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Synthetica LnF


Just a question to anyone who remembers… why the move away from Synthetica LnF to Substance? I can see in the code where Synthetica was replaced and it appears to have been over a licencing issue of some kind. Does anyone remember the specifics?

I really like what Synthetica has to offer, especially over JTattoo (I like Substance more than JTattoo right now, but the Substance we use does not appear to be maintained anymore - version 6.1).

From the Synthetica website, it looks like opensource projects can use it royalty free, the question comes in since Spark and Openfire are repackaged into some commercial applications, would they be forced to disable/remove it before packaging? What an inconvinience if so…


As long as i remember, the main reason was the licensing, although i think there were some other tachnical issues maybe. Maybe at that time Substance was a more active project.

I prefer Substance in its current not maintained state over any of JTattoo skins

Licensing for us or licensing for 3rd parties that use the codebase for commercial apps? I really like what I see with Synthetica LnF’s… I personally don’t like many of the JTattoo skins although the new Texture LnF is quite nice looking (in latest JTattoo release i’m testing in my Spark-Unoffical github repo).

I would support changing the default LnF for a future release of Spark to the SubstanceBusinessBlackSteel LnF or the SubstanceBusinessBlueSteel LnF (or SubstanceMistAqua – it’s pretty nice color contrast I think and isn’t too dark).

I personally run into issues with JTattoo when switching from Substance to JTattoo and clicking the “Apply Now” button. It locks the “Save” and “Done” buttons until you switch back to a substance skin and apply. Found only way to swtich to JTattoo from Substance is to set the JTattoo skin you want, then click the “Save” button and close the prefs menu, then logout and log back into spark. Not ideal, and I beleive it’s some conflict between the two LnF apps…

Edit: Added SubstanceMistAqua to fave Substance LnF’s.

I personally prefer SubstanceBusinessBlueSteel. Somewhat subtle. Though i was a fun of Syntethica blue theme (Spark 2.5.8).

Just as a quick wrap up about LaF:

Synthetica is commercial an requires a commercial license. We approached the company about a license for Spark, but that was refused. Since we do not have a opne source license, we had to remove it for legal reasons.

Substance has significant bugs that was breaking Spark. I was having Substance in pilot operation for several clients in my company and we would have to start to debug Substance to get proper function. One of the affeccted features was file transfer that was not always worjing due to a incorrect progress bar in Substance. There was otehr stuff that made us look for another LaF.

We checked several free LaF and JGoodies was selected because the Luna Theme is closest to the 2.5.8. LaF. The Black and dark skins of the LaF around are not exactly pretty for Spark, because of several hard coded images and color shades in the Spark GUI.

Long story short:

Substance is buggy and is not maintened any more

Sythetica is commercial

JTattoo is close to 2.5.8 LaF and has pretty good skins.

Dark themes require some refactoring in the GUI code.

Would anyone be opposed to the community approaching Synthetica again for an open source license? It’s been some time and perhaps their stance has shifted?

I have noticed the Substance Progress Bar issue you talk about Walter, but at the time attributed it to File Transfer issues in 2.6.3… is this still an issue in the Trunk (don’t have a way to test at the moment)?

I’m currently testing with JTattoo 1.6.7 (Feb 2013 released) in my Github branch. So far no issues that I have found. They did add a new LaF called Texture which I find astetically pleaseing, however the Spark logo in the top left corner would need work since the background square shows up a lighter color than the menu bar. I’ll play with this tonight I’m planning…

To me, Luna feels too windows XP-ish… (color wise i guess). I’d like something more “modern” looking… just my opinion…

The one thing that people can’t argue about, is the visual appeal tastes I personally prefer light themes without textures. Luna has too bright blue color and with that red close button really feels XP-ish to me too. I don’t mind asking Synthetica again.

There is nothing wrong in approaching Synthetica again. However, commercial trunks (like the one internal build in my company) would need to remove that for license reasons anyway. The position of Synthetica was about the usage of Spark in commercial organizations. They have considered this “non-open source”. Still, feel free to talk to them again.

We do not use Luna internally but a customs build JTattoo that is a deviation of the Aluminium theme.

I personally would not advise to spend time in Substance. This is framework development whch eats up time like crazy and does not benefit Spark. I would rather propose to go after the hard coded images that would enable dark skins of JTattoo. After that I would design a personal JTattoo. The internal one at my company took a day. Much less effort that reworking Substance with an unknown code quality and no one to support. The JTattoo guy was very responsive at the time we wrked on it and he is still active on JTattoo. If you spend time on the Laf, JTattoo is the way to go. My 5 ct.

Here’s a screen shot of Texture LaF from JTattoo 1.6.7 … when the window has focus, the menu bar is the blueish color. click the image for full zoom to see the “texture” on the menu bars, its a nice effect…


Do we have any rapport with the Synthetica team? How shall we proceed?


Posted at the same time as Walter...

Im playing with the latest jtattoo now, and was figuring the strangeness that occurs between Substance and JTattoo wasn't worth looking into, especially when i coulnd't find a maintained version of substance.... :/

the images need tuning it looks like since not all play nice even in jtattoo... perhaps i'll take a look and see...

Jason, what’s your time zone? It should be night time in the US…

The maker or Synthetica is Jyloo (http://www.jyloo.com/company/contact/) it is a small company. I have approached them in 2011 and clarified the license status for 2.5.8 with Jive when Spark was commercial. There is no maintenance fee paid for Synthetica and we are not allowed to use or distribute it.

Again, I would advise to focus on JTattoo and work on Spark to become 100% skinable and enable exchange of icons and images easily. For example, the logo on the login screen requires a repackaging of the install4j installer. It would be much better, if the images would be exchangeable without this procedure.

lol Pacific Time. its 10:47PM right now…

Aluminium theme looks nice (i would prefer it to be default theme in Spark, never mind that 2.5.8 had blue theme, this was so long ago). But what i like Substance for is that it make tabs look more compact (fonts are smaller probably). Because Spark has a bug, if you open many tabs and they don’t fit on one row, then some tabs will stretch to the borders of the window so one tab is taking the whole row. With Substance i hit this less. I often have 3-4 tabs opened and we have long names here

About the position of Synthetica. It sounds weird. How can any open source project get their license then? Any open source project can be used in a commercial project. So it just means that they are not giving licenses to OS projects then… This needs clarification.

Well… “GPL vWhatever” would be what they are allowing then… since gpl can’t all that too easily be used in commercial products unless its the LGPL i think…

Perhaps they would be open to a license if we stay back one release or something? So we don’t get the “latest and greatest” but we get a solid LaF?

Did we remove it originally because they approached us about it, or did we go to them first?

Aluminium is nice… I’d also be interested in a dark themed spark…

I cleared the license status for Spark prior the 2.6.0 release since I don’t want to run into riscs of being taken to court.

I don’t care about Synthetica since JTattoo does not have real issues (at least that I know of). We has some and the JTattoo guy was fixing them in a day. That’s much better than any of my commercial providers. The issues with JTattoo that you are discussing are about the look and not the features. May I propose that one of the “dark skin lovers” starts to dig into JTattoo to figure out how to design a “good dark skin”.? Whatever good means. I would be suprised, if the JTattoo guy would refuse to assist (I don’t know him personally, but he was very cooperative in the past).

Regarding license: We are on Apache. This makes the inclusion of (L)GPL stuff very difficult. Be careful about adding packages with non Apache license status.

exactly my point on the license… GPL and it’s variants are usually best for frameworks and big common things of that nature. Therefore most GPL projects are not going to be the sort of Spark which is a user application… Apache makes perfect sense for Spark license.

Synthetica providing a license to spark would benefit them as well. Corporate and/or 3rd part commercial users might purchase their own license to further customize it for themselves or purchase custom LaF dev from Synthetica (or other Dev work for that matter). Also, if we stay behind one release, people may purchase their own license to get some new great feature?

Might be grasping at straws lol… if we can’t secure a license that repackagers can use (without removing the code), then no point in going through the trouble of trying to incorporate it.