http://invisible-island.net/vile/
Copyright © 2012,2013 by Thomas E. Dickey


Why does Vile have multiple icons?

Bear in mind that vile-development began as a committee. Icons reflect consensus.

Here is a timeline showing when the different icons were created:

1998-07-28
Replying to Peter Williams (off-list), I suggested a Jack O'Lantern for the icon:
> While this is plenty of ammunition for discussion, there's two other
> things that would help legitimize vile that occur to me: a real vile
> homepage and a vile graphic logo (I personally think the logo should
> look a trifle vile/evil). Maybe some solicitation for these items
> could be done on the vile-users list or
elsewhere?

I'm inclined toward a jack-o-lantern for a logo.
1998-09-02
Clark Morgan asked about icons:

I haven't have had the opportunity/need to run xvile for a number of years. But I'm curious. Does xvile have any custom icons that can be displayed by the various X window managers?

I ask because it's my opinion that winvile needs its own unique icon, which could certainly be borrowed from xvile (if existant).

1998-10-30
I created the first icon for vile, while working on the Win32 port. That was a Jack O'Lantern (the pumpkin). I had in mind the visual pun relating to the program's name, and (long ago) high school colors which were orange and black. The verbal pun on V-eyes is probably simpler for the reader of this FAQ.
1998-10-31
I added the icon to my source archives.
1998-11-01
I announced the icons on the mailing list as part of 8.2a, referring to the icon as V-eyes 'pumpkin'.
This provoked some discussion, and Rick Sladkey suggested the kitchen sink icon (from Emacs). I added that to the sources.
1999-02-12
Clark Morgan suggested that we might be able to reuse the icons in xvile, and that he had a preference for the kitchen sink icon.
Sean Ahern followed up, saying that he was using for xvile an icon depicting a hand holding a pen.
Paul Fox added that Julia had picked up on the hint of a pun and suggested a small glass beaker.
1999-02-17
I rephrased Paul's suggestion:
> so i asked julia what she would choose as an icon for vile (which she uses  
> regularly, btw).  
>   
> and she immediately grinned back with "i think a picture of a small  
> glass beaker would be good".  
 
hmm (vile/vial) 
    
but we did not pursue that very far.
1999-03-30
Rick Sladkey sent a new icon, which is the origin of the white-on-blue screenshot.
1999-04-04
Rick Sladkey's new icon appeared in 9.8r (checked-in on 1999-04-02).
1999-04-18
I used netpbm to translate the Windows icons to xbm and xpm format.
I also started making changes so that xvile could be built with any of the three icons in use.
1999-04-19
Rick Sladkey improved the "vile" icon by adding a 16x16 view:
Yes, I agree completely.  I have attached a version of my vile.ico 
that includes a 16x16 pixel icon which instead of merely stretching 
the 32x32 version further zooms in on the LLC (lower left corner). 
I considered focusing on the ":e" but two vertically stacked 
tildes looks pretty classy to me and is sufficiently esoteric to be 
appropriate.  Hey, it's hard to make a statement in 16x16... 
That is the "mini" icon, which I use as the default on my website. Brendan O'Dea also uses it in the Debian package for vile.

After this, icons were "done", not to be revisited for many years. In mid-2012, I translated the icons to SVG format (manually using inkscape, since there is no suitable mechanical process for vectorizing a low-resolution bitmap). The resulting SVG-icons can be easily scaled on import to gimp to generate PNG-files as shown in the contents section of my webpages. While there is some rework needed (the "sink" icon has poor contrast at low resolution), my intent is to preserve the overall effect of the April 1999 versions of the icons.

Incidentally, the day after I published my pumpkin-icon, Eric Raymond published his "Halloween Papers" webpage (on 1992-11-02). When I noticed that, I did examine his icon, and concluded that it was not a direct copy of my icon (though they were very similar). Call it coincidence.

144x144 Description
Vi Like Emacs – jack o'lantern icon jack o'lantern (V-eyes)
Vi Like Emacs – (everything but) the kitchen sink icon (everything but) the kitchen sink
Vi Like Emacs – conventional icon conventional
Vi Like Emacs – mini icon mini