Mosfet.Org: New MegaGradient Widget Style

Mosfet took the pre- and circa- KDE2 world by storm not so long ago. His fingerprints are all over many of the styles, themes, window decorations as well as much of the KDE2 we are familiar with today. He churned out thousands of lines of code accompanied by slick screenshot after slick screenshot. Mosfet is now back with a funky new widget-style dubbed MegaGradient (screenshots: 1, 2, 3), currently in KDE CVS. As an aside, those of you wondering where Mosfet has been lately can check out Mosfet.Org for an update.

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Not bad - but not entirely good either. Obviously it is very difficult to make a style that is both catchy and unobtrusive at the same time. I think that the squared icons in the bottom panel don't work quite here. They are too blocky and takes to much attention in a bad way. Also: the use of colors in the screeshots make the overall appearance too dark.

Actually, I think that the use of a shadow behind the icons in the bottom panel that Gnome uses works very well. Its a good way of making "more" with "less"....

Those Kicker tiles aren't part of the widget style, they are pixmaps I downloaded off Look at KControl->Panel->Buttons.

As far as the other colors, that's what the color schemes are for... this is KDE, you can configure the color of everything - including all the gradients ;-)

Thankyou for your kind words regarding my work on your website Mosfet - much appreciated.

Keep up the great work. (I'm switching to MegaGradient right now ;)


Karol (gallium)

Kicker can have a shadow behind the icons in the panel as well. You just enable icon anti-aliasing somewhere in the Control panel. It works on all icons everywhere, too (as long as they were designed with an alpha channel - all the default KDE icons were).

I agree about the button backround tiles though. A lot of themes seem to have them, but they always look ugly (IMHO), especially when they're all different colors. Thank goodness they can all be disabled with a single checkbox!

by Antialias (not verified)

I am working on two icon themes for Konqueror, Kmail etc. toolbars.
Here is one of them, and I would like to get some response, because I am not going to continue if people don't like them :)

by Robbin Bonthond (not verified)

oohhhww... different...
Nice, very nice
keep up the good work !

ooh. yes, very cool indeed. This is the kind of creative designwork that should be applauded
very much.. Here are some quick comments:

to "special" to be a "mainstream" theme? Not neccesarily if it is made very very clean.

- the basic idea of using lines with shadows for icons are very stylish
- i like the backround on the filemenu in the way it constrasts with the background on the icons
- the quartertransparent texture of top bar is also good as well as the dots at the right end of that bar

- the icons make a bit too much noise presently - too much wire. Looking at most of them it is neither easy to figure out their function. Perhaps all should look as simple as the one on the left + good spacing
- The background on the title text in the top bar makes also too much noise - perhaps some other way to do this?
- the way the window control buttons at the right in the top bar stands out seems a bit misplaced somehow. Seems like they shouldn't be associated with the same level of control as the browserbuttons.

I'm not sure of any of this. Just some quick reactions....

it is really interesting indeed

- the icons

by Antialias (not verified)

I really appreciate your response. Yes, you are right about toolbar icons. I know where the problem is but I am not sure yet how to designe these two icons which make noise: editpaste and edit copy. These two icons are not as clean as other icons, and I am going to change them. Printfile icons should be better also, and I am working hard :)
Background under titlebar text and titlebar icons can be easily changed (thanks to gallium and his kwin client :), so you can use any titlebar decoration. I just wanted to create some toolbar icons for kde, because IMHO different toolbar icons can also give a different 'look & feel' (not only titlebar decorations and widget styles). And, of course I would very much like that other people start creating some icons for kde (tackat is tired and he need some sleep - seemenow :).

by Jelmer Feenstra (not verified)

Very nice ! Congrats allready ! :)

Do you have a website where you show other work ?
I'm very interested to see what your ideas are.


yep. me too. I am also interested....

by Chris Bordeman (not verified)

WOW! Very Cool and very clean! This one could be a candidate for KDE default, I think.

I _love_ the window buttons especially, but I do agree that some of those buttons are a bit perplexing, though, and the titlebar background behind the text is intrusive. Like the other guy said, maybe the window buttons could 'raise' a little less.

I love it, please continue!

by KDE User (not verified)

This is amazing!!! Plain coolness!!!

The icons look great.


I have one (admittedly very small) problem with KDE. Not that it would really bug me, but I am curious about how such a bug can exist for such a long time.

Please, take a look at In the lower middle of the screenshot of this screendump, you will see a KPPP-window, which has a connect-button in its lower right. This button seems to be the activated one, since it has that little border inside. This border, though, is not drawn correctly.

I have the same 'problem' on my KDE, for quite a long time. It seems this bug even made it through quite a lot of re-compilations.

Anybody know where this comes from?

by anonymous coward (not verified)

I don't know but this happens to me also. I always thought it was a video card driver problem with styled lines, not a Qt/KDE problem.

Are you using an Nvidia card?

I think it's nvidia related. I used the default x11 driver for a few days after I got my geforce2 and it didn't exhibit these problems. After "upgrading" to the nvidia drivers, however, I have the same problem. Too bad they won't open the code for this new driver architecture of theirs :( It's either use the closed, buggy drivers they provide or lose out on 3d acceleration.

Hmm, regarding that same weird-line error, I find myself having the same problem. I am using the nv driver (which if I am not mistaken is the xfree-supplied driver). I've had this problem for ages already, and haven't got a clue how to solve it. Anyone??

Btw, great work on KDE guys. I was wondering though, now that I am posting here, is there a way to get konqueror loading more quickly?

> I think it's nvidia related

Nope, I'm having the same problem both on MGA400 and on a Neomagic chipset. Maybe related to antialiasing, where some wrong fontmetrics are returned? It happens with all widget-styles, even Qt's native ones.

> Maybe related to antialiasing, where some wrong
> fontmetrics are returned?

hmmm... I don't think so. I have this problem since i use the nvidia drivers (before the antialiasing).

I've failed in activating correctly the antialiasing on my TNT2... I've followed the qt tutorial.

I've no idea on what's wrong with my settings.
If somebody have an idea : contact me please!

This is from Control panel.
RH 7.1
Intel 815
Antialiasing off (i815 driver doesn't support).

by Jason Byrne (not verified)

I saw the same problem (outline on selection isn't complete) with i810 video.

BTW - XFree86- from CVS adds RENDER support for the i810 chipset (not sure about i815). Also - the 'outlines' are now complete with the XFree86 from CVS on i810 with my machine.

I have heard users with nvidia cards mention a similar problem...

- jason

by Chad Kitching (not verified)

It's a bug in XF86. The software dotted/dashed line generator is broken. For drivers with accelerated dashed line drawing, it's not a problem, but for the rest of us... You need to use a very recent CVS version to fix this, apparently.

by Triskelios (not verified)

Yes, it was apparently an XF86 bug; there was a discussion about it sometime ago. I used to have that problem when I used XF86 4.0.2 on a Rage 128 RF. It seemed to have gone away when I upgraded to from CVS (using now).

This dosent happen with every style. Only ones which use the dotted style focus line
(not kstep kmotif and all the other boring ones)

Even when this line isnt broken up its still ugly
Its Windows style of focus box, evil indeed.

Perhaps it could be replaced with a solid line or an alpha transparent line with the Xrender stuff matures and starts getting implemented into kstyle, or mabe a pixmap themeable line like GTK.

This one annoys the hell out of me, Even tho its a very small problem, it shows itself over everything.

theres a few other glitches with kstyle (or whatever they can be attributed to), aswell.
Flickerey toolbars on mouse over, They also go quite nuts sometimes when they dont all fit on the window, try moving shrinking a window so the toolbar is cut off and indicated with an arrow, and then move the mouse over the area, buttons flicker and flash like crazy.

I also get some evilness with selected icons, the dithered selection color is very messy and unevenly distributed around the icon, Although it seems to be fixed with alot of the newer icons. (I think the problem is with alpha)

Anyway, selected icons could be replaced with instead of dithering, actual coloring, not unlike when you set an active color for mouse over, see the code is already there even.

This one annoys the hell out of me, Even tho its a very small problem, it shows itself over everything.

theres a few other glitches with kstyle (or whatever they can be attributed to), aswell.
Flickerey toolbars on mouse over, They also go quite nuts sometimes when they dont all fit on the window, try moving shrinking a window so the toolbar is cut off and indicated with an arrow, and then move the mouse over the area, buttons flicker and flash like crazy.

I also get some evilness with selected icons, the dithered selection color is very messy and unevenly distributed around the icon, Although it seems to be fixed with alot of the newer icons. (I think the problem is with alpha)

Anyway, selected icons could be replaced with instead of dithering, actual coloring, not unlike when you set an active color for mouse over, see the code is already there even.

by Craig Black (not verified)

I've noticed that bug as well but i has'nt bugged enough to report it. Here's another one that bugs me. I'm an terrible speller but on kpackage if it can't connect to an ftp site it spells can,t with two n's. Like cann't.

by nalogquin (not verified)

Ok. Mosfet has done some real kool widgets. We all know that. But we also know that not many people are doing kde widget themes. If you go to, acqua is the only widget theme available.
However, the gtk guys have numerous widgets themes, which become ugly once imported into kde.

In fact, the best kde thems were made for kde1.1.2.
Now it looks like somebody has recognised this and wants us to use windows themes(sic).

Not that crap currently hosted at



by Jørgen Adam Holen (not verified)

I think (and hope) will se some more themes now that the tutorial for writing them ( has been made. You can also take a look at these ( and this (

Why can't I select HTML Encoding?

by KDE User (not verified)

Good job, Gallium!!

A hole in the HTML posting system was exploited here about a month ago (a guy had changed every link on the page to an unmentionable URL). So they took off the option to post in HTML.

I'd rather spend my time improving the GTK theme support. I don't see the sense in making artists make all new themes when there are tons already available.

In my ideal world, you would have one wizard that could take widgets and WM themes from GTK, icewm (gallium already started this), sawfish (or whatever it's current name is), WindowMaker, Windows, etc... and apply it to your KDE desktop. There are already hundreds of themes available - it makes more sense to support all of those first.

I've made themes for Qt and ones for Gtk, and Gtk is much esier. The problem is that the legacy theme importer is broken, using a single theme engine for GNOME and KDE would be realy great, but please choose the Gtk one.

by Jason Katz-Brown (not verified)

I'm slightly annoyed you didn't mention my theme... borg_dark, a widget theme.. I love it :)

There are others too


Acqua is the only well-designed widget theme for KDE 2 'cause probably I'm the only one who have fully read the Mosfet's tutorial. Once read this tutorial I've found making themes quite simple. But the tutorial is long. Many theme designers now take a well known theme and simply modify it.
This is the reason why many themes are very ugly.

Frankly, this is trolling. You are saying that

a) You want cool themes, and you want them now! Moreover, you feel that somehow we owe you themes right now, even though KDE is an OSS project and we specifically say that there is no warranty for fitness for a particular purpose. KDE developers enjoy helping users, and making code and non-code that helps users, but this is done as a free service!

b) You also do not want to admit that there are indeed lots of good windows themes out there. Windows themes are easy mainly because a windows theme is basically a collection of pixmaps, and not as involved as a kde theme. Not all that is Windows is evil.

c) You do not feel like recognizing the work already put into the still unfinished theme engine, and the also still unfinished gtk importation engine.

KDE themes need work, definetly, but trolling about it is not the way.

Carbon, in almost every thread I read an anti-troll response that amounts to nothing. Telling people to stop trolling, won't stop the trolling. People are frusrated because they want KDE to be better than Gnome, in EVERY, respect, but they want someone else to solve the problem. The best way is to ignore these rants from ignorant users.

Your rants, telling people not to troll, just frustrates the people that don't troll.

Just ignore the post and move on.

You're absolutely right. Almost always, the response amounts to nothing useful.


It's just infuriating watching people act like this, since it gives KDE a bad name.

However, don't be surprised if I continue to respond somewhat to trolls. Since their intial post is basically pointless anyways, then a response can't truly worsen the situation (Ask a stupid question....) . Besides, it's always possible that I could end up converting a troll!

by compile lazy (not verified)

I hope pixie will not the only thing you
will be still working on for KDE.
Best wishes for your new position.
( Do sysadmins get payed as much as programmers?)

Thanks for your nice work I use daily

by Henrik A (not verified)

Sorry mosfet, but i would concider the KDE2 theme engine a failure. It's been a long time since kde 2 was released and there arent even a handful 3:rd party themes, and most of those that exist are very ugly.

Not even the built in styles are very good - they mainly show off the wonderfully quick gradient engine - but that does not a nice theme make. Gnome in general has a much nicer appearence, with nice icons, beautiful themes and a huge variety of styles to choose from.

There's absolutly nothing like beautiful GTK themes that exist for KDE (although there's a huge amount of crap there too). I'd like to know why: Are KDE themes too hard to make? Is it that no one knows how to do them? Am i too impatient? Why has no one made a brushed metal theme for kde?

I think forcing theme creators to use C++ to create powerful themes was a big mistake - it's a lot more complex compared to editing a text file.

We need a powerful theme editor, damn it!

BTW - someone said that the gnome hackers are artists and the kde coders engineers.. there seems to be a lot of truth to that.

Yes, i know i'm not entitled to complain since i havent done anything to improve the situation. Just take it as suggestions for improving KDE.


by Mosfet (not verified)

Erm, then use the friggin GTK themes! ;-) You do know KDE widgets support GTK themes, and have since 2.0, don't you? Why should we recreate existing themes when you can just load the old ones?

by Henrik A (not verified)

Right. Of course, i've never managed to sucessfully use the theme importer. (granted, i havent played with it that much). It always seem to screw up fonts.

Oh well - i'll quit whining now and try to do something about it: if you see any new cool looking themes coming out soon, they might be by me. :)


by Mosfet (not verified)

I'm working on it now. I'm not the original author of the GTK support and it hasn't really been touched since 2.0.

by john (not verified)

Great! And thanks for your responsiveness and in general all for the wonderful work you have done for the users of KDE...

by J. J. Ramsey (not verified)

I've found GTK+ themes applied to KDE apps to be pretty memory intensive and slow, slower than the GTK+ themes applied to GTK+ apps. Also, pixmap backgrounds that are scaled in GTK+ apps are tiled in KDE apps, which looks just not quite right. In short, telling KDE users to simply just use the GTK+ themes doesn't work too well.

by Chris Lee (not verified)

Hmm... weird.
I wouldn't consider it a "failure," especially not since I've been realizing as of late just how incredibly powerful it is; just because nobody's using it yet doesn't mean it's failed.

The theme engine itself is incredible. Bar none, it has some of the best theming support I've ever seen. It's just as easy to create a KDE Pixmap theme as it is to create a GTK pixmap theme, if not easier. I rather like the KDE theme syntax, too - reminds me of my "olden" days with Windows .INI files. But pixmap themes suck; they're reasonably quick under KDE2, but the real power is with coded styles; and these are, IMHO, much easier to make than GTK ENGINES.

It's hard to write styles (for noncoders). But noncoders can write pixmap themes and use the GIMP or (eventually, I guess) Krayon to do their pretty graphics. However, the coded styles are much faster than the GTK equivalent engines, and I think that C++ is worth learning enough of just so that hardcore themers can write kickass styles for KDE. That's just my opinion, though.

As an example of how good the *support* is, check out and take a look at the second screenshot. With only about two days' worth of coding, I managed to get a style that looks pretty damned close to the style included with Microsoft's OfficeXP suite, and their style is quite unique. I'm not going to officially release it since I don't feel like battling off Microsoft's hordes of IP lawyers, but it's a nice proof-of-concept and we just need some interested coders to take a look and create some serious themes. The code is there; the support from the theming community isn't.


by David (not verified)

I really like that, I'm running it on my Linux desktop now.

by KDE User (not verified)

Please commit this to KDE CVS (kdeaddons? kstyles?). We already have a Windows style, so why not this one? The more the better!

by Brian (not verified)

Help! This looks really really good but how do I install it??? I have the full KDE source from a CVS checkout from last night. I can't find where to copy the relevent style directories in the code to copy the files to.

This really is a cool looking theme and it should go in to CVS, there is already a windows 2k theme anyway. and anyway, if MS say anything, just remove it, its that simple really.


by Amibug (not verified)

Most GTK themers dont actually write themes.

Theyve just taken an existing theme and changed the pixmaps, you only need to change one or few color lines in the rc file.

It seems as though there is no decent 'template' themes available on k.t.o or with kde for this.

Until Acqua, this one has potential to be reused alot. I know i'll be banging out a few themes soon based on this one. I feel as though the kde theme situation is going to change very soon, with the developerWorks comps and check out the great widget theme tutorial on, it gives you everything you need to know and more.