I was browsing reddit.com and came across a link to a blog someone else wrote recently listing 50 very nice downloadable themes that you can install on Ubuntu. You’ll find that blog by clicking here. It has a nice clean listing with screenshots of all the themes that give you a very good glance at several themes in a short amount of time.
Unfortunately for new users, that’s all this blog contains. What it doesn’t really tell you is how to change your theme or install any of the ones available for download. (Correction: The post actually does have a screenshot showing you how to access your theme settings). So I wanted to help out new users with doing this. Here’s how it’s done:
- Download the theme; you’re looking for a “GTK” theme.
- You’ll typically end up downloading either a zip file or a tar.gz file. If it’s a zip file, you need to look for a tar.gz file within the zip. The tar.gz files are usually the actual theme itself, which are often bundled with other non-critical files, like a readme.txt file that you can open seperately.
- Right-click on the desktop and click “Change Desktop Background”. Once open, click the Theme tab at the top-left.
- Click the Install… button in the lower right, browse for and select the downloaded tar.gz file, and click Open.
That should do it. If it doesn’t look back at the package file you downloaded for a bundled readme.txt or similar file that might detail special installation instructions. If there wasn’t a text file like this included or your can’t find one, there might be one the web page you got the theme from.
Another think it doesn’t tell you is how to run Conky. What’s Conky? Conky is a customizable system monitor. You know — something that tells you your CPU/memory usage, temperatures, HD activity stats and other geeky things most humans don’t care about. Here’s a one screenshot with Conky running on the right side:
You can install Conky by clicking System>Administration>Synaptic Package Manager. Then search for conky, mark it for installation and click apply. You can then run conky from terminal by typing “conky” in. You can also have it run automatically at login by clicking System>Preferences>Sessions, clicking Add, and just type “conky” (no quotes) into the Command box. There are also config files for conky people have made in their spare time that you can download to save you the trouble of reading the manual and making conky into something uber nerdy looking. A HUGE thread on Ubuntu Forums can be found here that has a TON of files with screenshots you can browse over for different looks and themes.
Finally, the last thing that’s not talked about in the above mentioned blog is how to install a dockbar, like the one at the bottom of screenshots like this:
Check out this guide to read more about installing one of these things.
Lastly, it’s highly recommended you have compiz enabled, if possible. Otherwise you will probably have problems with themes that look best with customized transparency of certain things, and the same goes for dockbars.