A quick poll on whether Roon should include a theme editor

I’ll say I think it depends.

Sure, if it’s easy & cheap and doesn’t add cost to / slow future development, then sure. Few features that parametrize appearance meet that bar. But sure, if it did and it was a priority for enough users (Not forum members, but users) then sure. It’s not on my priority list - I liked the way 1.7 looked, I like the way 1.8 looks, and I bet I’ll like how 1.9 looks too, so long as it does what I want it to. I get it’s a priority for some other folks… just all depends on the opportunity cost of current & future development.


if not a theme editor… they should at least supply you with some color or colorless choices in the app. Not everyone likes ultra black, super white, or purple.


I must say that I empathize with roon…

[TLDR] We are a bunch of prima donnas…

I have several friends who are luthiers, and a pretty common piece of advice is “don’t make classical / flamenco guitars”. Or if you do “charge 4 times as much for them”. Why? Because you’ll end up making it 4 times over. Classical guitarists have a sound in their head and expect the instrument to match that precise sound. Now the argument for that is “I’m the customer…” but you’re dealing with organic materials. Living things, and things that age. The second issue is psychoacoustics - guitars, like audio cables, apparently sound better than one another. Some makers do pretty well out of classical guitars but that’s in part because of their name. Of course their instruments are great… they have their name on them.

Over on the forums we have a group of people who argue about MQA. Argue about whether an ethernet cable is better than another. We are a forum of classical guitarists.

So too with the themes. The idea of a theme editor? Not sure - it sounds like a fair bit of development effort. And from what I see on the forum if they decided to not allow you to modify the signal path, it would be unforgivable. Grounds to “never use the product again”. It started off with changing colours. Now we have changing fonts. And I’ve seen people say we should be able to change the icons as well. So no matter now much or little of the theme roon allowed us to edit - it would be wrong. And then the whole other side of “roon 1.9 is a (insert hyperbole here)…” threads that will ensue. Because they spent all their time putting “lipstick on a pig. It sounds terrible. I want my money back. What a bunch of idiots…”

So I’d go for the light touch. Not get involved in a theme editor. But make it easy for folks to upload aspects of the theme (if it was low touch development). The idea of a site of themes? Could work. Maybe roon doesn’t operate it and they stick to their core efforts - if they moderate the themes then we will have arguments over why my theme wasn’t accepted. The alternative though - my fear - is that this turns into the linux desktop themes websites (gnome-look etc). There are a ton of themes there and they are pretty universally horrid. It is hard to find anything decent easily.

And Linux forums… another place to find strong opinions stated as fact. So, I feel for the roon guys. Maybe give us enough so we can’t be too dangerous, and then toss the ball over into our court on the themes side of things. If you want to make your roon remote look like a technocolour yawn, go right ahead, but don’t blame us.

And no, you can’t change the icons. Live with it. (Yes, technically you can, but I think doing that should be going into a whole realm of “ok, you’re now outside of our license agreement”)


Yep, all things considered I think that would probably be the path of least resistance, for users, and Roon. I’d like to see a bit more love given to the current way themes are implemented (there’s not quite enough fine scale control, i.e. some parameters control too many elements, and some seem to have no effect at all), but I’m not too bothered if Roon have no interest in taking it any further. I would be unhappy if they removed this functionality entirely, but I’m hoping they’ll embrace this (in however a limited way) rather than reject it out of hand.

As for a website of themes: yes, it would probably end up full to the brim with painted pigs, but there’s no accounting for taste :wink:

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Totally agree. They could make the theme more granular (and give things better descriptions in the theme file) and they could take the theme outside of the .app package onto the core (I think this would be easier than taking out the package and keeping it on the desktop - where you’d have to start thinking about storing things in the libraries.

It keeps the roon side of things clean - and not 101 new settings in the app either - gives us enough to not be too dangerous (other than poor taste) and gives them enough deniability :smiley:

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There’s an interesting side discussion here, regarding form versus function. Clearly any theme is inherently functional, assuming you don’t do something stupid like set the body text to the same colour as the background, but the relationship between form and function can shift as you change a theme. For example, my impression of the stock theme is that it’s designed to point to various functional aspects of Roon. So the purple Recent Activity box shouts “Hey, look at me!”, as do other boxes on the main screen (e.g. Performing the Music of). Same on an artist page: ‘In their Prime’ and ‘Influence …’ share the same clashing colours. In each case the colour says “here’s a functional aspect of Roon”, “here’s another”, and so on. For new users that’s probably a good thing … from a functional point of view. In this use case the absence of any aesthetic subtlety serves the purpose of flagging/highlighting specific functions within the software.

However, no matter how you look at them, the stock themes are not subtle, and that’s probably enough to deter some people - new user or otherwise - but I think it’s also the case that people who are more familiar with Roon are probably more likely to find them objectionable. I’m speculating here, so maybe this is just me rather than anyone else, but as a long time user of Roon I really don’t need a big red (or purple) flag waved in my face to help me use the software. I know how to use it, and I use it a lot. As such I’d much prefer a subtle and soothing interface (on all my control points) than one that slaps me around the face each time I use it. Roon is not a pig, but 1.8 painted it to look like one :wink:

This. Nailed it.
The issue is much broader than themes, of course. But we have divas galore.

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It’s fairly obvious if we were able to tweak the UI, 1.8 would be receiving far more plaudits than criticisms.

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I’m not sure how much of the negativity is down to the appearance, rather than concerns about functionality and stability, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt if it looked better :slight_smile:

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Not sure… if we were able to tweak the UI, we would find something else to complain about. Heck as it is we can tweak the UI, and we are complaining about how we have to tweak it, what aspects we can tweak etc. If roon delivered something here, we would complain about what they allowed us to tweak or how we tweak it.

We do. And I include myself in that. Maybe it is appeals to certain characters. Like the classical guitarists (genuinely - charge 4x as much, you’ll make it 4 times over) unless it is from Spain in which case it is obviously a fantastic instrument. Or like Linux enthusiasts.

If I was sticking around the forums much longer maybe I’d change my name to Diva Non Pleeze.

3 things are certain in life. Death. Taxes. And criticism of roon.


I have to disagree. Lots of other software allows the user some control on looks and layout, and I don’t see any users complaining about that. If you like the default, fine, if you don’t adjust to suite. I don’t ever see that as a problem.


Allowing us to change the theme as a setting within Roon would definitely make many users have a more positive outlook of 1.8. Adding more features isn’t a negative thing, it is when features are removed that cause an upstir.