Ubuntu Desktops-Home

Beautiful Desktop Environments, For Humans. View My Entire Gallery Here.

Prologue: So you maybe thinking, how do you get a desktop to look like this? Is it practical? Does It draw attention? Thats all up to you, responding to the term that i have heard over and over: "The beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and if my desktops do not attract you, there is no reason to make your's like mine. I have seen many different designs and styles that did not look attractive in my mind, and I never had any intention of making my desktop look like them. Feel free when using this guide.

Desktop 1 Click Here For Full Size

This Desktop is my most recent, as you can tell almost right away, the Desktop environment is GNOME. The Linux desktop can run many window managers, the most popular being GNOME, KDE, XFCE, fluxbox, and openbox and many more.

The Main Ingredients

GTK2 Theme: MurrineMire v2 By Lyrae

Emerald Window Boarder : Found In The Link Above

Icon Theme: Areo (Rare)

Fonts: Trebuchet MS-7 (you are looking at it right now)

Wallpaper: Mandolux Black Daisy


You maybe wondering, how come the panel looks a certain way, or why the applications' main menu are in the tool bar. These are all little tweaks that make the largest impact in your final product, and can be considered as the "icing on the cake."

Installing GTk2 Themes & Icon Themes

First before installing  themes, you must make sure that you are running the right gtk-engine to display item correctly. To install gtk2-engines, search your synaptic. The most popular gtk2-engines are clearlooks, murrine, pixbuf, and many more. They can also be found here. Now for the installation. If you are in gnome you can easily select the system>preferences>themes icon and select your tarbell from the install button, or you can manually extract the tarbell in your ~/.themes/ folder. Same goes for icons, except your ~/.icons/ folder.

Start Button

The default start button varies do to your Linux distribution, in Ubuntu you will see the orange ring. Changing this button can make you have a large impact on your desktop. Here you will find a good guide on how to change it.


What you can't see in this screenshot is an AWN bar, set on Autohide.

This bar acts as the same way the dock will act in OSX, allowing you to change your windows or to open applications, and with its rapidly growing online community, awn forums the panel is being modified with patches to create reflections, or even display album covers and stack groups of files.

Mac-like Menu Bar

As you can see in my screenshot above, the File Edit View.. etc are placed on the top of the screen in the main panel instead of on top of the application which came with the default look. I think that this not only saves space, but it provides a more "clean" look to the applications that you are running. Remember, whatever you plan on doing is completely up to you. To achieve this look, this guide provides a shabby how to.

Desktop 2 Click Here For Full Size

This Desktop is fairly recent, another GNOME desktop, and is almost completely based of the GAIA theme found at gaia.customize.org. This theme was ported and made by gtk-theme god Lyrae.

The Main Ingredients

GTK2 Theme: GAIA By Lyrae

Emerald Window Boarder: GAIA By NeedCoffee

Icon Theme: Areo (Rare) and GAIA

Fonts: Mayalam 7.4

Wallpaper: We Are The New Economy



The gnome-panel in this screenshot was simple to make, but does not look as easy as it seems, the actual panel was made in photoshop by myself and you can find it here The start-here.svg or start button was a simple white down arrow on a transparent background so it works with all themes. I made on photoshop and you can find it here

Desktop Icons

To achieve the look of my desktop icons in the shop, simply right-click the icon you chose to change, and select properties, and click on the picture of the icon itself to navigate to the icon of your choice.

Emerald Tweaks

Using emerald-theme-manager is very easy to tweak your *.emerald themes simply open it up, highlight the theme of your choice, and click the edit tab, allowing you to edit almost every aspect of the theme. In this case, I only changed the hight of the bar to save more space and changed the font for my better liking.

Theme Changer

To change my GTK themes I use a program that is very friendly called gtk-chtheme, you can find the source here and you can compile it using basic cd, make, sudo make install functions. The final product will look like this.

Desktop 3 Click Here For Full Size

This is one of my most favorite desktops, based off the popular lightweight desktop environment Openbox. To me, simplicity is beautiful and productive, and you will not find a better window manager than openbox. Once again, this theme contains almost all ingredients made by Lyrae.

Main Ingredients

GTK2 Theme: Nova By Lyrae

Openbox Theme: Nova by Lyrae

Icon Theme: You guessed it.... Tango (default installed)

Fonts: Lucida Grande & Other Mac fonts

Wallpaper: Lazy Days II on Interfacelift.com


Before We start tweaking away, I want to say that openbox is all about tweaking and you will have a blast with t your final outcome.

Openbox Menu

The openbox menu is what you see when you right-click any blank space on the desktop, this is your most important tool. You can edit your openbox menu by using any editor(my preference is Leafpad, found in the repos) and editing your ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml. This can get really tricky, so thats why there is a tool called Obmenu that makes menu editing as simple as a couple of clicks and clacks. Here is a simple guide on installing obmenu.


If you are wondering how I got shadows in this desktop environment, wonder no more. The way I did this is by using a simple composite manager called xcompmgr (found in repos). Start it by using a command like this

xcompmgr -c -t-5 -l-5 -r4.2 -o.55


See that small group of text in the bottom left hand corner of my screenshot that monitors the stats of my computer? That my friend is called Conky (also found in repos). The program itself reads off a file in your ~ directory named .conkyrc, edit this file using any editor of your choice. Want your conky to look like mine or others? Check out this thread for pages of ideas.


Take a gaze at the program that is shown in the screenshot that is showing all the wallpapers, that is a small and simple program called Nitrogen. This is a great guide on installing and using it. Here is a precompiled deb.

Pypanel (Not Shown in Screenshot)

Pypanel is a simple panel that is based off the simple and quick programming language python (found in repos too). Its contents can easily be modified by editing the ~/.pypnelrc and its end product will look similar to this. Here is my .pypanelrc

Tint (also not shown in Screenshot)

Tint, or tint task manager (ttm) is also a very lightweight application that can help you easily change windows while still staying stylish. It is also very customizable and its end product should look something along the lines of this. For different variations/customizations, look here.Here is a precompiled deb of ttm.

Visibility (not shown in Screenshot too)

Visibility is a program that serves the same purpose as tint, but is based off a more iconinc window switcher as apposed to the text-based switcher of tint. For different variations/customizations, look here. Here is a precompiled deb of visibility.

Here is what dbbolton's visibility looks like

Fonts, Installing Them, and Making them Look better

First of all, let me explain the beauty of fonts. Fonts put the "attitude" in a desktop, you are who your fonts are, weather they are complicated or minimalistic, they have a large impact on the "look" of your desktop. Here is a good guide on installing fonts. To make the fonts look smoother in gnome, edit your .fonts.conf and place this in there. Restart X by rebooting or logging out or in to notice the difference. Nice Eh?

Desktop 4 Click Here For Full Size

In this desktop screenshot, I am running the quick and lightweight window manager Fluxbox, which is much like openbox, but based on older tech. Much like openbox, it runs on a right click menu, but to edit the themes, you need to navigate to the ~/.fluxbox/styles/ folder and manually edit the theme files to change a font or some other variable. Fluxbox also comes with a panel that runs automatically like gnome-panel.

Main Ingredients

GTK2 Theme: Nova Lime By Lyrae

Window Border: Nova By Lyrae

Icons: Tango-Style

Fonts: Trebuchet MS for theme, Avant Garde LT Medium for Conky and Panel.

Wallpaper: Twins from GNOME-look.org


Installing Fluxbox themes

Installing a fluxbox theme is very simple just extract the tarbell in your ~/.fluxbox/styles/ folder, and then select the theme through the right click menu.

Editing the Fluxbox Menu

Editing the fluxbox menu is much like the openbox one, but not in xml, you can use a text editor to do this, or you can take the more practical and easy way out by installing Fluxmenu, this link will show you how to compile and use fluxmenu to ease your fluxbox customization time.

Changing Icons In flux or openbox

If you are not running a gnome-settings-daemon, you will need to change the icons manually using a text editor. Simply add the line to your ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file to say

gtk-icon-theme-name="IconThemeGoesHere" (with quotations)

Matrix Screen?

You might be wondering, what is that cool app running in the terminal? is he in the matrix? No silly, that is a program called cmatrix, that believe it or not, is in the repositories, other cool programs like this include cowsay, or telnet (when used on specific sites) try telneting towel.blinkenlights.nl

The End For Now August 16-12:16AM-2007

Important Links

Want to see the rest of my desktops? Visit my picasa web album here












and many more.

Big Thanks Goes To:

Everyone @ gnome-look, box-look, ubuntuforums.org, customize.org, and deviantart.com

Questions Concerns?

Contact me at syassami@gmail.com

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