Sam Hewitt has a very nuanced post on the challenge of customization with desktops, specifically GNOME. The ability to customize makes it hard for software designers to know how things will render. So less customization options makes their life much easier. But the ability to customize it what draws many of us to Linux. He ends on a fair thought:
I would rather see GNOME evolve as a platform and become a little less developer-hostile by dropping support for third-party themes, than stagnate. Doing so would also bring us in line with the how the major (successful) platforms maintain a consistent look and feel and consider app developers’ control over their apps and their rights to their brand identities.
That said, I doubt such a hardline position will be widely warmly received, but I would like to see a more closed approach to look and feel. Though, perhaps actually building some sort of framework that allows for custom stylesheets (so that downstreams can have their unique visual identities) that doesn’t involve totally overriding the one at the toolkit level would be the best solution.
Moving Beyond Themes | Sam Hewitt