New Winstripe Theme Replaces Qute as Mozilla Firefox Default

Monday June 14th, 2004

Users who have downloaded the Mozilla Firefox 0.9 Release Candidate or a recent Firefox nightly build will have noticed that the browser now has a new default theme. Created by the Mozilla Visual Identity Team, the new theme replaces the previous default, Qute. The decision to change the default theme was made by the core Firefox developers after licensing disagreements with Qute creator Arvid Axelsson. Qute continues to be available as an standalone theme and can be installed from

The new theme is still very much a work in progress. It is based on Pinstripe, the default Firefox theme on Mac OS X, and has been dubbed Winstripe on Windows and Gnomestripe on Linux. Like Qute, the new theme uses the nsITheme interface to provide native-looking XUL widgets, making it fit in with the rest of your applications.

In much the same way Firefox is the latest in a long line of names, Winstripe/Gnomestripe is the latest in a long line of default themes. The Qute theme became the default in December 2002. Theme changes for Mozilla are nothing new: old timers may remember that the original Modern theme for Mozilla was redesigned in 2000 and later reworked again in 2001.

#1 Good luck

by remline

Monday June 14th, 2004 5:13 PM

I look forward to watching the new theme progress, and wish the best of luck to the visual identity team. :)

#2 If anyone wishes to see the "reworked again in..."

by martrootamm

Monday June 14th, 2004 5:49 PM

"... 2001" skin, check out this link:

#3 FF linux's UI has slowed down

by doron

Monday June 14th, 2004 5:52 PM

Anyone else notice that ff0.9rc's UI is slow (menus, etc) due to the native look'n'feel stuff?

#4 Re: FF linux's UI has slowed down

by martrootamm

Monday June 14th, 2004 6:19 PM

'Native' in relation to what?

#8 Re: FF linux's UI has slowed down

by Yacoubean

Monday June 14th, 2004 6:56 PM

Yes, I noticed this as well. I just figured it was because it was a release candidate...I hope it speeds up for 0.9 final.

#11 Re: FF linux's UI has slowed down

by steeler_fan

Monday June 14th, 2004 7:33 PM

I don't know about *why* but I do know that the branch builds seem to hang for 2-12 seconds sometimes when I can't do anything. It's usually when I change tabs, but it sometimes occurs in other places. Strange.

#5 What was wrong with Qute?

by zorinlynx

Monday June 14th, 2004 6:38 PM

I *LIKED* Qute. Why couldn't it stay the default?

The new theme is boring, uninteresting. Qute was, well.. qute!


#23 Re: What was wrong with Qute?

by brother

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 12:27 PM

I *LIKED* the article. Why couldn't you read it before posting?

Your post is so out of place and stupid that maybe you shouldn't use a browser... at all


#6 At the risk of skirting upon trolling...

by Waldo_2

Monday June 14th, 2004 6:40 PM

This article is smooth. If you don't know what I mean, don't ask, because I'm not telling you. If you do know or think you know, chuckle, and - please - *move on*. ;-)

#7 Not as good in present form

by thornesa

Monday June 14th, 2004 6:41 PM

I much prefer the Qute theme to the current version of the default. Too bad about disagreements. I support the concept of and work done so far by the visual identity team, so I will remain hopeful that a better default version will emerge. Until then, I'll probably use the Qute theme. Thanks to this article, I was finally able to find it.

#9 i like it

by Moparx

Monday June 14th, 2004 7:26 PM

i personally find the new theme to have a much more sleek and professional look to it, even in its development state. i like it alot :)

#10 Awesome new theme(s)!

by asa

Monday June 14th, 2004 7:29 PM

The new theme rocks! Great work guys!


#13 Re: Awesome new theme(s)!

by buff

Monday June 14th, 2004 8:15 PM

(Asa == OfficialMozillaCheerleader) ;-)

#12 Spits fire like no ones business

by modok

Monday June 14th, 2004 8:00 PM

Whether the visual identity team is a good or a bad idea....You guys sure know how to shake the hornets nest. I suspect much of the user ire surrounds the fact that the ex-default theme guy felt out of the loop (and appears to have been wounded); while at the same time the "Cult of personality" surrounding firefox development makes some people want to rally around the underdog (the theme developer this time).

I think perhaps less time is needed in the branding department and more should be spent in the PR department.

#14 Not too thrilled

by DHiester

Monday June 14th, 2004 9:51 PM

Yes, Pinstripe looked great on OS X because it's really, really sparse, much like the rest of OS X's toolbar buttons. But you can't expect the same kind of sparse toolbar buttons to fit in on Windows; maybe they'll fit in Linux, if you're using a desktop theme that's a ripoff of OS X.

I didn't even like Pinstripe at first. I went straight to iCandy Jr.

Getting John Hicks to do a logo was a GREAT way to do branding. Taking the sparse OS X icons and trying to adapt them to other, not-so-sparse platforms doesn't look as bright.

Plus, it's not very clever to include an extremely early version of a theme in a milestone build that's supposed to be pretty much a "feature-complete" beta.

#15 Reducing the spacing in Winstripe

by mmastrac

Monday June 14th, 2004 10:27 PM

I'll keep plugging my Winstripe tweak:

I like the new theme, but I think the default spacing is a fair bit too big. :)

#16 Re: Reducing the spacing in Winstripe

by Jugalator

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 12:02 AM

I thought so too, but with certain third party Visual Styles for Windows XP it looks real neat IMHO. :D Particularly with quite minimalistic ones, like this one:

#17 About Gnomestripe..

by sgbouwhu

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 1:07 AM

Will all linux builds have gnomestripe, so will users of another window manager (like KDE) be stuck with a gnome-styled firefox?

#18 Toolbar height

by imforumman

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 2:20 AM

Ok, so I don't like the new look of Firefox either, but who cares? What makes me sad is something related:

In the new Themes when I place the Home or Downloads or History button on the Bookmarks Toolbar, that toolbar becomes the height of the Navigation toolbar, which is ugly and wastes space! Is there any chance that this will be fixed by 1.0?

#19 New theme is not bad

by neilparks1

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 4:09 AM

I may be in the minority, but I don't think the new Winstripe theme is so bad looking. I like it better than Qute.

But let's all remember that one of the nicest features of Firefox is the ability to customize it. There are skins available for a wide variety of tastes, and if your favorite hasn't been updated for the new format yet, I bet it soon will be.

#20 Re: New theme is not bad

by coda

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 10:27 AM

Or you could try make your own... and


#21 Re: Re: New theme is not bad

by ckblevins

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 11:59 AM

Ran across this while checking up on new themes. It's a page decribing initail steps for creating your own theme.

Also, check out the very well done (IMHO) theme the author put together


#22 Re: Re: Re: New theme is not bad

by ckblevins

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 12:01 PM

decribing --> describing initail --> initial

#24 fine refreshment for Firefox

by ivanii

Tuesday June 15th, 2004 4:24 PM

IMHO, Qute have always looked much better on Thunderbird than on Firefox. So, this change is really great, although I am not that sure that changing of Thunderbird theme is such a good idea and it will be harder to make a good impression there.

New theme is simple, so it reflects the philosophy of Firefox, I guess it should be like that