I have been working on a few applications in the last year but noticed that they look out of date compared to most new applications. The problem is that I have been using the Visual Studio icon set or leaving buttons and menu items without a graphic. Microsoft has been shipping the same sample icons since at least Visual Basic 3.0. Needless to say the state of art for icons and other computer images has advanced since 1993. As I personally have very little artistic skill I had to start looking for more modern looking graphics.
Considering I use FreeBSD quite a bit I, of course, started playing around the KDE and Gnome icons but ran into a license roadblock as those graphic elements are licensed under the GPL. The applications I am developing will be distributed under another license so I am precluded from using these particular icons. It does not appear particularly clear how one should go about licensing these images from the original authors under an alternate agreement. I wonder how this might make developing non-GPL software for Gnome and KDE which blends in nicely with the other applications within the environment. Some icons are licensed under LGPL but a lot are GPL.
After looking around for companies that sell icon sets for what I consider reasonable prices (somewhere less than $50), I found quite a bit of variation. In the end I bought a copy of Susan Pichotta’s Roma set (www.aceicons.com). The primary reason I chose to go with this particular set is that I looks reasonable and I know the artist through the ASP and AISIP. As I get further along I might have to see if Sue will be willing to create a few specific icons in the same style as the set but the new artwork has already helped spruce up the look of my applications.