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Eldacur LeitMotif for Kaleidoscope

Eldacur LeitMotif is a Kaleidoscope color scheme for the Macintosh. Kaleidoscope is a Macintosh extension, developed by Greg Landweber, which allows you to change the appearance of windows and icons on your Macintosh. While Kaleidoscope can change the colors, decorations and even the shape of windows as well as the icons used for the folders and other system elements on the Mac, LeitMotif changes only the color and decorations.

The picture to the right shows a typical Macintosh Finder window as rendered by Eldacur LeitMotif. The colors and shapes used are intended to be similar to and consistent with those used in X Windows. I designed LeitMotif for use on my office Mac, which is always running a number of eXodus windows to our UNIX systems.

Download Eldacur LeitMotif 1.7

[Click here to download] If you'd like to use Eldacur LeitMotif, feel free to download it by clicking on the icon to the left. The current version of LeitMotif is 1.8. If you downloaded an alpha or beta version, please download the final version.

To use Eldacur LeitMotif, you must have at least version 1.5 of Greg Landweber's Kaleidoscope. You can read about or download Kaleidoscope from Greg's Web page.

The Origins of Eldacur LeitMotif

I created Eldacur LeitMotif for use at work where my desktop machine is a Quadra, but the code I'm designing and developing all runs on Solaris. Being your basic Mac bigot I'd far sooner use my standard tools like BBEdit and Eudora than emacs and pine from the UNIX system so the four apps that are always running on my Quadra are eXodus, BBEdit, Eudora and Netscape Navigator.

Window Widgets
eXodus Window LeitMotif Window
I found it distracting that my eXodus and regular Mac windows all looked quite different and used different colors to indicate which was the active window, so the first thing I did in creating LeitMotif was to make active and inactive windows that used the same basic colors as eXodus's. Once I had the colors worked out, I needed suitable widgets. Since I didn't feel like doing a whole WDEF, I couldn't exactly reproduce the look of an eXodus window. The table to the right shows what I came up with for window widgets.

The Close box and the Zoom box are basically the same shape in LeitMotif as they are in eXodus or Motif although a bit smaller. They are, however, larger than those of the typical Kaleidoscope scheme. I could have made them larger, but it seemed to me that made them look lopsided. I struggled a bit with the Window Shade box. At first I used the shape of the Minimize box in Motif -- the small centered box -- but that seemed a bit confusing and since the functions and positions of the box are different, I went with a small rectangle at the top of the box which seemed a bit more suggestive of its function.

Flat Deep Both
One of the problems with trying to make an X-Window-like scheme is that X Window apps use different toolkits for drawing there widgets and so there is no one right shape for scroll bars, buttons and so forth. The first widget I designed after I had the basic window and its boxes was the scroll bar. The others were all made consistent with it.

I found that there were two common scroll bars used in the apps I used or could find screen shots of on the Web. The table to the right shows them. The first is wider and flatter, with only one pixel's worth of 3-D beveling. The second is narrower and has a deeper 3-D effect. The third picture in the table shows a window I found that used both types of scroll bar in different panes.

The eXodus windows and thus LeitMotif's seemed to have a fairly deep 3-D effect, so I chose the narrow deep scroll bars and kept that look through the other widgets. The shapes of the various widgets were based on what seemed to be fairly common practice with the exception of the check-boxes. It would probably have been more consistent with prevailing X Windows usage for them to have been blank but I liked the look of the check marks when I ran across the ones I based mine on, so I made the blank buttons the "classic check box" option.

In order to make the scroll bars work like X Windows scroll bars, where the size of the thumb is proportional to the amount of the document that is visible in the window, you may want to run Smart Scroll. (See the Smart Scroll home page for details.) I used it during development of LeitMotif, and designed the "empty" scroll bars (used when there is nothing to scroll) to be shown as full since that's how it works with X Windows proportional thumb.

Other People's Schemes

I haven't found too many other Kaleidoscope schemes that work well in combination with eXodus and Motif. Here's what I've come across. Three of them are specifically designed to be X-Windows-like. The fourth merely uses similar colors.

Xlook/Motif and Xlook/Athena

by Brian Connors
©1997 Duchesne Brick and Block

One of the best is Brian Connors Xlook, which comes in both Motif and Athena versions. Brian has made several design decisions than I did. His widgets are more preciesly the Motif versions, and are done in gray on the blue/green of the window frame. Contrasting the colors sets the widgets off from the windo without having to do inscribed lines. He's also used the wider flatter scroll bars. Finally, like Josh Blackwell's X-Win scheme, which Brian says he based Xlook on, he has used a very dark color for inactive windows.

All-in-all, after seeing Xlook, I'm still happy with the way I did LeitMotif, but except for the dark inactive color, I really like Xlook as well, especially the Motif version.


by Matt Wronkiewicz

The only other Kaleidoscope 1.5 scheme I know of that is designed specifically to look like X-Windows is Matt Wronkiewicz's CDE. It's based on the Common Desktop Environment as implemented under Solaris. Matt has used larger window widgets and the flatter scroll bars and the CDE violet active window color can clash with other screen colors. Naturally, I prefer LeitMotif, but his design is a reasonable interpretation of CDE as a Kaleidoscope scheme.

X-Win 1.0

by Josh Blackwell

The first X-Windows-inspired scheme I ever encountered was Josh Blackwell's X-Win, a Kaleidoscope 1.0 scheme that, so far as I am aware, has never been upgraded for Kaleidoscope 1.5, although Brian Connors' Xlook is based on it. If you want to use it, you will have to convert it yourself using the "Scheme Updater" application distributed with Kaleidoscope 1.5.

Although it is called X-Win and is supposed to look like a X Windows environment, it really isn't very much like any X system that I've used. The most X-Windows-like feature is the use of a different color for the active and inactive windows. It was the first scheme I encountered that did that, but I found the black inactive windows too heavy and distracting. It did, however, inspire me to take my hand at creating an X Windows scheme.


by Kosh

While it is not based on X Windows, Kosh's TealEaves scheme uses colors that are similar to eXodus's active window's colors and might be suitable for use with eXodus. TealEaves is slick, stylish, and colorful. If it has any fault it is that it is perhaps a bit too colorful, but that's very much a matter of personal taste.

Kosh's Kaleidoscope Experience page has a smaller selection than MacOver, say, but he is a talented designer and you can get a lot of the better schemes, both his and other people's, off it.


Updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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