The Recent App Center Icon in Ubuntu Revealed as a Bug

About a week ago I noticed that the default icon for App Center (the Flutter-based software store-front that replaced Ubuntu Software in 23.10) had changed — and not for the better!

At first I assumed it was an intentional change, but a snafu caused by me (I was playing with display scaling options when I noticed the icon in the dock had suddenly changed).

But it turns out the change wasn’t a “caused by me” thing — for once!

As App Center is a snap (snap-store ) it gets updated in automatically in the background. An update rolled out that included a new icon, which you can see below. It still uses the shopping bag motif but is 2D, one colour, and has transparent elements, more akin to a symbolic icon than a proper one:

Harbinger of an upcoming icon redesign? Mercifully not!

Design is subjective. I know that. You know that. What looks good to me might look awful to you, and vice versa. I don’t claim to be a master of design (have you seen some of my article thumbnails?), nor an a-grade arbitrator of taste.

Plus, Ubuntu has pushed out individual icon changes in the past (though not all of those revamps have been universally… I’ll choose to use the word “understood” 😅).

Anyway, icons are just icons: they don’t impact functionality or what you can do with Ubuntu (though on some level a bad icon can make it harder to discern what you can do hence why design is an entire industry and bad design can tank a product).

App Center isn’t affected by its new icon, but I am

And yet this ‘new’ App Center icon was bugging me! It’s totally unlike the rest of the Yaru icon set. I wondered if its gratuitous odd-ness was a harbinger of an icon revamp in the pipeline or, if it wasn’t, whether anyone else found the glyph gross enough to file a bug about it.

I didn’t get as far as looking at bugs, though.

On Github project pages the most recent commit is displayed near the top of the main page. When I visited the App Center Github page I didn’t need to click on a tab: the words “icon fix” were staring at me.

Not gonna lie: I audibly sighed in relief! ❤️

AI-powered generative fill is clearly amazing…

It turns out that update to App Centerpossibly made late last year though as the ‘new’ icon only recently appeared to me I can’t commit (😉) to saying that — included a hardcoded icon (the one you see above) to ensure those using non-Yaru icon packs see an icon at all.

However, and I don’t know how or why, the hardcoded flat icon ended up becoming the default icon in Ubuntu, which is why it suddenly appeared in the Ubuntu Dock when the update (belatedly, it seems) hit my 23.10 install.

A “fix” has been committed. The correct icon is being restored. Look forward to notice it returning the next time the app gets an update in the background. In my case, this will occur 2 months after everyone else experiences it.

Aesthetic irregularities, inappropriate icons, or whatever else this situation may be referred to – gestures broadly at the above discussion – are not disastrous, but they come across as a little careless, particularly if they appear to be unintentional.

I am eager for the return of the appropriate icon and for the complete restoration of the consistent theme we’ve come to associate with Ubuntu.



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