Gtk4? (also how to easily classify compatible desktops and versions)


Any plans on introducing GTK-4.0 as a new category in the GTK-department? I know it is still early. But once it is available, it would be nice to have the category already there.


Hi paulxfce,

sure, that would be mainly GTK4 Themes and anything else?


Well, basically gtk-3.0 themes will eventually be added to the gtk-4.0 themes. As a themer one has to supply both gtk4 and gtk3 versions in one file, much as gtk2 is supplied with gtk3 nowadays.

But to differentiate, I think it is good to have a gtk4 -themes-category.


Good thought, it is better then to allow use multi-tagging for GTK version and also Gnome Version 40+ and higher if 40+ compatible for Gnome shell themes in the future.

Those tags can be added per file and are multi-select, so either files are split or as you mentioned gtk3 and gtk4 compatble theme is inside one archive.

People can then filter or search by tag.

Let’s see if that is sufficient, if not we can expand on it.


There is one issue I would like to add: the themes I make are generally only for the gnome DE, not for other DE’s. Yet the gtk3 category is also visible on XFCE-look. And thus users complain, because they do not work. Supporting every DE is a tedious and forever-going undertaking, and now with gtk2, gt3, and gtk4 it becomes impossible to maintain. It would be nice that users can see at a glance what is supported. Tagging could help. But it should be more ‘visible’ . Although I always mention the limitations in the description area, I get the feeling not many people actually read it…

What are your thoughts on this?


Yes, I totaly agree with Paul.
It’s even counterproductive and unpleasant to have to tell a user that what he asks (“please make a Cinnamon version too” today in the comments of one of my themes) won’t be done because the theme is only for Gnome / GTK3 .
The DE version for a theme should therefore be much more visible.


I would like to add the fact that most themes have a matching gnome-shell theme added to the gtk-theme. And not separatedly made available. Should we then add the matching shells as a separate download together in the same download area of the gtk-theme? Because now we do not. Or make it totally independent in the gnome-shell category?


Yes, with Xfce, Mate, Cinnamon, etc. it is a bit more complex.

We can make tags more visible and add multidropdown selection boxes for matching DEs.

In the end though the data is only as good as people are willing to provide and add data and themes correctly, so lets start with making it more precise for Gnome/ GTK-verisons and see. If data gets better over time, filtering is easy and can result in quicker overview of what is compatible with what DE and what GTK version.

Any suggestions to what DE’s GTK 3/4 theme files could apply?
If they can be split into different files at least it is advisble to do so under 1 product.


True, it is the up to the developer to be correct in what he puts on offer. But perhaps you can make it mandatory? So, for example when he offers files in the download-page, he should explicitly select (in a pop-up-selection menu) for which DE the file is usable. In the pop-up you can offer a selection of DE’s and gtk-version.

The developer could then also be able to offer different support-themes according to the DE and GTK-version, because the ‘pop-up’ for each file would make it easier.

So, something like this popup:


The end-user should then be able to see (in the download-page) for which DE the file is intended. By, for example, adding tags to the files-description of the file. So there is no discussion afterwards.

In fact - in this way - you could drop the number of sections for each gtk to just one: GTK. (no gtk 2.0 or GTK3.0 or GTK-4.0, just GTK) And it offers a solution to the mess the situation is likely to get, when themes become more and more divers in the way they support different DE’s.

Even now it is becoming impossible to make ‘one’ general theme that works in every possible scenario. In fact, I, myself, hesitate to continue support for DE’s other than the the gnome-DE. Simply because theming is easiest and offers more possibilities on a pure gnome-desktop.

In addition, it is going to be a very bumpy ride for themers with GTK-4.0. Simply because there is no manual, no guide, in fact nothing at all to help us getting our act together. At this point there is no way to prepare, so it will likely take a longer time to see what is themable in GTK-4.0. Unfortunately we are still considered to be ‘hackers’. And thus are left in the cold.


Good idea. We added two dropdown selection boxes very similar to those you shown above for files uploaded in “GTK3/GTK4 themes”.

It is not manadatory, but you can select one or multiple entries. If creators start using those selection boxes for file uploads, we can display and filter them automatically next.


Are there also Dash-to-Dock themes seperate, so would a category for those make sense?


Dash-to-dock is an extension. And takes its cues from the normal code of the gnome-shell. Next, in the settings of Dash-to-dock you can customize some parts of it, but not everything. You can not separate the code to single out for dash-to-dock . So, basically, you have nothing to offer. There is no customized ‘file’, so to answer your question: No…
Next, I have no idea - at this point- if the extension will work with gnome 40. The developers will have to adapt the extension to make it compatible again.


To all that have implemented (so fast!) the idea’s I suggested: many thanks!
But it couldn’t hurt making it more public… Like, make an announcement of some kind?

Again, many thanks !



Since there are some more points missing, like frontend visibility here and there, let’s give it a few weeks, see what happens and how people pick it up so far when they see it. Then we can make an announcement when there is actually some stuff already there and showcase how it works. Also Gnome 40 isn’t officially released yet?



But GTK-developers can already adjust the existing uploads with the new dropdown options. This is what I have just did with one of my themes.

So, making this little fact known to the public would make a lot of difference for us themers.

Anyhow, whatever you decide, many thanks. I will start adjusting my existing themes accordingly.



Me again,

Btw, when I tested the uploading, I found out that uploading a file, and than removing it before saving the changes, my theme suddenly got to the top of the ranking. This was not my intention. But it does point out a flaw that could be abused…


thats a small flaw, of course someone can add a file and also remove it a minute later. If someone wants to cheat it is not 100% possible to prevent, but anyone likely can spot this by looking at the files then and if no file is actually new and it happens all the time for the same theme, it will be obvious. People can just repackage their file and upload again, etc. Way too many holes to fix them with programming against it, so at some point it is manual following things and in some cases that are obvious simply removing the product or whole user with all their products.


Anyone who knows which distribution has already gtk4?


Debian experimental has it in an installable form if you track testing+unstable+experimental, and bits are coming through into unstable and testing. I don’t want to risk installing it on my apt-pinned testing base because it’ll pull in experimental pango as well, and I value systems that don’t explode too much in use.


Did now install fedora 34 on virtualbox. It has gtk 4.1 .