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Themes & Graphical customizations

The phosh UI utilizes GTK3 for themes. The look of the majority of Mobian can change when selecting different system themes. Some applications may need specific configuration changes to align with the chosen themes, for example, in the case where an application doesn't honor the system theme.

Mobian does not provide any specific theme itself. All of these themes are provided by the upstream debian repos. We provide a gallery of how some of these themes look like on a mobile phone using phosh. Please extend and complete the gallery, this is an editable wiki!

As there is no GUI for configuring the system theme in Mobian, it needs to be configured from the command line.

Theme Configuration

Generally prefer dark themes

Rather than setting a specific dark theme (described below), the following setting gtk-application-prefer-dark-theme can be used to automatically prefer a dark variant of a theme if one exists. This can be done by configuring this in ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini:

[Settings]
gtk-application-prefer-dark-theme = true

Example: With the theme Adwaita selected, and this setting configured, the system will use the Adwaita-dark theme.

Configure a theme from the console

To configure a theme, it can be done via command line using gsettings. Theming changes are applied on the fly and persist across reboots. In case of glitches, phosh, the phone shell should be restarted (save any open files before executing this, forces new login): systemctl restart phosh

Example: Selecting the Adwaita-dark theme:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme 'Adwaita-dark'

Configure Icon Themes

For icon themes (installed e.g. with sudo apt install papirus-icon-theme ), set them with:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme 'Papirus'

Bright or dark variants should be automatically selected, you can enforce them, by choosing:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme 'Papirus-Dark'
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme 'Papirus-Light'

Setting Background wallpaper

The wallpaper cannot be seen in Phosh, but it will be briefly shown when one starts an application until it appears. It can be set in the Settings app under Background.

To set the background in a terminal, use

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri 'file:///home/mobian/Pictures/{yourpicture}.jpg'

(If you get the file incorrect, gsettings will not throw an error but will leave you with a white background.)

If you want to change the background on the app grid or the lock screen, check out here.

Themes can be recognized as packages installing files under: /usr/share/themes/*. See which you have available and installed. Some themes change default keybindings of the system (e.g. the preinstalled Emacs theme ONLY changes keybindings).

Preinstalled themes

Preview Name / Package name Description
Adwaita
gnome-themes-extra-data (gtk2)
libgtk-3-0 (gtk3)
Adwaita is the default theme for GNOME and Mobian
Adwaita-Dark
gnome-themes-extra-data (gtk2)
libgtk-3-0 (gtk3)
Dark version of Adwaita

Additional themes

Preview Name / Package name Description
Adapta
adapta-gtk-theme
Adapta is an adaptive theme based on Material Design Guidelines. The package contains the variants: Adapta, Adapta-Eta, Adapta-Nokto and Adapta-Nokto-Eta.
Adapta-Eta
adapta-gtk-theme
Slightly slimmer version of Adapta, with narrower borders on elements like scroll bars, and the taskbar. Allows for more things to fit on the screen.
Adapta-Nokto
adapta-gtk-theme
Darker version of Adapata theme taking the border colors to the rest of the view.
Adapta-Nokto-Eta
adapta-gtk-theme
Slightly slimmer version of Adapta-Nokto, with narrower borders on elements like scroll bars, and the task bar. Allows for more things to fit on the screen.
Arc Arc is a flat theme with transparent elements for GTK+ 3, among others. Arc also includes a GTK+ theme for Plank.
Arc-Dark Fully dark version of the Arc theme.
Arc-Darker Partially darker version of the Arc theme. Darkening some additional elements like headers.
Arc-Lighter At first glance this looks the same as the standard Arc theme.
Blackbird
blackbird-gtk-theme
Blackbird is a dark variant of the popular Bluebird and Greybird themes from the Shimmer Project. The Shimmer Project created the default themes for Xubuntu since 2009.

Note: It doesn't look like the progress bar is visible. Needs closer look.
BlackMATE Gnome 2.x inspired theme for MATE.
Bluebird
bluebird-gtk-theme
Bluebird was the default theme for Xubuntu 10.10 but since 2011, Greybird has been Xubuntu's default theme. As its name indicates, Bluebird is a blue theme. The Shimmer Project are the designers and developers of both Bluebird and Greybird.
Breeze
breeze-gtk-theme
A GTK Theme built to match KDE's Breeze. Widget theme for GTK 2 and 3. The package contains Breeze and Breeze-Dark.
Breeze-Dark
breeze-gtk-theme
A dark version of Breeze.
DarkBlood
darkblood-gtk-theme
A recolour of a night-style window theme by OriginalSeed. It is mostly black, with carmine elements, easy on the eyes of those who hack when there's dark outside.
DarkCold
darkcold-gtk-theme
A night-style window theme by OriginalSeed. It is mostly black, with dark blue elements.
DarkFire
darkfire-gtk-theme
A recolour of a night-style window theme by OriginalSeed. It is mostly black, with bright red elements.
DarkMint
darkmint-gtk-theme
A night-style window theme by OriginalSeed. It is mostly black, with dark greenish elements. Comes with a minty flavour; if you prefer colds over mints you might want DarkCold instead.
HighContrast Included by default with Gtk3
No good for Mobian as it has grey on black text making it difficult to read menu items, lock screen, etc.
Greybird
greybird-gtk-theme
Greybird has been the default theme for Xubuntu since 2011 when it replaced Bluebird. Greybird can be described as more conservative yet more modern than Bluebird. The Shimmer Project are the designers and developers of both themes.
Kali-Dark A simple yet elegant dark theme with electric blue accents.
Kali-Light A simple yet elegant light theme with electric blue accents.
Materia
materia-gtk-theme
Materia (formerly Flat-Plat) is a Material Design theme. The package contains the Materia-light-compact, Materia-light, Materia-dark-compact, Materia-dark, Materia-compact, and Materia themes.
Materia-compact
materia-gtk-theme
A slightly slimmer version of Materia allowing for more stuff to fit on the screen.
Materia-dark
materia-gtk-theme
A dark version of Materia.
Materia-dark-compact
materia-gtk-theme
A slightly slimmer version of the dark version Materia.
Materia-light
materia-gtk-theme
A light version of Materia.
Materia-light-compact
materia-gtk-theme
A slightly slimmer version of the light version of Materia.
Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge Numix
numix-gtk-theme
Numix is a modern flat theme with a combination of light and dark elements. The bright version seems to work well, but the dark varian has very difficult to read text on the top and bottom bar.
sugar-100 Sugar Learning Platform promotes collaborative learning through Sugar Activities that encourage critical thinking, the heart of a quality education. Designed from the ground up especially for children, Sugar offers an alternative to traditional “office-desktop” software.
Not a good fit for Mobian, it works, but a lot of elements look very bad, aren't visually functional (like the switches).

Themes which do not work well:

Blue-Submarine Part of the MATE themes (https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-themes)
Not a good fit for Mobian, uses grey on black text, some screens unreadable.
Green-Submarine Part of the MATE themes (https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-themes)
Not a good fit for Mobian, uses grey on black text, some screens unreadable.
GreenLaguna Part of the MATE themes (https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-themes)
No good for Mobian as it has grey on black text making it difficult to read menu items, lock screen, etc.
Menta Part of the MATE themes (https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-themes)
Not a good fit for Mobian, uses grey on black text, some screens unreadable.
BlueMenta Part of the MATE themes (https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-themes)
Not a good fit for Mobian, uses grey on black text, some screens unreadable.
TraditionalGreen Part of the MATE themes (https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-themes)
Not a good fit for Mobian, uses grey on black text, some screens unreadable.
TraditionalOk Part of the MATE themes (https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-themes)
Not a good fit for Mobian, uses grey on black text, some screens unreadable.
sugar-70 Not a good fit for Mobian, uses grey on black text, some screens unreadable.
Clearlooks-Phenix Clearlooks-Phenix is a GTK3 theme which is a port of Clearlooks, the default theme for GNOME 2.
Note: This theme is no good for Mobian. It uses grey on black, and some places text is practically invisible.
ukui-black The official desktop themes of the UKUI desktop environment.

Some elements are difficult to see.
Source at: https://github.com/ukui/ukui-themes
ukui-white Not a good fit for Mobian, some screen appear entirely black.

The “default” theme simply inherits the “Adwaita” theme and uses this. On Mobian the default theme is “Adwaita” (or “gnome” which only adds a few places-of-interest (POI) icons). See /usr/share/icons for installed themes. Icon themese will not only change the look of some application icons, but they will change the icons on toolbars, dialogs etc. whenever a place, device, action, is needed. So depicting an icon theme an application icon overview is really not representing icon themes well. Icon themes that are readily available from the debian repositories are:

Preview Name Package name Description
Adwaita adwaita-icon-theme The default icon theme
Papirus papirus-icon-theme (17 MB) This package contains the popular flat/material style icon themes: Papirus, Papirus-Dark, Papirus-Light, ePapirus
Papirus Dark papirus-icon-theme Dark version of Papirus
elementary-xfce-darker elementary-xfce-icon-theme (5 MB) Package contains the elementary-xfce, elementary-xfce-dark, and elementary-xfce-darker themes. Those icon themes seem to be very similar.
Flat Remix Flat Remix is an icon theme inspired by material design

Lock screen customization

WARNING: FOR GEEKS ONLY. This toot which is based on a reddit thread describes how to hack Phosh's CSS files in order to customize the lockscreen. (careful, this will break when phosh changes its CSS :-))

a phosh developer says: You can put your changes into `~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css` which GTK apps like phosh then pick up as an overlay.

App-specific customizations

Here are some applications which are known to not honor the system theme, or have other color related issues due to the change of the system theme, and methods of either fixing or adjusting the settings accordingly.

Telegram

Telegram has its own internal theme configuration located in Settings:

More themes are available under https://t.me/themes

Text Editor (gedit)

This application honors the system theme, however, a minor issue is with dark themes, the current line is highlighted but the text remains white.

To address this set this highlighting to “false” with

gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor highlight-current-line false

or

Switch to another scheme, such as solarized-dark, with

gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor scheme “solarized-dark”

Terminal Theme (kgx)

Set the kgx terminal theme to green-on-black with (the default is called night):

gsettings set org.gnome.zbrown.KingsCross theme hacker