IBM developerWorks Announces Theme Contest Winners

Frank was the first of many to write
in to tell us that IBM
announced the winners of the KDE theme
. The top prize (along with a $3,000 donation) goes to Matthias
Fenner of Germany for the
Winning theme (download), second prize (along with a $2,000 donation) goes to
Gregory Brubaker of the United States for the
Happy People theme (download), and third prize (along with a $1,000 donation)
goes to Vadim Plessky of Russia for the
Office theme
(download). Each winner now needs to choose a non-profit, Open Source
organization to which developerWorks will make a donation on his behalf. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to IBM developerWorks for their sponsorship of this rewarding project!

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by sashmitb (not verified)

I remember that when this contest was announced it was for KDE 1.x only? Right? If I had know it included 2.x styles/themes, I would have probably submitted something.

Out of the top three, I like vadim's the best for artistic quality, but I don't think I'd ever use it personally.

And props to IBM for supporting this contest :).

by Anonymous (not verified)

Who's him? Where is his theme?

by anonymous (not verified)
by Carbon (not verified)

Well, not only has Mosfet done themes, he also was a primary force behind the devel of the style engine, and a whole bunch of other nifty stuff.

by antialias (not verified)

I think it is about time that we start, and I think that we have many people around who would like to maintain it. has been down (no uploads) for so long time, and I gave up creating icon themes and kde styles because of that.
We could also have our own theme contest where the best themes would become the part of official KDE releases.
Anyone interested in these ideas?

by kidcat (not verified)

i think thats a bloody good idea!.. i started some time ago on a scheme, but now i want to go all the way: widgets/icons/colors/everything!

the goal is a "Hacker Theme" that is both cool & mean looking... but stille usable on an everyday basis. (wins:dark-gray, txt:bright-green).. havent figured the icons out yet tho... sugestions wellcome ;-D


PS.: I would be a SO annoying to all my freinds if i got a theme in the official release ;-D



by Asif Ali Rizwaan (not verified)

Yes I also would love to see a as I have created Icon theme but I could not upload that at

Lets reverse to ;)

I wonder dre will do it or not :^O

by Asif Ali Rizwaan (not verified) to :)

by Sashmit Bhaduri (not verified) is going to relaunch *very* soon, check out

by antialias (not verified)

Great, looks promising, but what does 'soon' mean?

by sashmit bhaduri (not verified)

within a week and a half.

by Asif Ali Rizwaan (not verified)

Few years ;)

by not me (not verified) is almost ready to go back up again! Check out for a taste of the new site.

by Eeli Kaikkonen (not verified)

There is already Is it not enough? If there really are
interested people, they could make a.k.o better - it seems to be in a
quite poor condition now ("news" from year 2000...). In my opinion "theme"
is a subclass of "artwork", so a.k.o is a good name and can include sounds,
graphics etc. besides complete themes. There is also a list called kde-artists,
maybe you interested should discuss there - or is it a proper place for this?

by Carbon (not verified)

Well, kde.themes is ran by completely different people then a.k.o. However, a link between the two would probably be appropriate.

by Vadim Plessky (not verified)

Let me second back this.
We NEED!!! (as it was already discussed several times, on different KDE lists)

Vadim Plessky

by Asif Ali Rizwaan (not verified)

I would never use those so called winning themes even if IBM gives me $3000 to use it for a month. I just abhor those themes. Now I see how artistic IBM is and their sense of beauty is very ....

by Thomas (not verified)

Hey, come on,

this competition is made by the people who brought us OS/2!
'nuff said.

by kde-user (not verified)


OS/2 is the ugliest OS on planet earth.

I think the problem with this theme competition is that once the dot knew the competition was open, we only had approx two weeks to get our submissions in.

That is why the submissions just plain sucked.

Mosfet would win hands down if the competition was held now.

I also agree with the sentiment that IBM was not in touch with reality when they created this competition as the original requirement was for KDE 1 only, and KDE 2 was already out for quite some time.

Congrats to the winners, I am not taking anything away from you as I did not enter, so I can't complain :) but please be aware that you are lucky to win with such crap submissions.

I agree with hosting a site ... that would rock.

by Peter (not verified)

Asif - You apparently knew little about the contest.

Prize money is donated to non-profit open source organization, not the creator. So if you're intentions are as pure as you puport them to be, why didn't you enter the contest?

Submissions were not judge by IBM. They were judged by 2 external judges. Here's info on the judges. They most likely did not have many entries.

The results are not so much related to the judges as they are to the number and quantity of entries.

Obviously, it's easier to critcize than to actually create something.

Hey, I thought I saw some pictures of demos of some people's submissions way back when this was started. The guy had new buttons for everything and it all looked very very good. This is why I didn't bother to try. But something happened. Does anyone know why those themes (if you remember them) didn't get anywhere close? I presume they weren't submitted...

by friend (not verified)

MAN, I wish I would have entered!!! I could have not only won, but pissed all you f*ckers off at the same time!!!


by Jelmer Feenstra (not verified)

Ofcourse you would have !

But can you show me your theme perhaps ? You got me a little bit interested now :)

by Show us your th... (not verified)

Jelmer - Go ahead and mail me your submission. I'll be sure and post it up here for everybody to see.


by AB (not verified)

Phew. I would like to see those themes that did not win.
How could THEY look ?

by Asif Ali Rizwaan (not verified)

I like most of you feel bad that KDE has every look and feel modules scattered into different places so that the user have to struggle configuring the look&feel painfully and anybody who wishes to create Theme which might include:

1. colors,
2. style,
3. window decoration
4. fonts,
5. kicker size,
6. widget sizes (not yet implemented)
6. and other look&feel configurations

KDE must include all look and feel modules into a theme manager then only KDE will get very nice looking themes. But do kde team care for this other than hunting bugs ;)

by AB (not verified)

I agree that those modules should be integrated.

by Vadim Plessky (not verified)

> 1. colors,
> 2. style,
> 3. window decoration
> 4. fonts,
> 5. kicker size,
> 6. widget sizes (not yet implemented)
> 6. and other look&feel configurations

Most annoying to me that you can't install fonts (and even can't select from installed ones).
Many themes are looking terrible with wrong (bitmapped) fonts.
Colors you can configure via Theme manager, Styles you need to install manually.
Widget Sizes - well, you can control TitleBar height in KDE2 default theme ;-)

> KDE must include all look and feel modules into a theme manager then only
> KDE will get very nice looking themes. But do kde team care for this other
> than hunting bugs ;)

I do not think that somebody is actevely working on this.
Mosfet promised several times to fix "style" (engine) module and window decoration handling, but hasn't fixed.
As he announced his divorse with KDE some time ago, he is working on it.

Besides, you can try to ask Rik Hemsley - may be he has some patches :-)


by Evan (not verified)

I was wondering if you wanted to collaborate on a
I can provide the background technical framework, but I'm not much of an
artist beyond being able to match pallettes and so on.


by Mr Bongo (not verified)

Geeks may write good code, but they ain't got a clue about good design...

by Spark (not verified)


listen to yourselfs for a moument guys.... everybody is complaying (including me) that he didn't contribute, but this was exacly the reason why the quality of the themes was not so good.
So stop accusing IBM that they don't have any taste - they just didn't have too many themes they could choose from.

are you not happy that such big (rich) company as IBM supports Linux and OS community? In not best times recently for us.. (read - all goes down).

If we want to keep IBM supporting linux we must act! - the lesson for the next time.

Big thx to IBM for all it does to Linux and big thx to guys who contributed!

by dingodonkey (not verified)

I have never made a KDE theme before, but I could easily have outdone those ugly things... I wish I could be more polite about it, but they are just pitiful.

by 75 (not verified)

Man if I knew I could have made a couple of thousands bucks by sending a screenshot with the default theme and an ugly background....

by Vadim Plessky (not verified)

Why not to make a theme and put an URL where we can download it?
I was waiting 6 months (!!) after KDE 2.0 release to see new themes - and everything was of non-acceptable quality...
That's *how* I started doing my own themes.
Best Opne Source principle: "stop talking, start coding!"
Anyone?.. :-)

Vadim Plessky

by okay (not verified)

I'm a new user to Linux/KDE.
Linux/KDE has attracted me by its stability as well as its excellent interface.
I'm now using KDE 2.1.1 and i think any theme i've used on KDE is better than
the ones mentioned in the article...
Why have they won the contest with so poor design and look-feal?
It's a puzzle...
Look at,where there are so many splendid themes with pretty icon
and beautiful background.
Maybe excellent theme designers have no time to participate such an contest!

by loco (not verified)

Judges are obviously ... BLIND, grrr ...;-)

by StonedBones (not verified)

What is this, some sick joke ? I mean, hey, the second place has a nice background, and the third place has three new icons in the title bar but the rest is just some color changes ! How lame ! $3000 for the winning theme is simply absurd !

Just look at the Acqua theme for some fine example of what one can do with his KDE desktop... combine it with an IceWM titlebar with Aqua-like buttons and you've got a desktop that makes Windows users wish MS had such eye-candy.

I expected someone would go ahead and write their own KStyle, but this contest is really disappointing... it's a laugh !

The $3000 is donated to CHARITY, no one is getting $3000 richer just for submitting a color scheme! Geez, you guys, read the article! If you could have done better, you should have entered! Tough luck.

by L-Wave (not verified)

These themes are horrible! If this is the future of graphical environments, I'll stick with console.

by Spark (not verified)

When I first though those shots, I really expected something different. Sure. But I don't think that the price is "indeserved". :) Simply because those prices are DONATIONS. That means, that they it should be used to support open source organizations. That's a good thing, isn't it?
Thank you IBM!
Too bad that there isn't any creative new theme, but who cares? Liquid is all you need for fancy stuff. ;)
I still think a "non-fancy" style is missing (the KDE default looks too much like "plastique" and not very good), but I'm perfectly happy with Liquid.

by Spark (not verified)


by puelly (not verified)

I must commend the guys that took part in this competition but I am sorry to say that they are not up to par. I was fired u and ready to install these winning themes but after seeing screenshots, I was influenced otherwise. Maybe is because they are sytle themes as opposed to widget themes. The kde community has, in my opinion, preferred the widget themes. I do agree with the guys that are proposing a '' The prolonged "update" period of is hampering the creativity of many of our KDE theme artists.

Where do I sign up for such a undertaking?

My 2 cents.

by Vadim Plessky (not verified)

Complementary widget theme (to my Egypt Office) was submitted to IBM KDE Theme Contest. Ask people who were orginizing contest why they haven't used it.
Wanna better choice, than 3 winners?
Check my themes (VadimThemes-0.2) on In addition to Window Decoration themes, you will find widget styles, too! :-)
URL: entry
Thanks in advance for comments. :))

Vadim Plessky

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

:: Check my themes (VadimThemes-0.2) on

Just out of curiosity, why are all the image links broken on your homepage? I went to go check out any new screenshots, and all I get is that annoying "broken image" icon.


by Vadim Plessky (not verified)

> Just out of curiosity, why are all the image links broken on your homepage? > I went to go check out any new screenshots, and all I get is that annoying > > "broken image" icon.

Provider deleted all contest while I was out of city :((#$%^
Besides, they changed their FTP server, so Konq doesn't login to it anymore.
So, I just could not upload 400 files "file by file", via "put" in console.
Tired after 35 files...

Please use ( until I restired everyhing.
There are screenshots on it as well, together with tarball.



by Vadim Plessky (not verified)


I uploaded themes and pictures (screenshots) on, again.
Please revisit site.

P.S. I am also going to make good screenshot for Egypt Ofice theme, and make it available to public (together with widget theme)
Obviously, I was waiting for IBM to release contest results, and I just couldn't make it public before (Contest' rules...)


by Indigo (not verified)

If this is was themes are like in Linux/KDE, i'm really thankful to have my beautiufl Mac OS X to go back to!

Whats up with those themes? Their look horible! Where's the individuality? The most the themes do is change some colors. Part of the blame goes to the KDE project itself for not having a theming architecture that can support revolutionary new themes and UI ideas.

by Cullmann Christoph (not verified)

KDE (and Qt) has a rich theming engine, as long as you create your own widget themes but even with the normal (and mostly slower) pixmap theming you can archive much better results than in this contest (no flaming, just reality, but I am a bad designer, too ;).
The theming contest wasn't what I thought of, but thats not the fault of the KDE architecture or of the winners of the contest.
Thanks to IBM for supporting the OpenSource community with money and work and thanks to all people who has taken part in the contest.

by Indigo (not verified)

But still, most of the themes I see on are just change the single-tone color from that [ugly] light gray to a hidious green or something. How about, for example, some icons to go with the theme to give your desktop that overall make-over.

Same thing with the kicker/kpannel thing. You can only change the color from one mono-chrome color to another -- how plain.

You have to admit that even the GTK themes are better and more original than these KDE themes.

How about fades, shadows, transparenticies, and opaques in KDE? I know some of this foundation is dependent on support in X11 itself.