from Markus (Anonimous) on 13/12/2012 at 10:32:54

Good job

Very nice! I like it a lot.

What fonts do you use? Is that clock font part of the air-theme updates? Because is awesome!

Sent from fasd (Anonimous) on 12/12/2012 at 17:04:10

clock shadows

looks nice :)

I noticed, that the shadow on the 10 o'clock knob of the analog clock is different than on the other knobs

Sent from me (Anonimous) on 11/12/2012 at 11:26:38


I love KDE, I think it is the best desktop I have used for any OS.

The default theme could be made to look nicer though (although this depends on distro also - OpenSUSE looks lovely, Kubuntu looks like its been thrown up)

Having said that I quite like the default KDE theme - it reminds me a bit of the Amiga Workbench 3.1 (I really mean I like it btw, the Amiga was wonderful)

With the hideous unusable mess that is Unity/Gnome3 I am so glad for KDE.

Sent from Morgan Cox (Anonimous) on 11/12/2012 at 3:51:36


Further to my comment below, the translucent task bar is totally awful. It makes air unusable for me. Most of the time I can barely read the title of the minimized windows in it.

I am either forced to set a light background, or dump air all together. So sadly, the first thing I do on a new KDE install is switch to another plasma theme.

If everything MUST be translucent, at least implement "reverse video" or something so the text is the inverse of the background color.

Just my 2 cents.

Sent from Bob (Anonimous) on 10/12/2012 at 12:42:37


Please, enough with the transparencies! It makes everything too hard to read, especially if the background is dark.

Also, it looks really dated. The transparency thing has been over-done, and is not cool any more. It's so last decade.

Then there are the gaudy gradients in the oxygen qt theme... but don't get me started there.

I like KDE, but the KDE look and feel needs a serious "re-imagining." it just looks like a mess in its current state.

(sorry, this is my honest opinion)

Sent from Bob (Anonimous) on 10/12/2012 at 12:27:54

Great work!

The new Air plasma theme looks really nice! I can't wait to give it a try :) But please make sure that there is not too much transparency with blur disabled.

Are there also any plans to update the old oxygen plasma theme?

Sent from Chris (Anonimous) on 10/12/2012 at 10:35:37

No Plasmate

@TheBlackCat: I've heard before of Plasmate but is just until this moment it seems to be growing. On the other hand, it barely covers only one of the points I told about KDE interface customization.

Sent from acidrums4 (Anonimous) on 10/12/2012 at 7:39:19

different textcolors possible?

as always i'm looking up to this and ask myself if its now possible to have a BLACK plasma-bar with white text and bright plasma applets with dark text?
thats the most "i really hate plasma"-thinking for every theme i want to create

Sent from Fabian (Anonimous) on 10/12/2012 at 3:52:33


Did anyone link your blog to 4chan… I have no other explanation for this ridiculous amount of trolls.

Sent from eliasp (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 22:05:50

Looks awsome

thanks for your effort!

Sent from Kris (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 18:32:58

The best

I love the defaukt KDE Plasna theme, it is the only one I don't change from the defaults, which i had to do on all other desktop before I switched. The only thing I would improve is to reduce the translucency of the theme, sometimes it is hard to read stuff on popups.

Sent from Andrej (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 17:18:17

oxygen is the problem

Only problem of kde look is oxygen, the design of gnome window is much better

Sent from Anonimus (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 16:38:57

Love it

Excellent work! I love how it is much simpler but you are not in doubt about which theme it is. And it looks really good :-)

Sent from Pascal d'Hermilly (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 16:27:26


Looking so damn good! KDE is getting even better! Thank you for your time and your (got to say it again) AWESOME work!

Best wishes.

Sent from Pj (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 15:54:33


@ acidrums4: I think plasmate is supposed to support developing themes.

Sent from TheBlackCat (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 14:11:43

It's all in CSS

It's really good that KDE is (actually) the only DE that cares about its default design. It's very nice and you're doing an awesome job.

But my complainment is about we (the people that are sort of touchy with their desktop customization) can't go a level higher customizing our desktops: widget styles can't be fully customized (like in GTK+), and it's very hard to customize or create a Plasma theme (don't take me bad, but the fact you can't use Karbon for tweaking a Plasma theme speaks for itself).

My proposal, maybe for KDE5, is providing full customization via CSS /QSS. Qt have been providing CSS customization from ages and KDE doesn't support it (WTF?) and I think CSS theming for Plasma is the way to go. I don't know if it sounds nuts but it would be awesome.

Sent from acidrums4 (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 13:50:35

Looks amazing

You're a legend!

Sent from Cid (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 13:30:20

Nice, but I still love old Air more

Looks nice. But please please also still ship the old Air theme (the one in 4.9), it is the best Plasma theme ever made. None of the themes on match Air in quality and usability with different color schemes and different backgrounds. Don't understand me wrong: the new version is also good, so no problem having it as default. But I do not want to lose the old one.

Sent from g (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 13:16:31


Good Job! Looks really good!

Now we need some more love on Oxygen (or what will come after it), to make it more coherent with this theme, and we'll have one of the most beautiful desktops out there!

Sent from gerlos (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 13:06:14

dark default theme?

could you please refresh also the (dark) oxygen theme?

Air is cool, but many people cannot use light themes cause of eyes problems, it would be nice if oxygen acted as the default dark theme for kde, up to par with the light one.


Sent from dark (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 12:27:14

i dont understand

The thing i dont understand is that why oxygen qt theme has radial gradients and 3d buttons and stuff and now plasma theme is completely flat. This is inconsistent and doesnt give a strong brand like it did, unless you plan to do the same to qt theme, which imo would be disaster.

Sent from nece228 (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 12:14:25


Can't wait for KDE 4.10 :D

Sent from Sven Brettschneider (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 11:58:20

Paste plasmoid

Paste plasmoid (text snippets) is ugly as ever. Can you change it's appearance and put new oxygen icon into new theme?

Sent from Andres (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 11:52:50

Good but...

...I think KDE must rework also the system theme

Sent from gp[] (Anonimous) on 09/12/2012 at 11:46:41

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