Better themes for 20.04

A much better theme. IMAO, our current theme is really ugly ;( We could rebase on Yaru with the MATE colors or use the mate version of my theme:
Now moved to


@codic current Ubuntu Mate theme, and Backgrounds are beautiful, are perfect, I admire them every day, is the best theme all Linux desktop alternative has, when I open the Caja and I admire that combination of green... so amazing
If you want something else, no one stop you to do alternatives...that some user can install and use.
Or maybe switch to something else, Gnome....


That is your opinion. In my opinion, although the colors are beautiful, the widgets look outdated. The mate version(s) of my theme have the same colors but look nicer as they follow Material Design. :wink:

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Sorry, we have KDE, we have GNOME and also others that are "modern", but the Mate is so vibrant, it has the right combination between flat and intense, it has the right colors, and right combination of colors.

As I said, probably no one will stop you to do alternatives, personal I will use the default current one. I have looked on yours, you don't need to put it two times but personally I prefer default one.

And by the way, personally I don't like rounded edges like Gnome has (trash design), as I am focused more on professional, classic, sharp, precise, design.
Yours look quite good, but I really love the current Mate one.

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If they are UGLY why don't you chose other distribution my friend, what keeps you to use an UGLY staff.

Some people put some effort to this design (and it was not me), but you don't understand it. Everything has been selected with attention, If you don't understand it, is your problem.

Sorry - there is diversity - so I can chose, and I chose Mate, no KDE, no Gnome, no Xfce, so I don't want Mate to became something else than it is.

When all will be same, will be nothing to chose, so I want to chose, you can do the same and move out to something else...there are other free option, you don't have to pay for them, if you are not able to customize yourself this desktop.

And yes I am old, I don't have 16 years old to like fancy shi_tty design, design that will resist one year, and after that move to other fancy shi_tty one "made for consumers uaaaau"


Sorry for previous reply, No I really love Mate, it's fast and I will never use any of those desktop managers based on javascript (Gnome3, Cinnamon...), I tried almost every distribution on the internet and every time I reinstall Mate, it's really robust and fast distro, what it needs is just some new elegant theme and it will be perfect, those radiant and ambient themes are ugly and less esthetic.

I think Mate has some ugly themes, but not the default one, my mother does not like dark themes, so I put a white on, probably from all I just found to be better TraditionalOK... so on the white themes not so god contrast/design

I also think there is some inconsistency between themes regarding display

Yeah again, I really love the colorscheme, but I want a slightly more modern look, or Ubuntu MATE will fall behind. If not the default, at least include a modern theme so that users can use it :wink:

@codic , if will be available one white theme better than current Mate has, made by you, I will sure use it on my mother PC, because I really like your design..
I chose the Light-mate one, (the blue button, or what it is, I consider as theme error)

Default themes are OK.
If you like them, use them.
If you don't, install whatever floats your boat. This is the magic of Linux. You're not under Windows or Mac OS.
I'm not gonna force the devs to remove or add a theme because of my opinion about it. You can't satisfy everyone anyway.

Personally, I tend to choose my theme based on my wallpaper and not the other way around. Naturally, they never fit together so the best thing for me is to tweak Materia theme colors easily using their script.

You can try Mint-Y themes from Mint distro, they work well with Mate.

From Linux Mint Packages you can grab the needed packages in the following order : mint-x-icons, mint-y-icons and mint-themes.

Thenks @Med_Medin
My mother does not want to see black/grey at all - and in picture your bars are black.
Second, I don't know how to install those, I use Linux from couple of years, but with default/choosing themes that comes with distribution.
If installing is easy, maybe I will try something.

You must be old to love the current themes

This is unnecessary.

Liking a theme is entirely subjective and personal, and I would encourage all to behave civilly.

Hate and love on the themes all you want, but please refrain from personal attacks


What theme error are you talkin about?

As vkareh says, theme preference is very much just that: preference.

edit: wow, sorry - this ended up much longer than I planned...
TLDR: Choice is good, but adding unstable trend-chasing themes is bad, since users can install custom themes at will anyway. Materia specifically though may be worth special consideration.

That said, "Material Design" (as a central principle, not any specific instance of it as a theme etc) is objectively, and has repeatedly been shown to be, fundamentally BAD design, with the issues it engenders over whether an element is active or not, its accessibility-hostile nature, and so on.

But in practice, that doesn't matter as much as whether or not you like it, because bad UI design is something you can get used to (especially when it's as prevalent as it is on a lot of websites and devices now), and at that point simple familiarity with it effectively negates most of its defects.

What I personally find most interesting in this thread is the mention of

I cleaned up a bunch of issues in TraditionalOk a while ago, and set things up so that colors could be changed fairly trivially, but it still involves editing multiple files by hand, and elements with hardcoded colors in them (radio buttons etc) need to be changed separately as well. That's an unrealistic amount of work / knowledge / whatever for any normal user to have to deal with, and they shouldn't have to in the first place.

Even if the solution is clunky and hackish, like a shell script, that's still significantly better than nothing, which is where GTK3 has left most themes in terms of customisation. So regardless of how bad Material themes are in the abstract, I think that Materia, as a specific theme, has value to it; and I'd love to see an underlying system in place that supports that sort of choice for some of the "popular" themes.

Whether Materia itself belong in the base install or not is a different question, and not one I really have a strong opinion on, but right now I'd rather NOT have more added there.
They may be lightweight in terms of disk space, but having the Appearance panel cluttered with dozens of random themes doesn't really benefit anyone. However, currently nearly half the themes that ARE in 19.10 are already just colorswaps because of GTK3's suckiness: Menta / BlueMenta, BlueSubmarine / GreenSubmarine, and so on. Fix the color problem and you halve the number of base themes, and that "frees up" space for new themes to live in, regardless of their underlying design "philosophy".
At that point, adding a new theme every once in a while doesn't have much negative impact, so if it allows an additional group of users to "be happy" right out of the box then it's pretty easily a net win.

For trend-chasing themes specifically, I think there's a reasonable concern that such themes may change significantly from one release to the next (especially for LTS users) which means you either have a proliferation of variations or you make some portion of the existing users unhappy, so it's arguable that "unstable" themes are better off on a website or etc than in the packages themselves.

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Here's the little script I made.

1 - Requirements:

  • git in order to clone the theme from Github.
  • gnome-themes-standard (if you encounter an Unable to locate theme **engine** in **module_path** : "adwaita" error during the install, this should help).
  • inkscape and sassc to generate the theme.

2 - Editing the script:
Just replace yourthemename in all 4 occurrences with whatever you want and the 7 colors with yours. I use mate-color-select to find the right ones.

For your information:
BG = Background
FG = Foreground (text)
MATERIA_VIEW = Background color (in Caja, for instance)
HDR_BG = Header background
HDR_FG = Header foreground (text)
SEL_BG = 'Selection background' I guess. The accent color.

When ready, save it and give it a name materiacustom for example.

3 - Launching the script:
Open a terminal window in the directory where the script is located and enter chmod +x materiacustom && ./materiacustom. It will ask for your password during the installation in order to move the theme to /usr/share/themes so that it works with apps like the firewall and ligthdm settings.

Once installed, it will switch to the custom theme automatically.


  • Auto-applying the custom theme wouldn't work correctly without adding a one second delay so I added it with sleep 1.
  • You can uncomment the two lines about icons and cursors if you use those themes (Papirus Icons and Capitaine cursors) or want to put your own instead and comment the notification line as well if you hate it.
  • If you want to easily change the Papirus folders color, use Papirus Folders or Oomox if you want a really specific color. Oomox can tweak Materia theme as well but will use the one included in the Oomox package, so it is likely not the latest Materia Theme.
  • Just relaunch the script every once in a while if you care about Materia Theme updates.

Have fun.

cd ~/
git clone
cd materia-theme
./ -o yourthemename <(echo -e "BG=1F1F26\nFG=FFFFFF\nMATERIA_VIEW=2C2C37\nMATERIA_SURFACE=3C3C4B\nHDR_BG=212128\nHDR_FG=FFFFFF\nSEL_BG=A991A3\n")
sudo mv ~/.themes/yourthemename /usr/share/themes
rm -rf ~/materia-theme
sleep 1
gsettings set org.mate.interface gtk-theme 'yourthemename'
gsettings set org.mate.Marco.general theme 'yourthemename'
#gsettings set org.mate.interface icon-theme 'Papirus-Dark'
#gsettings set org.mate.peripherals-mouse cursor-theme 'capitaine-cursors'
notify-send -i preferences-desktop-theme -t 1500 'Materia Custom Theme' 'Update complete'
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Neat. :slight_smile:

You're missing SEL_FG, which is critical unless you want to greatly restrict the colors you can have.

GTK3 also introduced a "prelight" selection for a lot of elements, and unfortunately they didn't realise (or more likely, didn't care) that it's literally impossible to do that WELL if you only repaint ONE of FG/BG: you're basically guaranteed to have poor contrast with it, unless you take the approach that e.g. "all text is always black, and the selection BG is light blue and the prelight BG is also a pastel color", etc.

Right now I just blend the selection BG HUGELY towards the normal BG, but it's so broken by default that I'd be very tempted to explicitly separate it out into its own color, and ideally its own color pair.

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Yup, but there's no mention of SEL_FG in

This script is GREAT! It works with any theme right? I'll probably use it for making more variants then

It just uses the script from the Materia Theme repo. I'm not sure if it works for other themes, maybe for yours since it's Materia based.

I made that script because I'm lazy and it simplifies the whole process ( Download the theme, change the colors, move the theme to the right dir, delete the default theme dir and apply the custom theme/icons/cursors).