Feb 122009


Recently, I switched to using Gnome’s Evolution for my email and calendar groupware client on my Gentoo Linux workstation.  I encountered multiple problems that had to be worked.  One of the more noticeable and annoying problems was the messed up icons.  All of the button icons were pictures of blank paper with a red X in the middle, similar to a “file not found” icon.

Gnome Evolution with broken icons.

Apparently, this is a fairly common problem on new installs where people primarily use KDE and not Gnome.  Here is a collection of solutions that may help.


Do you have any gnome icons installed?  Make sure you have at least gnome-icon-theme and hicolor-icon-theme installed.  For Gentoo, this is performed, like so:

# emerge gnome-icon-theme hicolor-icon-theme

Do you have read access to the installed icons?  For whatever reason, the installed icons occasionally lose their read permission.  As root, or using sudo, you need to ensure the appropriate permissions, like so:

# chmod -Rf a+rX /usr/share/icons

Have you configured all your Gnome-based tools, including Evolution, to use an installed icon theme?  As your standard, desktop user (not root), check for the existence of this file:

$ cat ~/.gtkrc-2.0

If it does not exist, or if it does not specify an icon theme, you need to add one, like so:

$ echo gtk-icon-theme-name=\"gnome\" >> ~/.gtkrc-2.0

Restart your Evolution email client and enjoy your pretty icons!  Red X’s be gone!!!  🙂


Gnome Evolution with proper icons