JWM Theme: eye-insulin

With more reviews focused on default themes as reasons to use or not use certain distros, I decided to see if there’s some way to get some kind of transparency-like effect in jwm. The only way I can do that is to match the desktop background color with the window decoration background color. I also wanted to see if I could get a more console-like appearance in jwm, just to see what that would look like. I would submit this for DSL’s upcoming tiny core but I don’t think this idea would go over well even though it reduces use of resources.

I initially went with a flat four color theme: black, green (for active), red (for inactive), and yellow (for defaults without active/inactive settings). The only exception was in the menu because I wanted yellow as its default. I’d post the actual theme but I just told you what it is. For the record, I don’t have my tray set up with a menu button because I primarily use dwm and, in jwm I also use keybindings (and dmenu) to launch apps. That’s why my tray looks like that.

This is the first attempt. Click for full 800×600 (these are small enough that I left them full scale).

I could see right away I needed to more clearly differentiate the pager (far left) and the task list. So I changed those just a bit and used some yellow in it as well. This is the second try.

I only switched colors for active so green is the background instead of foreground and used colors for the tray to designate active and inactive. In the last shot, the first virtual desktop is blacked out because my aterm setting is full screen (and black is inactive).

I know it’s not eye candy; it’s more like insulin. It’s an antidote for clutter. It’s the solution to worrying more about appearances than to actually using your computer to get stuff done.

It looks better (or should I say more console-like? I think that looks better than  wallpaper in many cases) with the tray on autohide, but that’s my opinion. The only changes I’d consider making would be switching the default/inactive colors on the menu so it’s not black on black while it’s against the background. Maybe yellow on red and the active set to green on black? I don’t know if it would hurt or help my “mock transparency” to add a darker grey (grey22?) in the gradient for the title bars. I really don’t care.

I’m resigned that most people won’t care for this kind of look or appreciate its simplicity when so many distros put more emphasis on appearances, transparency, etc., over stability and even long term support. The sad part about that is, it uses up resources without much benefit other than an “improvement” to aesthetics (which is very subjective). This is the only approach we can take with jwm to get a transparency-like effect with the window decorations, but it won’t matter to users and reviewers whose demands include being able to see bits of 500kb wallpaper through the decorations and menus. Most reviews are — and will continue to be — little more than “beauty contests” rather than reviews of distros for their merits, stability, security, strengths, weaknesses, quirks, etc.

EDIT: I set up my dwm config.h with the same kind of color scheme. (My background was already black.)
EDIT2: And here’s how my gtk theme looks (it’s still a work in progress) to match this whole austere look.
EDIT3: I lightened up the backgrounds of the dwm bar. Note from pasting in commands (in vim, :r! ssh -V) that SSL has been updated to fix two vulnerabilities. Much more on this tomorrow or Sunday (always recompile OpenSSH against the new OpenSSL if you update SSL). Also, note that vim 7.1 has now crossed over the 300 patch level this week. I’ll also have more about this shortly.

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