Eric Matthews , Canada

Aurora Gtk Engine

GTK2 Themes Jan 03 2009
Score 72%
28 Dislikes

Obsidian Cursors

Cursors Jan 06 2008
Score 76%
24 Dislikes

Polar Cursor Theme

Cursors May 07 2006
Score 75%
25 Dislikes


Metacity Themes Jan 09 2006
Score 73%
27 Dislikes
Aurora Gtk Engine

GTK2 Themes 347 comments

Score 72%
28 Dislikes
Jan 03 2009
Thanks for that piece of information. I was able to find the offending change between Blended and my recent changes. The source of the problem was not what I expected. For some reason the problem was a couple semi-transparent lines drawn over the button background gradient(to give a stronger shadow). Changing those lines to be opaque ended the flickering. - Jan 03 2009
There is a solution to this problem, but it comes with two disadvantages. One, button order would no longer be configurable. And two, there would be no spacing between the buttons. I'll give it a try and see how it turns out, as yes flickering window title borders can get annoying pretty quickly. - Jan 03 2009
As it seems there is interest in this, I'll do a separate release of the Metacity theme with the same variations I have for Blended. - Jan 03 2009
Thank you for this suggestion. The change has been made for the next release. - Jan 08 2008
1. Knob on sliders:
In next version the slider button for the scale widgets looks much more like a normal button in terms of brightness and shading.

The scrollbars have been tweaked slightly, in the next version, so that the border blends with the shadow edge of the trough and the scrollbar has a darker border. This helps make them look cleaner. I have tried a variety of things such as reducing the width and making the scrollbar the same with as the trough, but the results were not improvements. The changes I have made for the next release should help somewhat with what you've commented on.

The Aurora tabs have always been more muted than what was done for the clearlooks style. In the next release though, the gradient has been reduced by three factors: lighter colour, shorter length, and lower opacity. In compensation to make the tabs more distinctive the border is more intense and has a faint glow. So I think the issue people had with the clearlooks tabs won't apply here, but let me know if you still see an issue after the new version is released and I will do something for the following release.

I should also mention that I plan to release the next version within the next week, so you'll see these changes soonish. - Nov 10 2007
To make that change, open up the gtkrc file for the theme you want to modify and add:

GtkScrollbar::has-secondary-forward-stepper = 1

in the style "theme-default" section, you'll see that a similar expression is already there for the bottom scrollbar stepper buttons. - Nov 10 2007
Actually for gtk-menu-popup-delay the default is 225. I've decreased that to 50 for my themes, so you should be seeing quite the opposite. Submenus should show up faster using one of my themes than using most other themes, (unless others have been making this change in their themes as well, or perhaps your distro has changed this default). - Sep 15 2007
If everything has compiled fine and you've copied the themes to your ~/.themes directory then to change your theme under GNOME you need to open Theme Preferences (under System > Preferences > Look and Feel > Theme Preferences, in Fedora 7 I believe) and click the Customize button and then from the tab labeled controls select which theme you want. - Aug 20 2007
First thanks for all of your feedback. The problem with dragging icons in Nautilus is fixed in this update (1.1).

As for the different background on the "new" button in Evolution, that's caused by the theme's use of a lighter toolbar. Without going into the details that button is placed in some widget that is has an opaque background which is covering up the toolbar so we see a mismatch in the background color. Evolution seems to use custom widgets for this toolbar and or button and I was unable to easily figure out what the culprit is. However if this issue bugs you, you can add:

widget_class "*.*Toolbar*" style "theme-toolbar"

to the .gtkrc file with the other similar statements and that issue will go away (it could, however, create others in different applications, although I couldn't find any). If you want more details contact me by email through the one listed in my profile here.


- Jun 13 2007
The Metacity theme is Blended, also by me. You can find it here on Either search for it or you can find it at the top of the list for "most downloads" in the Metacity section. - Jun 13 2007
In regards to the CPU usage, this is caused by a smaller animation step time than used by other engines. (Done in order to update often enough to have button animations smooth). I had not noticed the high CPU usage with the progressbar animation before and I will make sure this is resolved one way or another before the next release. As for the latest development versions of gimp segfaulting on you, I have not experienced this with gimp 2.3.16 myself (Using gtk 2.10.11). I will have to wait and see what happens when I update to gtk 2.10.12, thanks for the feedback. - May 12 2007
Can you send me a screenshot of this? I'm not clear on the issue just from the description. Any other information to go along with this would be appreciated too: GNOME version, or if it happens anywhere else as well, thanks. - May 12 2007
Good news! I've figured out a way to solve the problems in both Nautilus and Inkscape with frames without having to change the look of all the frames. This will be in the next release. - May 01 2007
Found the source of this. This, like the issue with Inkscape, is tied to the fact that I draw I draw a fill inside frames. Now I have to decide if this issue with Nautilus and the one with Inkscape is reason enough to back out the darker fill on inset frames and lighter on shadow out frames... - Apr 30 2007
From my viewpoint the default theme belongs with the engine, both as a reference for other themes and as part of the engine's identity, so I'm going to leave them together. I could place the dark theme and the clearlooks color theme in a separate package but I don't see what advantage that gives. Is there's a reason why you want this?

In regards to my modifications of the widget factory, I've emailed the author about the changes I made, a week ago, but have yet to receive a reply. I'm going to try again and if I don't hear back I will make my changes available. - Apr 30 2007
I see this in Ubuntu 7.04 but not in Fedora development, both of which are using Nautilus 2.18.1 and the latest gtk. I can only assume that this is either caused or prevented by a distro specific patch by one of the two. If other people experience this who are not using the latest Ubuntu I'd like to know. - Apr 30 2007
The only thing I can think of here is if you've changed the colors in the color tab of Theme Details (away from the defaults) and then changed the theme. If the theme uses themeable colors (like all 3 of mine do) then the colors won't change. To make them change you have to press the revert button in the color tab to make it pick up the theme's colors. If this isn't your problem then I'm at a loss to what's causing this and any more information would be helpful, thanks. - Apr 23 2007
Yes, there are quite a few new things that my theme does both big and small that haven't been done in other themes yet, some of which would make good additions to Murrine I think. And I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts/comments on the theme. - Apr 16 2007
Here's the background on how this theme came to be. At the beginning of January when I began work on this theme neither Clearlooks, Murrine or Ubuntulooks provided the appearance I was after in a theme and nothing seemed to be happening with the development of Clearlooks and Ubuntulooks. Murrine was then, (0.40.1 my branch point) by your own description focusing on being faster than Clearlooks by using less gradients and your work on it seemed to be on adding different glazestyles and options for widgets. What I wanted was a theme that provided a consistent look with a little more eye-candy than was available at the time and that themed (to the maximum extent possible) all Gtk widgets which no theme did. So that's why Aurora came into existence, and in the end the changes I have made have been very extensive compared to its Murrine base.

That is also why I think Aurora is a good fit with the existing clearlooks based engines. Clearlooks provides a nice plain and simple look, Murrine is the engine if you want a glossy look and/or lots of choice over its appearance from all the options provided. And my theme provides an engine that provides a consistent look over all widgets with some more eye-candy than the other engines.
- Apr 16 2007
I presume this is with either Firefox 1.5, or Firefox 2.0 with a theme like Tango or other such that uses Firefox's gtk emulation for the addressbar. Unfortunately I don't think there's anything I can do here to address this. If however, you are seeing something strange with the default firefox 2.0 theme I would be greatful for a screenshot showing the issue as I haven't seen anything.

Thanks again for the feedback
Eric - Apr 16 2007
On the issue of arrows for scrollbars and drop down buttons being too large, I use size 12 font (the screenshot I provided with the theme is size 10 fonts). So the arrows are basically optimized for size 12 fonts at the moment. The problem is that the arrow size for drop downs are fixed and don't scale with the button size so one size must be chosen for all. Even looking at my own screenshot for size 10 font they seem a little large and certainly so if you use a smaller font size.

Now that I've covered the background I will probably adjust the size slightly to better accommodate size 10 fonts as that is the default size for many distributions.

I presume by range sliders you mean the scale widgets (the ones used in apps like music/movie players for track progress). I chose to make the sliders fairly dark but if it's a contrast issue I can lighten them by default.

Finally for arrows on the scrollbar they do scale to the arrow size, so if you find the scrollbar width is also wider than your liking you can decrease the size of:
GtkRange::slider_width = 19
GtkRange::stepper_size = 17
in the .gtkrc file (just noticed a bug that my horizontal arrows don't seem to be decreasing in size as much as the vertical arrows when changing those parameters, will fix before next release)

Thanks for your feedback.

- Apr 16 2007
Almond (5 version)

Metacity Themes 51 comments

Score 73%
27 Dislikes
Jun 28 2006
Hopefully this will explain it better. For the "draw_normal_btn_min_overed" button the coloured highlight makes the border lighter. This makes it look like the button in growing 1 px to the left when you move the mouse over it even though the size does not change. You should make the normal window buttons work like the dialog ones where the border colour does not change on the “prelight” state. Move your mouse on and off the minimize button on a normal window a couple of times looking carefully and you should see what I mean. Hopefully this helps. - May 23 2006
I think you're off to a very good start here, however there are a couple of things I think could be improved. First consider increasing left_width and right_wdith to 3 or 4 pixels instead of 1, this will make resizing windows much easier than it is now. Something else that will help with the usability of the theme would be hover states for the unfocused windows so you know what button your mouse is over. Another thing is due to the highlight and colour change on the minimize and close buttons (for normal windows) it appears that they change shape when hovered over. The last thing you might want to consider is making the outline a little darker to increase the contrast between the windows and what's beneath them. I know that might sound like a lot of things but I think with some polish this will become a very nice theme! - May 23 2006

Metacity Themes 60 comments

Score 73%
27 Dislikes
Jan 09 2006
This reply is more than a little late (so I know you may never see this), but I figure that more than just you would be interested in this. I fiddled with this sort of idea myself, but because of the large variation in selection colours (brightness and saturation) it's unlikely there'll be a setup that looks good for all themes. That's why the focused buttons are fixed as white. I might look at this again sometime, but anyone is welcome to give it a go if they like. - Jan 09 2006
I can tell you you're not the only one with this point of view because I share it as well. I think the windows look a bit nicer without the buttons, however I understand that not being able to see them is not helping the usability of the theme. I've posted a third screenshot labeled work in progress and it shows some of the changes I am planing on including. The only other change that isn't shown in the image is pressed buttons look slighty etched. Any feedback is appreciated, let me know if you like the buttons for the unfocused windows. - Sep 24 2005
Thank you (and everyone else) for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. - Jul 31 2005
How to install

1) Open the theme manager. If you don't know where it is then run: gnome-theme-manager in the terminal.
2) Click "Install Theme", browse to where you downloaded the file and click "Install"
3) A dialog should popup telling you the theme was correctly installed
4) Click on "Theme Details" then "Window Border" and choose the theme.
5) You may have to restart the theme manager for them to show up.

If the themes are not showing up or only one of them installed then:

6)Extract the file you downloaded to a convienient location
7)Copy the 4 folders to /home/your user name/.themes/
8)Open the theme manager navigate to window border as above and choose the theme.

If this doesn't help or something else is going wrong (ie themes not showing up even after following the above) post again or email me. - Jul 31 2005
In the latest upload of the themes:

in the Blended folder there is a text file that explains how to remove the icon from the title bar (just a few lines need to be replaced.) Just follow those instructions and you can have your themes without the program icon.

I won't be offering any versions without the program icon, as then I would have 8 versions of the theme, all with only slight differences. So if you really want the theme without the icon just follow the instructions (should take only a minute or two) and you're all set. :) - Jul 23 2005
I thought I might mention other potential changes that I'm considering for this theme.

1. Differentiating the utility windows, perhaps with a smaller title/buttons

2. Changing the look of the unfocused window, I might add in a lightened button tray so that it's clear where the buttons are.

Suggestions and feedback are welcome : ) - Jul 10 2005
The default theme will stay the way it is (rounded:top, square:bottom), however for the next update (earliest next weekend) I will add that as an option. - Jul 10 2005
I wanted the window widgets to be very clean that's why they are a fixed size, but I didn't know how many people used smaller font sizes to know if it was an issue. Including a smaller variant might not be the best option but that's what I've done for now. Just nake sure that Blended_small gets installed and you're all set. I checked it out with your screenshot and it should look fine with the small variant. - Jul 02 2005
Polar Cursor Theme

Cursors 32 comments

Score 75%
25 Dislikes
May 07 2006
Finally got a chance to test this out and I've found out what needs to be done to fix the problem. It appears that when installing the cursors through the Control Center that the symlinks are not copied correctly. To solve this problem all you have to do is extract the PolarCursorTheme folder to /home/your username/.icons/ and that should solve your missing cursors problem. - Oct 08 2005
Ok to change your cursor theme for your gnome session, first extract the PolarCursorsTheme folder to
/home/your username/.icons/
Then open up the gnome configuration editor (gconf-editor) and go to desktop>gnome>peripherals>mouse and change the cursor_theme key value to PolarCursorTheme. Finally you'll need to log out and restart X before the changes will take affect.

Now there is a program that will do this for you called gcursor available at with it you can install a cursor theme just like you would a GTK or Metacity theme.

Hope this helps. - Oct 02 2005
I installed KDE on my computer hoping to encounter any of problems mentioned, instead however, I came up with more unique ones. KDE 3.4.2 (on FC4) displays the wait cursor properly (when it's used), the resize cursors are fine, however the wrong ones are used for vertical and horizontal resizing (but I think I can fix that one, linked the wrong cursors most likely). It also appears that when you drag anything in Konqueror it defaults to the system cursors including for link and copy.

From reading the comments in other themes here it seems there might have been a problem with earlier versions of KDE not preserving the symlinks when installing a theme (which would explain at least the resizers not showing up). If you have an older version of KDE then I would suggest installing it normally then extract the theme and copy the cursors folder over top of the one in /home/your user name/.icons/PolarCursorTheme/

If anyone can give me the info on what the symlinks are for cursors in programs like Nautilus and Konqueror (perhaps they've changed recently?), so that the proper cursors show up, I would be greatly appreciative. Or for that matter anyway of finding them out too. - Aug 31 2005
Can you give us a bit more information so we can help you out? Perhaps your desktop version, GNOME/KDE and your method of installing the cursors? Do any cursors sets work properly for you? - Aug 30 2005