(This was first posted on the discontinued blog at mjjzf.eu)
I love Gnome 3. It is one of those cases where I do because I do. It has something. The animations are fluid, the overview is great, and pulling up a new app is just – nice, that is all I can say.
It was not always like that. I was using Xfce and Gnome 2 when Gnome 3 came out, and back then… well, it was a fairly painful experience. Crashes and weird stuff.
In recent years, I have developed a great fondness for Fedora – of course you can stick any desktop on there, but Gnome 3 suddenly started growing on me, and now it is my go-to desktop choice. My x220i runs it flawlessly, even if one might expect it to be underpowered.
But there is one thing. I have a hard time with the default theme. I do not mind that there is a permanent top bar or that it only shows the currently focused app, because the overview is so easily accessible. I rather enjoy the focus. But the grey window decorations and the icon theme – well, they are not for me.
So I have also grown a fondness for the Arc theme – specifically, the Arc-Darker version. Not exactly the only person in the world to discover it – it seems to be quite popular – but it seems to me to be a perfect fit for a slick dark desktop on a slick dark machine.
So the process is this:
- Install the Arc theme. Until recently, it needed to be installed separately, but it is now available on the Fedora repos. The Arc Github page features instructions on how to install it on other distributions as well.
- That gives me nice colors. But the icon theme does not really match. Now, in my opinion, the best icon theme comes from the beautiful Elementary distribution. Fortunately, the Elementary icon theme has been made available in other distributions. So I pull in the icons.
- To administrate it easily, I also pull in Gnome Tweak and use it to set up the icon and Gnome themes.
- Of course, I grab a photo from my own collection for a desktop wallpaper.
- Some things still look off. I am a big Firefox user, and after the tweaks mentioned above, it has a certain good-not-great look. But the developer also made an Arc Firefox theme, which he has made available as a Firefox theme extension. I install it, and Firefox is almost great. Still, there is one more little thing. There is still a double top bar – Gnome at the very top and the Firefox top bar below it. it makes for a pretty thick bar on the top. It turns out – which I just discovered and which made me write this down – that it is actually since version 60 possible to remove the bar. It is simply to press Menu > Customize and remove the checkmark for Titlebar in the bottom left. Now, the top title bar is gone, and I get maximal use of the screen.
- Finally: I have a weakness for Claws Mail. This program will handle my just over 40,000 emails without any problems. It is, however, also another program which is not particularly visually appealing until you do some tweaks. I should probably write more about that later, but it should suffice for now to say that I change the message lists and body fonts to Sans Condensed and the icon theme – which Claws does not inherit from the Desktop Environment – to be Elementary as well. It is available for download from the Claws web site.Eventually, what I end up with is this view: