How to Create Operating System Themes

with many names. One of them which has gained a good popularity is called as Ubuntu. I can say this is the first kind of operating system which can beat other commercial OS. Good graphic layout, nice navigation features, free supports, etc makes the operating system easier to handle. Many of us are working on Linux. Talking about customization Linux offer a lot more than any other operating system. Leaving all other distros I will concentrate on Ubuntu. Because if you learned something on this, then you will find similar settings in other also.


Maximum Linux Distro uses Gnome. This is a kind of user friendly desktop environment used on open source operating system. In simple word it is the explorer.exe of Linux. Do not get confused, it is far better. To make your own theme in Linux you will need to understand and learn about Gnome modification. Modifying Gnome will let you to customize your entire systems looks. Another important point for writing themes for Linux is to understand about GTK Theme. This theme determines the content of Linux desktop that is the toolbar, menu, buttons, etc. There are number of parts in which Gnome is divide or better to say made up of. They are as bellows:

Icon Themes:

This is the first part where you define the icons. This is used in the menus and toolbars. I have a short tutorial on this which will guide you to work with icon themes. Basically the default location for the icons is stored in different directories. The location can be /usr/share/icons or /usr/local/share/icons. So first you will need to determine where the icons are stored. The location above contains a number of sub-directories which is used to categorize the content properly on the base of size and types. The format the supports are png, svg and xpm. Each of this extension has function which you have to understand. The first one .png is considered to be good for bitmap icons while svg for vector icons. XPM gives legacy support to the theme. The themes content is properly defined by the index.theme config file in Gnome. This is the second important part which you must take care.

Lets Begin with creating Icon Theme:

index.theme config file: This is the first step to being. This is the actual theme file which will be used. Create a folder first. Before making the theme I want to tell that the entire work of theme is based on .ini style config file. This file is responsible of defining various sections of theme. So this should not be broken. Code used are: 

  • [IconTheme] - The layout part. It consist of [Directory], Size = IconSize, MinSize = IconSize, MaxSize = IconSize, Threshold = SizeThreshold==, Type = IconType, Context = IconCategory and Type = IconType.
  • Name = ThemeName - The name of theme shows in Gnome Theme Manager
  • Comment = Any comment on theme shown in Gnome Theme Manager
  • Directories = Contains all elements based on icons size, or category.
  • Inherits = This consist of RootTheme. It helps