With Firefox 2.0 RC1 on the horizon (the branch apparently froze last night for check-ins), I think it's time for another of my opinionated views on the new Firefox theme. I have mentioned before that the new theme looked pretty bad, and apparently a number of people agreed. Thankfully, the theme was revamped in the September 11 nightly builds, and it looks a lot better. But people are still complaining. I like the new 2.0 theme much better than the previous attempt, but I still feel the Firefox 1.5 look and feel is ideal. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
So this leads to my main point: themes (or skins, whatever you want to call them) just seem wrong. So much time, energy, and development effort gets put into how stuff looks. Couldn't all of that be better spent in making Firefox better than it is today? Let's have faster start up times. The Places feature looks cool. And I'm sure there are other great ideas on the horizon. Can't we work on those instead of arguing about the icon used for the "Home" button?
At some level, a certain look will always have problems. One can't please everyone all the time, especially when it comes to looks; everyone's idea of beauty is different. So, set a look that most everyone agrees on (e.g. the current Firefox 1.5 theme) and leave it alone! Put all of the development effort on cooler features, not on shinier icons. In the end, I think everyone will be happier.