Moodle HQ’s Open Source Development Coordinator Sander Bangma explains on the Moodle Forum the reasons why the “Clean” and “More” themes, available by default, will no longer be shipped with the upcoming major Moodle releases and will eventually end all support.
For a long time, these themes were the trademark look of Moodle. They were originally built on Bootstrap version 2, at the time the latest edition of the popular web interface (a field also known as “Front End”) development framework. Flash forward to present time, and Bootstrap is in version 4, fully taken advantage by “Boost,” Moodle’s default look for over a year now.
In the next major release, Moodle 3.6, a new “Classic” theme, in line with “Clean” but built on Bootstrap 4, will come along with “Boost.” This will make the Testing and QA stage of the release easier. “Clean” and “More” will stay available at the Moodle plugin repository. Bangma pledges to offer “sufficient support” for these themes on Moodle 3.6. (A preliminary version of “Classic” is already available at GitHub by Moodle HQ’s Bas Brands.)
For Moodle 3.7, “More” and “Clean” will not be supported (unless a volunteer third party decides to adopt them and bring them up to current version), nor any theme built on a version of Bootstrap previous to 4.
However, as Bangma notes, Moodle 3.5 is a Long Term Support release, which will receive security fixes until May 2021, meaning at least here the two old themes will still be supported, albeit minimally.
The announcement ensued a vigorous discussion about how Moodle HQ should handle legacy support, future roadmaps, and other finer details involving frameworks and compatibility. An argument about whether Moodle should look “pretty out of the box” led to Moodler Rick Jerz to contribute a gallery comparing the first impressions of some LMS. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? See for yourself: