Canonical may be hard at work to make Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) the best experience possible, but they are also working on an icon theme that could arrive in time to the final version.
The Ubuntu design team announced a while ago that they were planning to update the old icon theme used until now in the recent Ubuntu OSes. Canonical made some small modifications over time, but the icons no longer fit with the plans for a convergent experience.
Ubuntu developers have been working for some time towards complete system convergence, a project that is expected to span across quite a few development cycles. The end result would be a single operating system, a single code base working across multiple devices, like PC, phones, and tablets.
It may seem farfetched, but the company has made some great progress and they are expecting to launch something concrete in the next couple of years. It's not enough to just have a single operating system and they also need to take care of the visual aspect.
The platform that is leading the charge now is Ubuntu for phones. Canonical has already implemented a number of technologies there that are not yet ready for the desktop version, like Mir and Unity 8, but the platform also comes with a new type of icons that are radically different from what has been done until now.
The first glimpse of the icons was offered during an UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit), where the designers showed a very interesting theme that is quite unique, which fitted both the PC and phone desktops. As a bonus, the developers didn't make them flat. This was actually a big plus for the Ubuntu design team, which managed to duck the “flat” bullet.
The Ubuntu community has been asking about the new icon theme for months, but you can't rush art, apparently. All the engineers and programmers from Canonical can be pushed to a deadline, but not the design team. They said right from the start that they might not be able to release the new icon theme on the desktop as well in time for the final release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
During today's updates, the new Icon theme, called Suru (which is also the name of the new Origami-inspired wallpaper), has been uploaded to the repositories and Ubuntu 14.04 users can now see it in the list of available Icon themes. You will need to use Unity Tweak Tool to notice it, unless you want to check the folder itself.
Unfortunately, the theme doesn't work yet, with the exception of a few indicators, but we expect to see more applications supported by the new Suru icon theme as it gets updated.
In the meantime, if you want to give Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Beta a go, you can download it from Softpedia.