Interview KPDF Icon Contest

Some time ago launched an icon contest where artists could submit an icon to be used for KPDF in the next KDE version. It seems the contest has now been prolonged. Curious about this icon contest I contacted the initiator Albert Astals Cid and some jury members to ask them some questions.

border:1px dotted #000;

border:1px dotted #000;

'kpdf icon'
by AndrewColes

'KPDF Cliche'
by DrFaustus

First of all because you guys are the jury, could you introduce yourself?

Enrico Ros: I'm Enrico Ros, hacking on KDE on spare time which is a fun and creative thing to do.
Now I'm involved in KPDF 'restyling' that means bringing it to a good level
or at least made it meet users expectations. As of now most of the frequently
requested features have been implemented (search, links, continuous mode,
centered pages, better zooming, faster thumbnail generation, ..).

Albert Astals Cid: I am a computer science student in Barcelona (Spain). I began translating KDE
to Catalan language on 2002. On 2003 I began fixing various small bugs of the KDE applications. I took over KPDF maintainership on late August 2004. I also like helping everywhere I can.

Kenneth Wimer: My name is Kenneth Wimer. I have worked in R&D at SUSE LINUX for more than 5 years taking care of screen graphics and usability, as well as the coordination and technical
aspects thereof. Working on KDE goes hand in hand with my daily work at

Frank Karlitschek: My name ist Frank Karlitschek.  I'm the guy behind,
and I also work in the KDE artwork team.
In the daytime I work as a director operations for a big internet agency.

Why are you trying to collect icons through an icon contest?

Enrico Ros: It's for sure a good way to collect bright ideas from the artists community at We're seeing good entries and some good concept art. Sometimes looking
at sketches can carry new ideas through the programmers and users mind too :-).

Albert Astals Cid: The current KPDF icon is not good. So I thought a contest was the only way to get a new icon given I don't have any artistic abilities.

Kenneth Wimer: This contest should spur interest in KDE as well as making it easier for
"newbies" to join the club :-) Many users are overwhelmed by the breadth
and complexity of the project at first but contests like this will help
to draw people to the project while offering them an easy way to start
contributing to KDE.

Frank Karlitschek: KDE is a community project. It is important for KDE to motivate users to
contribute to KDE. Together we can build the best desktop of the world. ;-)

by Quickly

Does the contest only apply to icons? Because we've seen a couple of submissions with a splashscreen as well.

Enrico Ros: It was meant to be an icon only contest but since we have seen such a good
response (we can count 29 submissions on KDE-Look and the contest isn't even over). We will try to use as many graphics as we can!
If we had and idea of the overall response we could have made the contest
rules more strict and asked to provide icons for program internals, so that
the whole new KPDF interface was themed too. Hopefully we can tackle this next time.

Albert Astals Cid: Currently KPDF starts so quickly I don't think a splash screen would be any

Kenneth Wimer: This specific contest is really only for an icon although
the design of the icon will most likely be used on a splash screen or for
the program in some way, so it doesn't hurt submitting extra graphics as

Frank Karlitschek: The contest is about icons. But help is needed in a lot of areas. Don't
hesitate to submit your work.

There are rules for submissions. One of them is that the source files are required to be in SVG or SVGZ. Why is that?

Enrico Ros: If the icon was generated from an SVG or other formats it's important to
have the source. It may happen that we need a custom sized icon, or a scalable image to blend somewhere in the page.
As for rating, if I have to choose from 2 good icons, one only available at
48x48px and the other as SVG, there is no doubt, I'll go for the second.

Albert Astals Cid: SVG is a vectorial graphics format, it means the image can be scaled to any
size without looking bad. Another rule is trying to be "Crystal compatible" that is because Crystal is the official KDE icon set.

Kenneth Wimer: Yes, there are definite rules. SVG (or SVGZ) must be included. Although
certain small icons still need to be prepared by hand we are striving towards a system in which all icons can be rendered
automatically from the SVG sources.

Frank Karlitschek: SVG is the icon format of the future. The plan is to switch all icon from png
to svg. All new icons should be SVG.

by dadeisvenm

Why are you concerned about the Adobe trademark issue as KDE mime for PDF uses the Adobe logo as well?

Albert Astals Cid: Quick answer: Just because Adobe did not sue Everaldo yet it does not mean
that they never will do it.

Longer answer: We think It is clearly different using the logo in a mimetype
than using it in an application. Using it in a mimetype just means "Hey, look
that is a PDF", that is not bad for Adobe by any means. Using it in an
application seems to mean "Hey look I am endorsed by Adobe" so it is clearly
bad for Adobe as KPDF is in direct competition with Acrobat Reader.

Enrico Ros: Apart from the legal issue, I'd like to highlight the fact that by forbidding to
use the Adobe stylized logo we enhance creativity. Take a look at new entries on and you'll see what I mean.
I think it's good to made it clear through the artwork that KPDF is more an 'Ebook Reader' than an 'Adobe Acrobat file Viewer'.

What do you think of the submissions so far?

Enrico Ros: The quality is high and it even has some peaks :-). I'm sure that when
Albert created the contest, he didn't expect such a high response rate. For me even 2-3 icons to choose from seemed
great, but now we have (wow) 29 entries.

Albert Astals Cid: I did not think we would get so many (29 at the moment) of them and I am happy
to be wrong.

Kenneth Wimer: The submissions are great! We are happily pleased to see such a
positive reaction to the contest. This proves that contests like this can work really well.

Frank Karlitschek: We have a lot of great submissions so far. But there is still a chance for new
submissions, of course.

by salahuddin66

Can you mention some particular submissions what you like or dislike about them?

Enrico Ros: Well, I won't name sets because the constest is still running, but I think
that some of them have a very good concept idea underlying the design. Others are done smoothly and they are great looking. All
the splash screens artworks are well done. Of course there is something I dislike, mainly because don't
blends well on desktop with default icon style. I must confess you that I have some entries I like so much, but it will be really hard to decide.

Albert Astals Cid: I reserve my comments for now :D

Kenneth Wimer: The two icons that caught my eye are KPDF Pack and
Bookish. The first fits very well into the crystal theme and the second
contains a visual metaphor which explains the functionality of the
program well although there are other entries which are very good and
might appeal more to the other jury members :-)

by meNGele

So when does the contest close now?

Albert Astals Cid: 15th of October at 12:00 CEST (mid day in Central European Standard Time). Also check the announcement at

In which KDE release can we expect this new icon to be used?

Albert Astals Cid: We missed KDE 3.3.1 so it will not be in it :-D
Probably it is going into KDE 3.4, as introducing a new icon in the middle of
a x.y.Z release could confuse our users.

Enrico Ros: I'll import the icon in the "kpdf_experiments" branch (where the new and
powerful KPDF is growing) as soon as we have a winner, but for HEAD it will have to wait a bit longer. If the icon is
imported into HEAD you'll see it maybe already on KDE 3.3.2.

Dot Categories: 


by Birdy (not verified)

This is no disappointment. I'm pleased to see the KDE support (for me). And I'm sure GNOME users are glad to see GNOME being also supported.
I would only be disppointed if there would be only GNOME support. The same would be the case in the other way round I guess. So SuSE did a pretty good job here.

by Torsten Rahn (not verified)

> What's about comercial applications? They seem
> mostly to be written with GTK.

I doubt this. I'm not aware of too many major commercial applications. Especially not of commercial applications that you could build a business plan upon.

> Scribus is one of the rare KDE/Qt applications
> I'd count as a important/major KDE independent one.
> K3B is still bound near to KDE. Having

Have a look at and linuxtoday. During the last months or year the amount of applications that were developed for KDE exceeds Gtk-applications by a factor of 2-3.

> Is the Qt license the only reason for comanies
> to choose GTK instead of Qt?

The commercial support and the high quality of Qt is the reason why there are so many commercial applications.

by Boudewijn Rempt (not verified)

vmware is one commercial application that used to be Motif but is GTK now.

by Anonymous (not verified)

> currently supports Novel Groupware (the upcoming Kopete does as well, but it's not out in a release yet)

FYI, the Kopete version on SUSE 9.2 supports Novell Groupwise.

by Derek Kite (not verified)

Suse is walking a fine line.

They need to put out a product that works now, which dictates certain choices. Other than that, they have the Ximian developers that would probably leave if none of their work was used, and the Suse Kde developers who would do the same thing.

Give it some time. Novell has some case histories to learn from (Redhat who essentially got out of the commercial desktop) SUN who is having real trouble getting anyone to believe, IBM, SUSE who build a successful desktop business and UnitedLinux. Free software developers are a notoriously crotchety bunch, and it seems Suse is trying to keep most people happy because they know who holds the reins of power.

If Novell wants to distribute free software, they need people to write it for them (and others). They seem to be figuring out that they better not piss off a large portion of the developers they depend on. It would be nice if it was all Kde all the way, but that isn't realistic.

I must say that this development is the most interesting I've ever seen in the history of the computer business.


by David (not verified)

Ximian produce some shitty screenshots that would make any corporate worker blow their brains out, and produce a very spartan guide that puts KDE in the worst possible light - and people think it's all Gnome. Par for the course.

Suse 9.2 is the NLD as far as I'm concerned.

by kwwii (not verified)

The information shown on the page mentioned is out of date and in the meantime incorrect/incomplete. It was not meant to be put online in this state. This will either be removed or corrected in the near future.

And to ease the doubts it will be Kopete and Kontact in KDE not Evo and GAIM

by Birdy (not verified)

If this is correct: Yipee!
Kaffeine instead of Totem too, and SuSE did it the correct way I'd say.

by KDE User (not verified)

Icons are great but will peaople be using apps like KPDF? It's a great app but looking at the new Suse 9.1 it seems like they're taking away more and more of KDE. There's no Kontact, but novell evolutoin etc. Will KPDF even be there in the future? (is it now??)

by David (not verified)

What the hell's Suse and Novell got to do with KDE applications?

by John KDE Freak (not verified)

WTF? "New SuSE 9.1"?? Lol! How can you expect anyone to take you seriously?

by wygiwyg (not verified)

I thought this would be a discussion about the icons for Kpdf. Before you post something please read 'Important stuff' at the bottom of the page:

- Please try to keep posts on topic.
- Please do not post offtopic .... comments. Repeat offenders will be sanctioned.


This is not the place for posts about Novell, Gnome & SuSE.