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Theming the Iliad

Icon locations -- Drawing -- An icon set -- The cursor

One of the main advantages of the Iliad over competing e-book readers is its ability to display 16 grey levels. But the icons provided by iRex do nothing to show that off. They are basically white-on-black line art that was not even drawn at the right size but scaled so that some of the edges are fuzzy. Reason enough to replace them by something nicer.

Locations of icons and images

The icons and images used by the content lister, which can probably count as the "desktop" of the Iliad, are located at /usr/share/contentlister. Some icons which are used only in the top menu ("Device Manager") are located in the folders representing their entries in /usr/share/contentlister/mode/<language>/ (see here for more on the Device Manager menu).

The content lister uses some images as a frame or background for text or icons. Titlebar_black.png is the background for the white text in the title line, Contentbar_grey.png for the directory entries listed, and Iconbar.png is the black rounded rectangle to their left onto which icons are superimposed.

The icons associated with specific file types have names starting with Icon_ and are located in the contentlister directory. Their file associations are determined by extensionInfo tags in /mnt/settings/registry/registry.xml (see here). The default associations between file type and icon are as follows:

Icon File type
Icon_books.png PDF, EBA, ApabiMobi
Icon_newspapers.png HTML, XHTML
Icon_documents.png Plain text
Icon_mobipocket.png Mobipocket
Icon_photos.png JPG
Icon_notes.png PNG, BMP
Icon_mp3.png MP3
Icon_misc.png Slide show (?)
Icon_magazines.png ?

Icons and images used by other applications are stored in directories beside the one for the content lister. As they are in PNG format, you can get a list with the command

find /usr/share -name \*.png

Creating images for the Iliad

A few things to remember when drawing:

An alternative icon set

So, as I didn't care much for the preinstalled icons, I have sat down with the GIMP and created a set of new icons from scratch. Their artistic merit may be debatable, but at least they use a few shades of grey which demonstrate the Iliad's capabilities. They are drawn on a white background, so the "icon bar" has been changed to a white rectangle.

Here is an overview of the new icons (reduced in size):

Download new icon theme in gzipped tar archive

The icons and other images are © 2010 Volker Schatz and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License .

The icon Icon_books.png is also meant to be used for Icon_mobipocket.png, and Icon_newspapers.png for Icon_magazines.png. In order to use the entirely new shell script icon, you have to insert the following code into /mnt/settings/registry/registry.xml at the XML path extensionInfos/:


I am going to put up some example photos soon, and I intend to create a shell script installer, but for now you have to copy them to /usr/share/contentlister and /usr/share/contentlister/mode/<language>/<subdir> by hand.

The cursor

The shape of the cursor, the rounded vertical bar to the left of content lister entries, is something I have not managed to change. Though there is a cursor.png in the icon directory, it seems to be used only when the complete content page is drawn for the first time. When the cursor is moved, it is redrawn from some other source, probably hard-coded into the content lister. Though there is an additional binary file cursor.bin in the icon directory which looks like a 4-bits-per-pixel bitmap, replacing it has no effect.