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When you first install Gnome on Gentoo you may be disappointed to find that it's not quite as pretty as, say, Ubuntu. However, Gentoo is all about choice. The reason you have arrived at this page is that you choose not to be ugly!

Note: When using a non-x86 architecture, don't forget to replace any instance of "~x86" in the following commands with whatever platform applies to you.


The ximian-artwork package contains Ximian Desktop's GTK, Galeon, GDM, Metacity, Nautilus, XMMS themes, icons and cursors

emerge ximian-artwork

No you can't... ximian-artwork no longer exists in portage. There is no discussion of its removal in the forums either.

Setting up

Run gnome-theme-manager if you have GNOME No you can't... gnome-theme-manager is not installed on a system where the user has followed the gnome install instruction in this wiki. , otherwise edit your ~/.gtkrc (for gtk-1.x) and ~/.gtkrc-2.0 (for gtk-2.x) to set the Industrial theme.

Run xmms and change the theme to Industrial

Run gdmsetup (or configure from GDM screen) to change the GDM theme to Industrial.



There are a lot of really good looking cursor themes available for download from theme sites (extract downloaded themes to ~/.icons), three OK cursor themes are already in portage. Install them.

emerge blueglass-xcursors golden-xcursors silver-xcursors

Please note that ximian-artwork also contains a cursor (Industrial) theme.


emerge gcursor

No you can't... gcursor is hard masked in portage. gcursor is no longer hardmasked, just ~ARCH masked

{{Note | With recent versions of gnome (at least 2.14.2 onwards, if not earlier still) you can change mouse icons by going to:

Desktop > Preferences > Mouse }}

No you can't... There is no option in that dialog (which is System -> Preferences -> Mouse now) for setting the cursor. as of 2.22 that option is in System->Preferences->Appearence, Theme tab->Customize, Mouse tab

File: /usr/share/cursors/xorg-x11/default/index.theme
[Icon Theme]

Alternatively, cursors sets can also be added manually by copying or moving their base directories (usually the directory with the theme's name, often inside a parent directory called "cursors") to the directory /usr/local/share/cursors/xorg-x11/. Be careful not to forget the "local" part in that path, since any manually added themes in /usr/share/cursors/xorg-x11 (the directory containing the system-installed themes) will automatically be deleted whenever the xorg-x11 package is updated through portage. After manually adding a cursor theme to /usr/local/share/cursors/xorg-x11/, simply modify /usr/share/cursors/xorg-11/default/index.theme (/usr/share again, not /usr/local/share) as instructed further above. Place the theme's (directory) name right behind Inherits=.


You will find that, if you have installed the themes from the previous sections, that you'll have several different types of icons you can have for your folders, trash, terminal.. etc shortcuts. Chances are the the gnome-theme-manager has automatically changed them according to you chosen theme. If you want, you can change the icons from their default or download more from sites like gnome-look.

The GUI way

You can change the icons from the gnome-theme-manager by clicking on Theme Details and then selecting the Icons tab. There should be a small selections of themes there already. If you want more you can click and drag a tarball into that window or manually add the icon package to ~/.icons.

The manual way

Extract the icons in /usr/share/icons/ or ~/.icons.

Add this to ~/.gtkrc.mine:

gtk-icon-theme-name = "[name-of-icon-theme]"

Note: The icon theme name is the name of the folder in /usr/share/icons/ so if the folder was named archlinux-icons you would put archlinux-icons as the [name-of-icon-theme].


There used to be a Ximian'ed version of OpenOffice available. However it has been deprecated since the release of 2.0. To get roughly the same Ximian'ed look install the regular openoffice ebuild. If you install the binary openoffice-bin ebuild you will get the official (not Ximian'ed) openoffice look, though it is not as bad as the old 1.x look.

NOTE: To make OpenOffice blend in with your GNOME environment you need to have the gnome use flag set. (KDE users should try the kde use flag)

USE="gnome" emerge -av app-office/openoffice

Preferred way to do:

echo "app-office/openoffice gnome" >> /etc/portage/package.use && emerge -av app-office/openoffice

Mozilla Firefox

There are GNOME themes available at There are 5 different flavours to suit your theme. Simply click on the install button for the appropriate theme, and follow the instructions in firefox. Note that this only installs for the current user.

Mozilla Firefox 3.0 uses the gnome icon theme... by default, whatever theme it is, so please move along

Alternative Method

The latest clearlooks stable is included in the gtk-engines package in portage.

emerge gtk-engines

Download the Clearlooks Metacity theme from

Then, in the Gnome menus, select:

Desktop > Preferences > Theme > Install Theme 

Browse to the file you just downloaded, click open then install.

Add the clearlooks effect to your theme

Theme Details > Controls/Window Border > Clearlooks

3D Desktop Switcher (deprecated)

You can have a very nice workspace switcher: 3ddesktop

This package has been somewhat obsoleted by OpenGL compositing window managers such as compiz. 3D Desktop isn't as smooth as these compositing window managers, but doesn't require much video memory.

  1. emerge 3ddesktop
  2. right-click on the panel and select Add to Panel
  3. Select Custom Application Launcher
  4. Command 3ddesk
  5. Maybe even give it a nice icon
  6. ok
  7. alt-click Workspace Switcher on the Panel
  8. select Remove from panel

For more information, see this nice article on the Ubuntu wiki. You can of course use the examples in /etc/3ddesktop.conf to rebind your keys so that <Control><Alt>Right executes /usr/bin/3ddesk --gotoright instead of launching the Workspace Switcher. That was a must before I could switch over!

Save dialogs expanded by default

The GTK+ save dialog that is used by GNOME and many applications such as Firefox 1.5, OpenOffice 2.0 (in GNOME environment), and others, has a default setting of showing only a "Name" field and a default "Save" folder. The directory tree is collapsed, and in order to save a file in a folder other than the one selected, one has to expand "Browse for other folders". For some twisted reason known only to the enlightened minds working on this matter, there is no way to control this behavior either through gtkrc-2.0 or something similar. Therefore, if you're one of the people really annoyed by this 'feature', you'll be willing to patch your GTK+ in order to have the dialog expanded by default.

The steps to take are these. First, download this patch, which should work for GTK+ 2.8.6 and probably for other versions as well. Then, create a custom ebuild for your version of GTK+ in your local portage tree, adding the following line after any other epatch lines:

epatch ${FILESDIR}/gtk+-dialog.patch

An ebuild for gtk+-2.8.6 can be downloaded here. The patch should go into the files directory of the ebuild, which should be in x11-libs/gtk+ in your local portage tree (e.g. /usr/local/portage). Now remerge GTK+ with

emerge --oneshot -v gtk+

and after it's finished you should have yourself ever-expanded save dialogs!


You can see (and upload your own) Gnome screenshots in the GNOME Screenshots page


Discuss your ideas in the discussion page.

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Last modified: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 08:40:00 +0000 Hits: 117,872