It is pretty common knowledge, around the Linux world, that simply adjusting a few prescribed settings in the preferences/appearance/themes part of the menu, will not always cut it. Since coming to Linux, a while back, I have been plagued by mouse cursor issues; with the most persistent issue presenting as my cursor having a difficult time making up its mind – concerning what what to wear that session – you know, that annoying "hybrid-theme" cursor. For those, like me, who fancy the redglass cursor theme; but hate the incompleteness, and other issues with it; you may take a liking to the gtk-Breeze-Red cursor, a KDE crossover cursor theme for gtk+. I have only been using it a few days; but its a keeper. Since coming to Linux, though, I have pretty much always used the X-cursor theme redglass, set at "16" (small to medium).
Now for the problem: As many of us already know, regardless of the chosen cursor theme, what happens is that various user activities force us to put up with briefly changing cursor themes and sizes, with most every app engagement. Before this configuration fix, I had: 1) an oversized redglass on the desktop, 2) the size I wanted - on my MATE applications, 3) the default DMZ cursor theme in Firefox, and 4) a combination of all three versions in LibreOffice, and most other software applications.
After about eight months of digging, I realized that none of the advice, on the net, worked 100% for MATE. There were still going annoying issues with the cursor theme changing-up in the middle of every session - that annoying "hybrid theme." The advice typically had you putting, or tweaking, configurations files in various "default" folders – in the "~/" directory, and/or, in the "/usr/share/icons" folder. I can vouch that none my versions of MATE 1.08-MATE through MATE-1.16 ever did have one of those "default" folders; thus you first had to create them – only to achieve little to no success. This cursor problem definitely has levels of severity, too; but if you carefully do what I have instructed, here, then all mouse cursor headaches should vanish. Anther thing that they have us MATEaholics doing is creating symbolic links all over the place; that's a cool thing for many path oriented needs; but, unfortunately, my MATE, with Compiz + Emerald did not cooperate enough for any of this advice to workout - for those proposed cursor fixes. Anyway, I read a hundred tutorials; experimentally tweaked a couple of dozen different files; got on all the official document sites put out by gtk+; and, finally, honed-down a, perfect, personal recipe. I have given these steps out to be tested by me, and others at the office, throughout many sessions. We have yet to experience even one annoying mouse cursor issue since
It is important to, first, note that in order for this method to work properly, your actual theme folder must reside in "/usr/share/icons" and not merely just somewhere in "~/" - i.e., hidden icon and/or theme oriented folders and files of your home directory. My method puts you in charge of making your cursor theme (and the other gtk+ themes) persistent and global – whether other potential users wish to use your cursor theme, all the time, or not. So if you do not wish for a wholly global cursor theme, hanging out in your rig – stick with exclusively altering the hidden “.folders” and “.files of your “~/” directory. Unfortunately, if you are experiencing issues caused by Emerald, none of those "local only" methods really work – from my experience – and via what I have read over the course of the last year and a half; so, I can’t help you there.
Also, I will use the examples of size "16" and the cursor theme "redglass" for the totality of this tutorial – so just substitute your theme preferences for those values).
In MATE, you need to access gsettings via your dconfig Editor.
In dconfig, first go to:
You will change/confirm the size and theme name there
Then in dconfig Editor, go to:
Again, you will change/confirm both the size and cursor theme name there.
Then, for good measure, locally, put a set of values in for the size and name of your cursor theme.
You plausibly do not have a special ~/ file (hidden in your home directory), yet, called ".Xresources" - and assuming that you don't, please create that new ".Xresources" file, there, in your home folder, as root. (the easiest way is to do this is to access your home directory via "Open as administrator," with "caja-extension-gksu")
In that same text file please put:
Then, on very next line, directly underneath, (if your cursor theme supports multiple sizes) put:
The whole deal should then look like this (with your theme and size substituted):
By the way, step 2 will do a good job - all by itself - in MATE; for "local only" cursor theme configurations - so long as you are not running Emerald
While putting your theme in "/usr/share/icons" is one method, which is supposed to keep your theme more consistent, it is actually this next step which ensures that every aspect of your theme is set everywhere – and that means absolutely globally. Notably, when MATE is using Compiz + Emerald - GTK, will, at the very least, present various applications having an issue where the cursors briefly, but consistently, change to the unwanted default cursor; when the cursor hovers over window edges, drags, or re-sizes app windows. And depending on their configuration, many users experience a total "hybrid" cursor scenario – changing themes and sizes with every app engagement. This issue is not Compiz, Emerald, or MATE specific; but with the combination of all three running things – you will likely get this buggy effect, at least, sometimes.
We will now fix this age old problem – once-and-for-all; so long as you are good with your mouse cursor theme showing up globally – even in your lightdm greeter. (I am, pretty much, the only one who uses my rig; so this situation is ideal for me)
Step 3 will be handled in "etc/gtk-3.0/settings.ini"
Go to "etc/gtk-3.0" and open the "settings.in" file in root (remember the "Open as administrator," method, with "caja-extension-gksu" - if you prefer to do it that way)
Now, in root, in the "settings.ini" file, carefully modify the values of the gtk-cursor-theme-name to what you want (there, your other gtk-theme values can, likewise, be modified, if you wish). Again, in all of my examples, here, I will be using "size "16" and "redglass" - and due to user preferences, yours will look a little different; but you can figure out where to switch-out these values by the example, below:
gtk-theme-name = Numix
gtk-cursor-theme-name = redglass
gtk-cursor-theme-size = 16
gtk-icon-theme-name = GNOME-Noble
gtk-fallback-icon-theme = gnome
gtk-enable-primary-paste = false
Your gtk+2 folder, if you have one, will likely have its values left blank, or commented out, or both. Even though I have the new 'all gtk+3' setup – complete with MATE 1.16, I went on ahead and still tweaked this one too; but I'm not sure there is any reason too. The crucial thing to do, though, is to reset your above, gtk3 vaules.
Maybe older MATE installs, i.e., the ones with gtk2 in it, will benefit from the below tweak – either way, I can't see how it could hurt anything; so below is the gtk+2 configuration, if you want it: (note that in gtk+2, the values actually go between quotations; but only, in the gtk+2 file – not in the gtk+3 file)
gtk-theme-name = "Numix"
gtk-cursor-theme-name = "Breeze-Red"
gtk-cursor-theme-size = "16"
gtk-icon-theme-name = "GNOME-Noble"
gtk-fallback-icon-theme = "gnome"
In "/etc/sysconfig/windowmanager" go and carefully make sure that everything matches up there; if not, change any values (in root) which do not represent your desired values.
For Compize Users Only
In your CompizConfig Settings Manager, go to "General Options. There, it opens right up to show you the cursor theme values, as well as the cursor size values; they are probably blank – so fill them in.
Logout/login and that's it!