Chad Cuddigan

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Make Ubuntu 10.10 shine with the Elementary theme, Docky, and the Faenza icon pack

25 Oct 2010

The latest iteration of Ubuntu, Maverick Meercat, is the first release where Canonical took a real interest in making it look and feel better and it shows – the prepackaged Ambiance and Radiance themes look great out of the box. But what’s the fun in running a linux install without customizing anything? We can make things look even better by taking a few minutes to install a new theme, icon pack, and dock.

The results

What we’ll use

  • Elementary theme (including Elementary-Nautilus)
  • Faenza icon pack
  • Docky in replacement of the bottom panel

The latest Elementary theme for Gnome can be found at author DanRabbit’s Deviant Art page or it can be installed using via the terminal (Applications → Accessories → Terminal).

Installing the Elementary theme

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:elementaryart/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-them

After running the commands above the Elementary theme will appear as a choice in Appearance Preferences, under System → Preferences → Appearance. The Elementary developers have built their theme to work best with the pared down Elementary version of the Nautilus file browser that 10.10 comes packaged with. The lightweight Nautilus-Elementary stands alone even without the new theme so this is just a great excuse to start using it.

Installing Nautilus-Elementary

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:am-monkeyd/nautilus-elementary-ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

After installing Nautilus-Elementary logout and log back in to start using the new file manager. Making the folder breadcrumbs appear correctly using the Elementary theme will require a small fix: In Nautilus head to Edit → Preferences → Tweaks and check the ‘Show like breadcrumbs’ checkbox.

The Faenza icon pack has been gaining some notoriety as one of the best looking icon packs available, if you haven’t already done so this would be a great time to check it out. The easiest install of this pack is, again, via the terminal.

Installing the Faenza icon pack

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tiheum/equinox
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install faenza-icon-theme

Finally we can install the Docky application dock to infuse a bit of OSX flavoring to things. My favorite feature of Docky has to be it’s window dodge style hiding, with that setting enabled the dock will only be visible when not obscured by a window but is always accessible by moving the mouse to the edge it’s been attached to.

Installing Docky:
Head to Applications → Ubuntu Software Center
Search for Docky, and install it
Remove the default bottom panel (Right Click → Delete This Panel)

Now you should have a desktop that rivals anything this side of the desktop world so stand back and enjoy your handiwork or, better yet, keep on customizing.

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