May 30, 2009

Give Gnome A More Modern Look

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When compared to KDE 4, OSX or Windows 7 the default Gnome desktop looks… let’s face it… old. Here are a few steps I took to make my desktop look more modern:

- Change the theme:

I’m using the Dust theme which is included in Ubuntu 9.04 (also available for earlier releases).
- Change the icon set:
I find the Oxygen icon set to be one of the best set’s out there, I really do love the upcoming Breathe icon set. Although Breathe is still work in progress you can already take it for a test drive.
- Change the wallpaper:
Of course I use the photo wallpapers from my Ubuntu Wallpaper Photo Pack, which recently was updated and now holds eighteen photographs (43 MB).
- Adjust panel properties:
Transparent panels look very modern and makes the panels more integrated with the desktop background. Under panel properties I also set the size to 34 pixels.
- Add custom system sounds:
The sounds I’m currently using are the Rhodes system sounds I created myself.

If you like to rock out with your dock, I would recommend that you try Gnome Do.


  1. Breathe and Oxygen are too cartoonish. Hydroxigen (from is what looks modern in Gnome

  2. How do you install the sounds in Ubuntu Jaunty? I can't for the life of me find out how to use them...

  3. I think it's Breathe not Breath for the icon set. Also, how were you able to get a fully transparent gnome panel using Dust (or any of the themes included in Ubuntu)? For some reason I cannot get any of the extra themes to have transparency under the text (Applications, Places, System) and some other parts of the panel. I thought this had to do with the Murrine engine that was used to build them. The default Human theme makes the bar transparent just fine for me.

  4. LegoAddict: System -> Preferences -> Sound. Click the Sounds tab and double-click on default or disable to change the sound.

    Jonathan Blackhall: You won't get fully transparent gnome menus (Applications, Places, System), only the panel. Sorry :-(
    Thanks for the heads up about 'Breathe'

  5. Thanks. I just looked again and apparently they fixed the problem in Dust since I last checked. To clarify, I wasn't talking about the menu itself (i.e. the background under "Accessories" when you click on "Applications"), I was talking about the background of the word Applications on the actual gnome panel. Anyway, it's fixed now, but apparently they're still having the problem in New Wave: