Tango Desktop Project

From Tango Desktop Project
Revision as of 23:30, 18 March 2005 by Dobey (talk) (Moved Icon Spec page to "Standard Icon Naming Specification")

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Tango aims to create a consistent user experience for the Linux desktop.

Let's just face it: There is no single programming toolkit to rule the free desktop. We have several popular applications, each using a different toolkit: Mozilla, Evolution, the Gimp, Konqueror... In real life this means there are several toolkits being used on the desktop, no matter how much we'd love to have our own favorite one to be used by everyone. This creates inconsistent look and feel, lack of integration, and a poor desktop experience. In other words: this hurts the user!

FreeDesktop.org has created much of the programming infrastructure for different toolkits and desktops to work together - we have standards for Drag and Drop protocol, icon themes and other common things, so different software can work together. This is all good.

Now it's time to define a common visual style for the Free Desktop.

We are a group of free desktop engineers, artists and user interaction designers, and we want you to join our effort to create a "Native Linux Look and Feel".

This website is a call for participation for interested contributors from Gnome, KDE, and other free and open source projects. We invite anyone working on free software projects to follow the specifications defined here, as well as on FreeDesktop.org, or to contribute to them, to improve their applications on the desktop.

Feel free to check out the different sections below to get an idea what this is about, and how you can partcipate.



We've been working to define standards that can be used across all Linux desktops. Adoption and adherence to these standards is an important step in creating a unified Linux desktop.

  • Cross Desktop Theming Mechanism in order for the Tango project to be succesful across desktops, it follows logically that we need a cross-desktop theming specification.


These documents, which are works in progress, are designed to provide developers and artists with helpful suggestions for ensuring that their work is consistent with the direction of the Tango project.

  • Humane Interface Guidelines - a much simplified set of guidelines, based on the GNOME HIG and the KDE HIG, which provide developers with a simple and easy-to-use reference guide for creating usable applications.


These documents describe various methodologies that we will use to ensure that we are creating high quality, usable work.

  • Heuristic Evaluation - a list of the principles of good design that every icon, application and desktop component should be measured against to determine if it is of acceptable quality
  • Usability Testing - one of the best ways for us to make good design decisions is to incorporate usability testing into the software development process. This section discusses how basic usability testing can be done by the Free Software community, and what its merits are.

Other Content

  • Tango Icon Library - a joint effort by the best artists in the free software community. We are people from Gnome, KDE and Mozilla projects who want to create a unified default toolbox of icons for all free software projects to use.
  • Licensing - a base goal of this project is to enrich the world of Free Software by ensuring that our efforts are licensed as freely as possible. A proposed licensing scheme for tango is discussed with this section.