I have never liked the old Darktable interface and especially its icons.
Therefore, my personal opinion is likely biased…
These past months, I have followed the commits in the Darktable’s GitHub web-page with great attention because of that.
I have tried Darktable several times in the past years, mostly on Windows 10, because I consider it more features completed compared to RawTherapee (no clone tool, no masks etc).
In the end, however, I have always sticked with RawTherapee because of its GUIs which I consider more attractive for my needs.
As regards this discussion, to make it short I am persuaded that:
- You can always stick with the stable version;
- You can code it yourself whatever it suits you and propose to the community;
- You can hire someone to code it for you.
Needless to say, in an ideal world everything concerning the GUIs (icons, themes, shortcuts etc) should be configurable…
In practice, this takes a HUGE amount of time!
Users generelly strongly underestimate the time and skills needed for this task…
IMHO, It is impossible to satisfy everyone’s needs concerning the software interfaces!
Adobe Photoshop elements, for instance, has different workspaces: basic for beginners, expert etc
Just think at how much it is different a software for a smartphone (GUIs which are easy to navigate and no cluttered) and one for a Pc Desktop (GUIs with plenty of panels).
Let’s take an example such as LibreOffice  which has million of users and many private software companies working on it (Collabora, RedHat etc)
Andreas Kainz  is the designer of most of the new icons added these past months. His work on this taks is wonderful IMHO.
Lately, he worked hard on improving the Sifr Theme which has mono color icons .
He works as a volunteer, that is he is not officially paid by anyone but he delivers them just for fun, in his spare time.
If you take a look at his patreon web-page he has only 9 sustainers (patrons), which means 27 dollars a month whereas LibreOffice has millions of users all around the world…
In the long distant past, personally, I was a strong supporter of monochromatic icons with gray themes as background because I considered them much more professionals and also less distractive to work with.
I couldn’t believe why my older colleagues didn’t like them at all!
At present, I am much older and my sight is not as good as in the past. Funnily enough, now, I prefer icons with colors myself, not monochromatic ones!
For instance, now, I like very much the standard GUIs of Gimp  since I find it easier for me to work with: I can tell the difference of the different tools much more easily.
Thanks a lot indeed for your past comments: I have read them with great pleasure