Ubuntu Mate 18.04 and the colours tab


So apparently Ubuntu Mate 16.04 is EOL, which surprises me considering Ubuntu LTS releases are 5 years - However, I've been on 16.04 for many years now so it looks like an upgrade is on the cards.

My PC is used for work, there are many customization's and software installed to aid workflow, so there are a number of things I am going to have to get configured again - TBH this is something I'm not in any way looking forward to.

However, there is one glaring issue, and for many of us it 'is' a big issue. Apparently the colours tab under Appearance > Customize is gone due to changes to GTK+, this is a big problem as green and the standard colour scheme just isn't going to cut it for me - I need to be able to change Windows colour, input box colour, selected items colour and tooltips colours as well as text colour due to the fact that I by far prefer a dark theme with no green.

Has anyone come up with a workaround for this issue? I'm personally so tired of Gnome devs locking everything down to their way. If I can't find a solution it may be time to switch to a KDE based distro as a long term and very happy Ubuntu Mate user for many, many years.

Any experience/advice before I upgrade is greatly appreciated.

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A hacky solution that works for any theme is to search/replace all of the colour values for the theme you'd like to use. You should be able to copy the files from /usr/share/themes/Ambiant-MATE/ (for example) into ~/.themes/Ambiant-MATE/, or edit them (as root) directly.

The MATE Color Selection tool will come handy for viewing the colours behind the hex code (e.g. #87A752). Use a text editor to replace all references to them.



If you open the folder in the terminal, this command will show the lines that have that value:

grep -r '#87A752'
gtk-2.0/gtkrc:gtk-color-scheme = "base_color:#ffffff\nfg_color:#4c4c4c\ntooltip_fg_color:#ffffff\nselected_bg_color:#87A752\nselected_fg_color:#FFFFFF\ntext_color:#3C3C3C\nbg_color:#F2F1F0\ntooltip_bg_color:#000000\nlink_color:#A7BB85"
gtk-3.0/gtk-main.css:@define-color selected_bg_color #87A752;
gtk-3.0/settings.ini:gtk-color-scheme = "base_color:#ffffff\nbg_color:#f2f1f0\ntooltip_bg_color:#000000\nselected_bg_color:#87A752\ntext_color:#3C3C3C\nfg_color:#4c4c4c\ntooltip_fg_color:#ffffff\nselected_fg_color:#ffffff\nlink_color:#A7BB85\nbg_color_dark:#3c3b37\nfg_color_dark:#dfdbd2"

Depending on the theme, there may be more differing colour values, such as if a lighter shade of green is used (#A7BB85), so it's a bit of a strenuous task.

It's probably worth mentioning that some themes available in 16.04 (GTK2) may not be compatible with 18.04 (GTK3), such as Ambiance-Colors. :frowning:

I'm still running 16.04 too, but despite the flavour officially no longer supporting 16.04 any longer, the base of Ubuntu is still supported for 5 years.

In future, I'd be interested to find a way to generate Ambiant-MATE themes with chosen colours. :thinking:

PS. That app in the lower-right of your screenshot -- what a coincidence the developer of that app would be replying here. :smiley:


Are you the developer of Polychromatic Controller? I love that software!

Thanks for your tips - They're painful, but they do offer a glimmer of hope! People need to realize that it's not the consistency of a UI that makes an OS popular, if anything Windows with it's mishmash of a touch/desktop UI under Windows 10 and it's constant changes with every variant of Windows should be evidence of that.

The only reason Windows is popular is due to the fact it's installed on the device when you buy it, a unified UI isn't going to change that.

If an application doesn't display correctly due to the fact I changed the colours of my theme, it's a very rare scenario that I can handle as I did it myself.

Yep, and thank you! If I'm not working on Ubuntu MATE's bespoke apps (like Welcome and Software Boutique), I'm working on Polychromatic, and vice versa. If only I had a bit more focused time since both projects have some nice improvements in the works. :cog: :clear:


May I say, you are doing an awesome job. Thank you so much for your efforts, Polychromatic Controller is one of the most polished Razer front ends I've ever seen!

That screenshot's got me all excited!

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