Ubuntu 11.10 Look Overhaul

Posted on November 14, 2011
Filed Under Linux | 5 Comments     

I have been using Ubuntu 11.10 for about two weeks now. During this time, I have been switching back and forth between Unity and Gnome 3 shell interface. I am finally convinced that I am not a Gnome 3 person, and the right choice for me is Unity. I don't want to explain the detail, but to me, Unity just works, and it works pretty well. However, after I had been using Gnome 3 for a while, I am kind of addicted to its look. So, I question myself if I can mimic its look in Unity. After a few attempts, I came up with the following. If you are interested at how it was done, please read on.

Changing the Wallpager

This is an easy step. In Unity, right click the desktop, and choose "Change Desktop Background" to change the wallpaper. Choose the one used in Gnome 3. If you don't see the wallpaper with the blue stripes, try to add it. It should be under

Use gnome-tweak-tool

Next, install gnome-tweak-tool package. Open up termnial and type
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

After installation is completed, launch the configuration tool. Open the Unity dash, and type "Advanced Settings."

Now you are in Advanced Settings window. Click "Theme" tab. You are presented with several options to tweak the look of Unity. Select "Adwaita" for both of your GTK+ theme and Window theme. In the next step, I will show you how to install an icon theme.

Install Icon Theme

Download the Elementary icon them from


Create a folder named ".icons" under your home directory, if that folder does not exist. After that, extract the icon theme into ".icons" folder. After this step, you should have something similar to this


Now, open the Advanced Setting tool. (Note that if you have it opened it the previous step, close it and relaunch it again.) Select "Elementary-mono-dark" as your Icon theme. It should look pretty good now. If you want to add Conky to your desktop, please see next step.

Add a Conky Panel

Conky is a my all-time favorite system monitor. My CPU has 8 virtual cores. Sometimes it's just fun to watch how each core performs under heavy load.

First, install the package

sudo apt-get install conky

After that, create a file name ".conkyrc" under your home directory. It's up to you what to put in this file. Apply your imagination. Please see http://conky.sourceforge.net/screenshots.html for some sample Conky configuration files.

If you want to use mine, you are welcome to do so. I have uploaded my Conky RC file below for your convenience.

Download my .conkyrc

To display Conky panel, type "conky" in your terminal window.

Start Conky Automatically upon Login

First, create a script to start conky. Under your home directory, create a file named "conky_start.sh", and insert the following content:

sleep 15 && conky;

I put 15 seconds delay in the script, to help conky panel to display in the right layer.

Next, open Startup Applications Preferences. You can launch it by opening Unity dash, and type "startup applications." Create an new entry as shown in the screen shot. Conky panel will be displayed automatically upon your next login.

If you have question or any other thoughts, please drop a comment.

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5 Comments so far
  1. [...] Posts Ubuntu 11.10 Look Overhaul If you find this post useful, consider donating a few bucks to help the server running [...]
  2. Dana Ross February 21, 2012 2:45 pm
    Thank you. Your Bash script for loading Conky really worked.
    I'm using Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity.
    I had to change the script to executable. Some people might not know that.

    Great going.
  3. alex April 16, 2012 4:43 am
    prime@ubuntu:~$ Conky: can't open '/sys/class/hwmon/hwmon0/temp1_input': No such file or directory
    please check your device or remove this var from Conky
    Conky: Error destroying thread
    ***** Imlib2 Developer Warning ***** :
    This program is calling the Imlib call:


    With the parameter:


    being NULL. Please fix your program.

    being NULL. Please fix your program.
  4. alex April 16, 2012 4:44 am
    can you please fix this for me
  5. oz.vc June 18, 2014 6:11 am

    Code Central...

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