Sublime Forum

Dark theme requires license


This is just a personal opinion. Disabling dark theme in free version seems good on paper as it is not essential feature so shouldn’t be required to test before buying, but here’s what happens in practice. I’m using Sublime Text a lot and multiple times I thought “hey this Sublime Merge thing is probably probably pretty good because it’s made by the same dev, I should give it a shot”. Then I install it, click around a bit, but when it comes to using it in my workflow and I launch it, it looks so uncomfortable in my all-dark workspace that I always think “eh, whatever” and fall back to Source Tree.

Disabling this theme in free version still allows users to see features of Sublime Merge but prevents some users from experiencing it in practice. And I’d say experience is pretty important, that’s why I keep using Sublime Text - I’ve tried to check out Atom and VS Code (which have kinda similar feature set) but when I launch them I see how slow they are, Sublime Text just feels better so I always quickly switch back to it.



I don’t care for sourcetree, and other various git clients I’ve tried, which is why I gave smerge a shot. If the dark theme is what keeps you from trying smerge, then maybe you’re pretty happy with sourcetree? I couldn’t wait to try smerge to replace the tools I was using before.

People love their dark themes, me included, which makes me think they picked the right feature to lock down. I honestly would have probably lingered on the trial longer if they gave me the dark theme out of the box. It’s a non-essential thing, but turned out to be a good motivator for me to purchase a license sooner rather than later. Sublime Text gave me everything out of the box, and I used the trial long past when I decided the tool was right for me.



Personally, I find paywalling dark mode to be a brilliant “pain point” compared to Sublime Text’s occasional popup. Sublime Text proved that developers don’t really care about occasional popups, and many people I know still haven’t paid for Sublime Text because of this.

However, if there’s one thing those developers can’t live without for long, it’s a dark theme. :grin:



This is actually a really smart move on their end. I’ve only had a nag screen maybe twice or three times in 4-5 days of testing out Merge, but that is less of an inconvenience than not having a dark theme.

I should state that neither the nag screen nor the lack of a dark theme will cause me to automatically buy this. This tool is great so far, but I find it is lacking other features that even other watered-down Git clients have. So for me, this is a demo period. A period that isn’t just about me testing whether or the software is good as is, but a period in which the I evaluate the developer’s response to certain requests I have based on using it. A 100 dollar Git client should either come with every bell and whistle right out of the box, or the developer’s should be working on getting them implemented.

Again, I will say that I miss a dark theme, but I miss other features more, and I have no problem with purchasing once it truly is the best option out there; the dark theme will just be an added bonus.



if there’s one thing those developers can’t live without for long, it’s a dark theme

Well my point was that some developers don’t even try the software without dark theme. I mean I installed and clicked around for a few minutes, but that was not enough to find anything that is better than software that I already use.



Some people also won’t use Sublime because it’s not open sourced :man_shrugging:.

Sublime is a business. I personally know people who’ve abused the gracious trial and have no intentions of ever purchasing. I don’t blame Sublime for finding another pain point to encourage people to purchase their software. They are still offering full unbridled access to all features except one cosmetic one, without a time limit. I think that is pretty generous. At least they didn’t introduce a lime green trial theme (unless someone is into that, no judging :slightly_smiling_face:).

Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone. I personally think if something so minor as the dark theme being locked down until purchase prevents you from evaluating the product, then you must be pretty happy with what you have now. Either that or you won’t know what you are missing.

Personally, I find Merge a great tool that fits in very well with my work flow. I had been continually trying out various git clients, and was constantly disappointed. Even Merge had a warm up period for me. I didn’t instantly try it and hand over my money. It took a little bit for it to click with me, something that no other git client has been able to fully do.

In the end though, everyone has to go with what they find most important. For me, it is the functionality, for you, aesthetics may edge out functionality. There’s nothing wrong with that, people like what they like. Personally, I’d use Merge even if I was stuck on the light theme, and I really don’t like the light theme.



Yeah this is exactly the case. I’m happy with current tools but I have a feeling that I might be missing something cool because of developers’ awesome reputation with Sublime Text, just don’t know what exactly yet.

Aesthetics matters a lot for me, I’m a fan of pixel perfect and minimalistic interfaces and sometimes even have to tune source code and internals of my tools to achieve that. I like Sublime Text’s minimalistic approach which seems to be the case with Sublime Merge too.

I agree that Sublime Text approach is way too generous, and there should be something else to encourage users to buy. It just so happens that they hit critical point with me personally. Anyways, I just wanted to voice my feedback, and don’t expect that they actually change their model based on that alone. But still, it is something to think about, maybe there are more people like me.

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I just want to say that I’m in exactly the same boat. I have a purchased Sublime Text license, I downloaded Sublime Merge for exactly the same reason (I even also use Source Tree). And just like you I don’t feel like investing into learning this tool, because it’s unpleasant to me in the light version. I actually stumbled upon this topic here while googling how to enable dark theme in Sublime Merge.
I mean that it’s probably better than SourceTree in many ways, but I’m not going to know about it, because for me it’s not a pain point just in using the free version, it’s a considerable obstacle in learning the tool. And since SourceTree is not ideal, but gets the job done, I don’t really feel like exploring an unpleasant tool. Although I get reasons behind it.

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I can’t find an answer to the question. Is SublimeMerge theme supported in the same way as in SublimeText? Can I switch between themes by editing the preferences file? If not then SublimeMerge can work in sync with MacOS mode?



Theming in Merge works as it does in Text yes; you can swap between themes in your preferences and even customize and build your own theme as well. There’s currently no equivalent of Package Control, so you need to put themes in place manually though, if that matters.

And of course, as has been mentioned you can’t modify the setting without having a license.



Works like a charm. Now I have to adjust Tomorrow theme :slight_smile:



Yes, exactly. Here how my experience with Merge went:

  • Click on branch name on bottom right
  • Huh? Sublime merge? might be worth a try
  • Follow steps to install Merge on Ubuntu
  • Launch it OW MY EYES ok where is dark mode… Only for licenced users?
  • sudo apt-get remove sublime-merge

Sublime Merge could be the most amazing Git Gui in the entire universe, but I’ll never know since I’m essentially unable to try it. It might as well crash on startup.

Not complaining about anything here, mind you, I’ll just keep happily paying for other software I already use, just saying this is, in my opinion, a bad business strategy. My point is, this defeats the purpose of a demo. Of course, I might just not be part of the target audience, and that’s okay too.