How to replace Ubuntu MATE's green


No offense intended, green is one of my favorite colors. However, I still prefer the classic look of Gnome 2 complete with orange coloring. (Click here to see a screenshot)

So in this tutorial I will attempt to show you how to replace Ubuntu MATE’s green theme with Ubuntu’s Orange theme in Ubuntu-Mate 18.04.1.

Everything changed in Ubuntu-Mate 18.04 which made it more dificult to replace Ubuntu MATE’s green theme with Ubuntu’s orange theme. The following instructions shows how I accomplished the task.

1. Install Ubuntu 18.04 themes

sudo apt install light-themes

2. Copy /usr/share/themes/Ambiant-MATE and /usr/share/themes/Ambiance to the Desktop

3. Next I copied the orange asset files from the Ambiance theme to the Ambiant-MATE theme.

However, there are files in Ambiance/gtk-3.0/assets that are not needed in the Ambiant-MATE theme.

I wanted to remove these files, so I ran the following command to find all the unnecessary files in Ambiance/gtk-3.0/assets (This step could be considered as optional, if you don’t mind having the unnecessary files in the assets folder).

diff -rq ~/Desktop/Ambiant-MATE/gtk-3.0/assets ~/Desktop/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/assets

After the unnecessary files are found and removed (if you decide to do so)

Replace the contents of ~/Desktop/Ambiant-MATE/gtk-3.0/assets with the contents of ~/Desktop/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/assets

Note: there should be 447 files in each assets folder when done.

Also replace check-selected.png and radio-selected.png in ~/Desktop/Ambiant-MATE/gtk-2.0/assets with files of the same name found in ~/Desktop/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/assets.

4. Then Replace #87A752 (Ubuntu MATE’s green) with #F17949 (Ubuntu’s Orange), in the following files:


5. Copy ~/Desktop/Ambiant-MATE to: ~/.themes/Ambiant-MATE

cp ~/Desktop/Ambiant-MATE ~/.themes/Ambiant-MATE

Log out and back in to take affect.

6. To completely remove the green, including applications that run as root, rename /usr/share/themes/Ambiant-MATE to Ambiant-MATE-old. Then move The modified ~/.themes/Ambiant-MATE to /usr/share/themes/ and adjust permissions if necessary.

sudo chown -R root:root /usr/share/themes/Ambiant-MATE

7. If you use Compiz as your window manager, open CompizConfig Settings Manager, and open the Grid plugin. Under the Appearance tab change the Preview Outine Color (#87A752) and the Preview Fill Color (#74FB00) to #F17949, and uncheck Use Desktop average color.

To remove green highlighting in Pluma you will need to change Pluma color scheme to Classic.

Note: In the end I compressed /usr/share/themes/Ambiant-MATE-old and deleted the original to stop some color conflicts I was experiencing with Mate’s theme manager. I also purged light-themes after all this as they do not work correctly with Ubuntu Mate.

Ubuntu Mate needs to be more beautiful and attractive

I never used GNOME 2( I didn’t know about Linux then, didn’t even have my own computer!:expressionless:)… but one thing that scratches me is that it used to have two panels, which to me seem to waste most of the monitor space!

How do you work with two panels?! :open_mouth:


For example, I solved this issue by switching to 1920x1200 monitor. Extra 120 px do the job! :smile:

Also for me two panels on 1366x768 screens is not the problem if I do not use big IDEs such as NetBeans, Eclipse and so on.


I regularly use two panels and I never knew Gnome 2 until this week with an ubuntu 10.10 vm, I figure my two panels together are no wider than default windows taskbar or Unity s sidebar maybe actually narrower I use the top panel for application launching and indicators, the bottom for window and desktop switching, I use it because I have found it to be very efficient, however I do try other layouts out occasionally, btw gnome 2 came default with two panels but it could be modified to look much like anything MATE could be, however Gnome spent many years developing Gnome 2s layout and I respect the effort and knowledge that went into it and think that there is a reason they went with the layout they did


I only ever use two panels. Have done since way back in 2007.

The top panel has the traditional menu at the left, the clock and other indicators at the right and any shortcut launchers I use regularly in between

The bottom panel has a desktop iconify icon on the left and the trash can and desktop switcher at the right. In between I have all of my open applications as icon buttons

See below:

For me, it’s predictable, rational and efficient. Other opinions are available.


I do a lot of programming, moreover my monitor isn’t that big, so having two panels seem kinda waste of space. But I can see how it can be useful and efficient, specially on bigger monitors… :slight_smile:


It’s not for everybody but those who use it find it very efficient, but that’s why we use Mate it can be used in many different layouts😁 instead of being restricted


I’ve always been curious about how people with this layout handle closing windows.

Let me explain; for me with a single bottom panel, if I want to close a (maximised) window, I sweep my cursor to the top left, and without even looking, click, and the window’s closed. With two panels, I have to look and check to see where my cursor is, and then click.

Am I missing something?


I find 2 panels (top & bottom) not the best solution for me: 32" monitor with a 2560 x 1440 resolution and still think that an additional panel is a massive waste of space (therefor I’m using the Redmond layout with only one “toolbar” / “panel”). Closing maximised windows is easy (top-right, as a former Windows user).

Everyone is free to choose what best fits their needs. And this is GREAT!
(by the way, don’t think we’re missing anything :smile:)


one can look at it that way but one also knows where every thing is at on their panels usually, top right application launcher… not saying a two panel layout is always better but I do think for many people it is an efficient method of usage, at least once one is used to it; one reason that I tend to dislike the redmond layout is the imo everything cramped together feel when one has several programs open and is using the window list it quickly becomes hard to read each label and imo becomes not much better than the dock or similar application switching applet, as for closing windows I guess I’ve never been bothered by it, also if I want to work very efficiently I often use keyboard shortcuts which I find faster than any mousework just my experience


Either panel can be set to autohide.

To me two panels make sense, mostly because that’s what I’m use to using. And this is one of the reasons I prefer Linux. Two panels, one panel, traditional, familiar, green, orange, it’s my choice.

It’s not just to do with appearances either. With Linux I choose how my operating system is going to preform a task, instead of my operating system choosing how I’m going to preform a task.

The power of Linux is only limited by the level of our understanding of how it works.


You are not missing anything because what you have works for you.

For me, I tend to have a lot of programs open at the same time. That being the case, having all of the open application buttons on the same panel as the menu, indicators and clock (as well as launchers for regularly used programs) would lead to the buttons being so bunched up, I would end up not being able to make out what was written on them. But, by having the buttons on a separate, more or less dedicated panel they remain sufficiently spaced out for it to be usually possible to read them all easily. I would say this is my primary reason for having two panels.


Thanks for this. V. useful to me when I had to reinstall OS and remember/recreate all the steps.

Note that while in theory it is possible to store themes in $HOME, doing this will leave Synaptic Package Manager - and anything else running as root - using a different theme (next available public theme taken in ascending order?) as it does not (cannot?) access your local theme.

And FWTW, storing custom cursors - eg. dropped DMZ-White - in your $HOME should work, but gets ignored at boot, so they also have to go in File System.


Yes, very true. You can simply drop the modified theme folder into the .themes folder in your home directory and it will appear in the Appearance Preferences Theme tab.

Correct, any application that is running as root will use the default theme for root, which is /usr/share/themes/Ambiant-MATE.

This can actually be helpful in that any application that is running as root will be using the default Ambiant-MATE “green theme”, instead of the newly created “orange theme”. This way when you see a application with green icons and color, you will be reminded it is operating as root.

However, I prefer all orange, which is why I replaced /usr/share/themes/Ambiant-MATE with the modified theme. Please take note that I did make a backup copy of the original first.

It is good practice to always make a backup of any system file that you plan to modify. :slight_smile:


That makes sense, - my core query was related to how you close windows. I’m assuming you just use a keyboard shortcut instead of swiping to the corner and clicking, either that or clicking on the taskbar item or x with a little more visual concentration.