Thursday, 20 November 2008

Creating a theme for Ubuntu

Let's face it: Linux themes are pretty ugly. Ubuntu's default theme beats most of them. The brown and orange might remind Mark Shuttleworth of his origins. I will spare you the details of what it reminds ME of.

Tangerine, ClearLooks and all the other prepacked themes are no better.

Ubuntu 8.10 comes with a new theme: DarkRoom. It makes one increasingly sucidal.

I've tried some stock themes from and The results are sobering (On the right is the most appealing window decoration I found so far. It's called Almond and was last updated in 2006).

I envy Mac users for their simple, visually appealing and intuitive interface. It seems that neither Microsoft nor the whole Linux community can come up with something that can compare to Apples GUI.

Is it really so hard? To find out will create my own theme.

... the Austrian Ubuntu Theme (AUT) ...

Here is my plan:
  1. Read into the subject: I have to understand how Gnome uses Metacity and rendering engines to draw the GUI.
  2. Define how the theme should look like
  3. Modify an existing theme to learn how things interact
  4. Create raw minimal theme: I have to figure out what is minimally required
  5. Resolve extras (Panels, awn)
  6. Learn how icons work
  7. Create a customized set of icons
  8. Make a .deb installer to install the theme on any machine
  9. Test on several machines runing Ubuntu (8.04.1 LTS and 8.10) and possibly Debian
  10. Write a HOW-TO that covers more than the bare Gnome tutorial
  11. Start a SourceForge project
I will post here regularly. Your recommendations are welcome.

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