Articles / Welcome to the New Themes.o…

Welcome to the New has become part of freshmeat today. I'd like to share a short history of the site and explain the reasons behind the decision to do this. was started in 1997 by Earthlink support tech Trae "Octobrx" McCombs, who had a burning need to "make X look purty". It quickly became the premier place on the Internet to get themes and skins for Open Source window managers and programs. In early 1999, Trae came to work for VA Research (now VA Software) and was tapped to take over site management of the domain. was officially made part of VA Research at that time.

Less than a year later, VA purchased (now OSDN), which brought, SourceForge,, Slashdot, freshmeat, Thinkgeek, and others under one roof.

Greg "KFC" Sanders was then tapped to run Under Greg's tutelage, it grew to approximately 12,000 themes, and we experienced a number of important firsts, including the greatest number of daily visitors and the largest number of cease-and-desist letters (an unfortunate measure of popularity nowadays).

Unfortunately, was hacked pretty badly in late 2000, causing it to be taken down and rewritten. This occurred during a time of great upheaval for the corporate parent and a major retrenchment of resources. During this time, lay fallow and poorly administered.

scoop, Hemos, and myself, tired of its sad state, decided to put some spare time into the rehabilitation of the site. A major problem was that the code bases for Themes were insecure, and we were faced with maintaining yet another codebase within the company. After a period of evaluating whether or not we had to have a custom interface and codebase, we rolled most of the old content into freshmeat. We decided to do this because freshmeat has all the features one needs to access the data in a secure, expedient way. It supports screenshots, has an effective cataloging system, and has the personnel to handle the extra load. You can view just the themes at

Since it is our intention to only distribute themes under OSI-approved licenses, most of those listed as "Not for commercial use" (which contained images belonging to others) were removed. If we expect people to respect the GPL, we must also respect them.

Over the years, a great number of Open Source community members have volunteered their time to the creation of this site and the themes it contains. served them very well for the majority of its life, and it is our goal to make it a place to be proud of yet again. If you have any questions, feel free to post them here or email us. Enjoy the themes, and go make X purty!

Editor's note

Chris, Liedra, and Ray have been working hard at importing and editing the theme descriptions. By the time they appear on the news page, they should be acceptable, but when you go past the front page and poke around the collection, you'll find that we've only processed about 25% of them. We'd like your help with working through the rest. Here's what you can do to help:

Take ownership of your themes

When we made the switch to fm][, we introduced project ownership. All the projects were initially owned by "N/A", and authors needed to claim ownership of them. The same is true now. Please find your themes and click the "change owner" links in the "[Project]" menus to associate them with your freshmeat user account. While you're there, make sure all the information about your themes (categories, etc.) is correct. Make sure we have the most recent version of your theme. In the themes section (unlike our software projects section), we host themes, so you can use the "add release" function to upload your most recent tarball.

Note that only the themes from the database of "Classic" were imported into freshmeat. If yours was one of the 200-odd themes that were part of after it was relaunched after the hack, please submit it to us as a new theme.

Fix the descriptions

Many of the descriptions of themes contain spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Some were too long for our database fields and have been truncated. Others are simply uninformative. We're going through these as fast as we can, but there's a boatload of them. If you have time, you can help us by submitting changes for problems you see. When you come across a bad description, click the "update project" link. There are two descriptions for each theme. The long description is used on the theme's individual page, and the short description is used for search results and category browsing pages.

You can find our general policies about style in this article. The particular rules for descriptions are:

Short description
The short description should be a complete phrase, but not a complete sentence. In other words, it should be "A theme featuring cows.", not "This is a theme featuring cows.". It should not include the theme's name. It should end with a period.
Long description
The long description should contain full sentences. It must include the theme's name, usually as one of the first words in the description.

All the general guidelines apply; don't refer to the author as "I", don't use HTML, don't duplicate information already in other database fields (such as license information), etc.

Here are some examples:

Theme Description Wrong Right
BlueSteel Short A theme I made from modifying my Steel Orange theme. I recolored all the buttons A theme based on Steel Orange.
Long A theme I made from modifying my Steel Orange theme. I recolored all the buttons/title bars/tiles, it is also using background from Propaganda Volume 12. I am also using the BlueSteel gtk theme, and TopazAmp xmms skin. Last Update Comment: - New font. - All around frames. - Other stuff. BlueSteel is a modified version of the author's Steel Orange theme. It recolors all the buttons, title bars, and tiles. It uses a background from Propaganda Volume 12, the BlueSteel GTK theme, and the TopazAmp XMMS skin.
UnixOS Short My first theme. Features Tux, The FreeBSD daemon and Java's Duke, and A great b A theme featuring Tux, the FreeBSD daemon, and Duke.
Long My first theme. Features Tux, The FreeBSD daemon and Java's Duke, and A great background from propaganda. UnixOS features Tux, the FreeBSD daemon and Java's Duke. It uses a background from propaganda.
Water Short Theme Name : Water Author : Amy R. Dawson ( Description : A calm water scene at night.
Long Theme Name : Water Author : Amy R. Dawson ( Description : calm water scene at night. Copyright : images made by myself with Bryce3D Web Site : Water features a calm water scene at night.

Be patient

Please be extra patient with us for the first few days; we'll have a large backlog of work to process as people flood us with change requests. We'll get to yours as quickly as we can.

Thanks for your support. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions about the site.

Recent comments

25 Jun 2002 07:00 Avatar jeffcovey

Re: wallpaper catagory?

> what kind of wallpaper can we find in this catagory?

What kind of comments can we find under this article?

25 Jun 2002 02:10 Avatar kisses

Re: wallpaper catagory?
what kind of wallpaper can we find in this catagory?

25 Jun 2002 02:06 Avatar kisses

Re: wallpaper catagory?
what can we find in this catagory?

17 Jun 2002 15:41 Avatar jeffcovey

Re: Posting new Themes

1. How long did it take you to come up with the theory that posting a
comment here would do more to help you than going to
and writing to the people who can actually do something for you?

2. How much help do you expect when your entire bug report is that you
got "an error message"?

16 Jun 2002 19:13 Avatar angles

"Poorly Ported" pack of themes to GTK2
I hacked the following GTK1.2 themes just enough to get them working in pre-release versions of Gnome2 (GTK2). For my own use I put them in a RPM package. My question is can I submit this to FM themes or does it insult the authors to see hacked versions of their work.

The readme clearly says:

Package currently includes:
Adept-Premier-x2, AdeptX-y2, Aphex-blue-x2, Aphex-x2, AquaGraphite-x2, AquaLightBlue-x2, AquaX-gtk-2-x2, Balloon-x2, Bumblebee-x2, Dark-x2, Emotion-Sickness-x2,, H2O_Amber-x2, H2O_Amythist-x2, H2O_Emerald-x2, H2O_Ruby-x2, H2O_Saphire-x2, LCARS-x2, Metallic_plum-x2, Mozilla-modern-2-x2, Mozilla-modern-x2, Origami-x2, PastelFlat-z2. The last 3 chars have meaning described in the pack's readme file.

Anyone know it I can submit the pack?


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