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A Dozen GNOME Themes
Date: 25 Apr 2010 / Author: SeanParsons / Views: 58894 / Comments: 6

Mark Shuttleworth back in October of 2006 said:

"If we want the world to embrace free software, we have to make it beautiful. I’m not talking about inner beauty, not elegance, not ideological purity… pure, unadulterated, raw, visceral, lustful, shallow, skin deep beauty."

Sometimes though beauty is very subjective. Steve jobs, talking about OS X, said:

"We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them."

Personally, unless I'm looking at a picture of a thicky juicy steak along with a tall pint of Guiness, I will probably never have a desire to lick my screen. But one thing is sure, with improved graphics drivers, projects like compiz fusion, and an increasing number of artists the Linux desktop is ready to make the transformation from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.

Now there are plenty of sites that have posted their top 10, top 16, top 25, even their top 50 themes for GNOME, but some how their lists always include the same designs over and over. The goal here is to look at some newer and/or forgotten themes, some interesting combinations fom preexisting themes, and some inclusions of original work to provide a reason to look at these themes.



This first theme comes from the Bisigi Project. The Bisigi Project aims to create complete and coherent themes. They are designed to be light (using gtk-engines like murrine), simple and keep the GNOME philosophy. The screenshot above does not do justice for how beautiful this theme is. Also, one of the things that I really like is its animated wallpaper. The home page for this particular theme can be found here:



Yeah, the title sucks but I think the theme itself is frickin awesome. Haven Lee (a.k.a, jcase008) released a dark OS X style theme, but it was still a little rough looking so I changed the nbase_color from #b3b3b3 to #ffffff so that OOo applications would display correctly. I made new buttons for the metacity theme because there were jagged edges around all the buttons. The end effect does not look as mac-esque, but the images gained a much smoother appearance, and I was not really worried specifically about looking like OS X.

You can download my changes here:

Billy Butler put together the Mashup icon theme used in the screenshot. I can no longer find his mashups on GNOME Look so here is Mashup-2 as Billy Butler had assembled it:

Also the very cool wallpaper shown in the above screenshot was drawn by Benny04 and can be found here:



Custom Element uses the MurrinaNeoGraphite gtk theme located in many distributions' repositories in murrine-themes, but the gtk theme can be downloaded here:

The icon theme and the metacity theme can both be downloaded from the Elementary Project at:

Lasly, the wallpaper comes frome a GNOME Look poster known as xactive. You can find his Liquid wallpapers here:



The gtk and meticity themes for this come from the Moomex Ultimatum which can be found here:

The icon set for this theme also comes from an icon mashup put together by Billy Butler. You can download this mashup here:

And the cool monochromatic wallpaper made by Marko001 can be found here:



EquiBee is primarily based on the Equinox Glass gtk and metacity theme which can be found here:

The icon set is yet another icon mashup put together by Billy Butler. You can download this mashup here:

The BeeBot wallpaper can be found at



The Gentle Desktop came from an idea proposed by Bert Bruggeman with a mockup he posted here:

Well everyone attempted to make their own implementation of his theme. At the time I was using XFCE and made a version for XFWM which can be found here:

Others worked on GNOME versions. I became very partial to my own version and I think the GNOME version most like my own is Gentle-LT found here:

The icons used come form saki's NuoveXT icon pack found here:

I can no longer find the wallpapers I like with this theme on deviantART. For now you can download 2 of Javier Ocasio's wallpapers from me:



The gtk theme is called Murrina Fancy Candy, but it does not appear to be the same theme that is on GNOME Look. I found the theme in one of my repositories, but if you would like to enjoy it no matter what distro you're running then download it here:

The metacity theme is the very popular Alphacube Metacity Color theme from Ciccio Bueo. Grab it here:

Christopher Bratusek refit the Oxygen icon theme for GNOME users. The net result can be found here:

The wallpaper is an original creation and can't be found elsewhere. It is based on the very cool Kibertron Project. The Kibertron team gave me permission to work on this wallpaper about three and a half years ago, but I just never released it till now! Download and enjoy:



The gtk theme Oxygen-Molecule helps to provide a unified look between GNOME and KDE apps, plus it just plain look cool. You can find out more about this theme and download it at:

The metacity theme can be found at:

Once again, this makes use of Christopher Bratusek's refit the Oxygen icon theme for GNOME users. The net result can be found here:

The wallpaper is going to excite some and disappoint many others. The wallpaper, called Arctica, comes from digital blasphemy which has many of the coolest wallpapers ever. There are some very high quality wallpapers available for free, but this wallpaper requires you to pay for a membership to obtain it (this is how Ryan Bliss makes a living). Checkout this wallpaper here:



Several years a go I toyed with the idea of making Yet Another Linux Distribution (YALD). This was shortly after Ubuntu had come on the seen and for the first time ever I was impressed with GNOME. The Ubuntu theme, at the time, was ugly and it required effort to get all the wanted codecs installed. Plus, I had some differences in opinions as to which applications should be installed by default back, and I had a different plan has to how documentation should be handled. I decided it would be fun to make my own hobby distro that maintains binary compatibility with Ubuntu. Some parts were fun as I rolled out my first alpha releases, but then came some nasty letters written in legaleese. I was shocked as I hadn't even announced my project to anyone yet. Well, since my goal was only to have fun I decided I would have more fun finding other ways to fill my time than responding to these letters. One of the things that came out of it though is the p9l theme.

The gtk theme is an -ish derivative:

The metacity them is Filippo David's Plastik. I can no longer find this on the web, so until I find it I'll host it:

Remeber that I was just converting from KDE, so I decided to use a GNOME version of Everaldo's Crystal Clear icons:

Also, if you want an XMMS theme to go along with this, here is a skin I made:

The wallpaper used in the screenshot was something I came across when doing a random Google image search. It can be found here:



The gtk theme is something I put together based on Aurora and Dust. It requires you to use the Aurora engine:

The metacity theme is Dust, which some distro come with preinstalled, but if you need to install it, you can find it here:

The icon set for this theme is the same icon mashup used for the Custom Moomex Ultimatum displayed above. You can download this mashup here:

The wallpaper was created by Stan Lau (a.k.a., Artgerm) made this based on his character Pepper:



Ubuntu's orange and brown themes are barely even gone and I miss them already. Actually orange and brown themes can look nice but somehow Canonical consistantly executed on them poorly. Here is a bright orange theme using the same orange as Ubuntu's logo. It's based on Clearlooks Classic for its metacity and gtk themes which comes preinstalled in GNOME.

You can download the Human O2 icon set here:

The groovy Amanecer wallpaper was made by EAMejia. You can download that here

Then to get your gtk color scheme to be correct you can use this file:



This theme makes use of the Shiki Wise theme from Shiki colors. Some distros come with Shiki Colors either preinstalled or in their repositories, but if not you can grab them here:

Billy Butler put together the Mashup icon theme used in the screenshot. I can no longer find his mashups on GNOME Look so here is Mashup-2 as Billy Butler had assembled it:

I'm not sure where this wallpaper originated, but I found it here:

That rounds out a dozen themes, so what are some of your favorites that you think others would enjoy? Please leave a comment below.


RSS feed for comments on A Dozen GNOME Themes

Comments: 6

1. | 25 Apr 2010 - 23:38

Hey guys nice themes! Check out this awesome one! you missed it in the list!:

2. SeanParsons | 26 Apr 2010 - 02:15

@Tre Jay,

iRaveH2O is an amazing icon set. Thanks for sharing it.

3. Ignacio Garcia | 26 Apr 2010 - 10:25

All these themes look better than Lucid's Radiance and Ambiance for sure. I can't believe Lucid's going to look so ugly.

4. !ncognito | 26 Apr 2010 - 12:05

Really good themes. Thanks a lot.. :)

5. | 26 Apr 2010 - 12:38

Hi, great job showing some variety of themes. I really enjoy changing themes. My favorites are the Shiki Dust and the new Lucid Ambiance/Radiance themes. Below are screenshots on what I did with each.
Shiki Dust-

Lucid Radiance-

The above was achieved using YOUR article on how to apply these new themes to your older Ubuntu desktop. So a big thanks to you guys.

Keep up the great work and thanks.

6. SeanParsons | 27 Apr 2010 - 05:27


Thanks for sharing the screenshots, and the positive feedback. I think the 'wood' themed screenshot is pretty cool.