Are external icon / system theme safe?

Hi, I am a new kde user. I know that you can install external icon packs and system themes to enhance your experience while using the D.E. I would like to know if they are safe to use, because they are not official but created by hobbists and why installing external global themes could be dangerous. Last request, I would like to know what are the most popular/well trusted icon packs/themes and what are your recommendations. Thanks

“Global Themes” - which is not a great definition - include custom script that can and will change your system, and if they were created by a malicious actor, or just a bad programmer, they can cause a lot of damage.

Other types of customizations that are installed as a bunch of graphics files - like icon packs, Plasma styles, backgrounds, or window decorations - are safe to use and cannot harm your system (except make graphically horrible to the point of unusability - but you should be able to quickly revert in that case).

If you want to review things by popularity - the Pling open desktop store (aka “KDE store”) has sorting by downloads and rating, so you should be able to judge popularity based on that.

1 Like

Thank you, so every icon pack/ theme I download I safe to use. The only exception is for the “global themes” that could be packed with malicious script right?

No there are a bunch more, Dolphin Service Menus are by essence programs so are plasma applets. Plasma wallpapers (some can be just images but they can include executable code) are concerned too.
Sddm themes and lock screen themes are also concerned but that will change in plasma 6.1 and will become safe to install.

I may miss some categories, but the Get New Things will display a message for when the download content.

In dolphin (french):

In Plasma 6.1 the message differentiate the strictly safe from the “need review” kind, currently it does not.

Right, there is a safe or well known platform where I can download icon packs/themes?

anytime you choose the "get more… " button you are venturing into uncharted waters.

3rd party desktop widgets are also small programs that can make significant changes to your system but are created by “hobbyists” and are not part of kde.

use the sorting options, avoid "latest’, most downloaded or highest rated are both indications of quality… read the reviews, inspect the code yourself, review the changelog history.


Although currently the default rating is 2.5, meaning if something has 2.5 rating it may never been rated in fact.

1 Like