New Clearlooks Metacity & Xfce theme!

My fellow Clearlooks developer Daniel Borgmann has been working on an early christmas present for all of you :) Behold the all new shiny Clearlooks 2.0 Metacity theme!

Clearlooks 2.0 Metacity screenshot
It goes really well with the upcoming cairo version of Clearlooks.

Get the cool stuff here:

compressed archive clearlooks-metacity-2.0.tar.gz
compressed archive clearlooks-xfwm4-2.0.tar.gz

To install it, unpack it to /usr/share/themes and overwrite the old metacity theme (the metacity-1 directory). I got problems when I placed it in ~/.themes but your mileage may vary ;)

Update: Added the Xfwm4 theme.

44 Responses to “New Clearlooks Metacity & Xfce theme!”

  1. a Says:

    The colors do not seem to be from the same pallette that clearlooks uses. Otherwise it’s nice though.

  2. Michael Says:

    Can you please change back the animation direction for the progrss bar? The current direction (left to right) is nice when the progrss bar is not moving, but it is pointless on a moving prograss bar - and it looks even worse than a non-animated one on a moving bar…

  3. keeg Says:

    Very nice work, thx a lot.

  4. Tomasz Torcz Says:

    Nice. I wonder how pinstripe edition will look.

  5. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    a, do you mean Clearlooks from gtk-engines 2.6.x (clearlooks 0.6.x) ? If so, then that’s right. Clearlooks 0.7 (gtk-engines 2.7.x, CVS) uses a different color scheme.

  6. Jason Says:

    Michael - I see the left to right as “pushing” towards completion and right to left as “pulling” back progress. For me, left to right seems to make more sense.

  7. Taku Says:

    Very nice work Richard, thanks for the stuff, it’s really very appreciated.

  8. Christian Says:

    I agree that the progress bar should animate from right to left.

    I think the buttons are not that clearly distinct from the progress bar as they should be.
    Also, the colour transition on the buttons is very strong and therefore the symbols are not quite easily readable.
    Perhaps have a rather smooth colour transition on the buttons, and give them different colours, e.g. red for the “X”, yellow for the square and green for the _. Macintosh-like, that is.

    Just my thoughts.

  9. Michael Says:

    progess bar:

    animation from left to right seems more natural, yes… but if you watch this on a moving progress bar, the animation is not noticable, or worse, it seems to “stretch”. anyway, right to left gives the impression of something happening, and whan the bar is moving, the animation doesn’t get in the way

  10. priyank Says:

    Hey, great theme!
    is there a xfce version of the theme ?

  11. Lars Strojny Says:

    Placing it unter ~/.themes without overwriting the old theme is just a problem that gnome-themes-manager crashes. But after restarting gnome-themes-selector and reselecting the Clearlooks-theme it works just fine.

  12. chapeaurouge Says:

    Maybe a little to close to the Vista theme? Are we looking at copying MS or something there?

  13. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    priyank, I’m working on an Xfce port right now!

    Expect it really soon :)

  14. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    chapeaurouge, ouch. I notice the similarities, but it’s different enough, and above all, it just looks really nice :)

    I hope you don’t mind, else I’d like to see you do better >:)

  15. Daniel Borgmann Says:

    Microsoft is always one of the first to copy trends in graphic design, but that doesn’t mean that they get a patent on it. :) Vista makes heavy use of the chrome-like gradient effect and light inner outlines, but they did not invent it and neither are they the only ones who use it.

  16. m Says:

    Yuck, gradients look terrible.

  17. Joakim Says:

    Wow, thats looks nice. Seems like I have to reinstall Ubuntu after wiping it.

  18. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    Mr. m, you mean terribly good!

  19. David Keogh Says:

    Thanks for the xfwm4 theme!

  20. Ken Says:

    Ahhh. I’m going to have to say that I dislike this.
    - A slight gradient in the title is fine (and suggests physicality), but the gradient in the buttons is overpowering (and I’m not sure what it’s supposed to suggest — what?).
    - Needing a drop-shadow to make the titles legible seems awkward; it’s noticably harder to read window titles than other text.
    - Everywhere else in Gnome, it’s obvious what’s clickable, but with this theme you can’t tell just by looking if a window is resizeable, or how to resize it.
    It’s a good first effort, though. Keep it up. :-)

  21. Reply Says:

    It looks kind of nice, but it doesn’t look at all like the cairo gtk-engine. This was one of the nice things about the old Clearlooks metacity theme. Unless there are updates planned for the engine?

    It reminds me a little of Vista, that’s not a problem. The buttons do remind me too much of it though, and I believe a lot of people will not like that.

  22. Josh Says:

    I love it!

    @Tomasz Torcz
    What is the “pinstripe edition” ?

  23. Daniele Medri Says:

    Amazing! The only thing one could ask for is rounded corner of metacity theme using Cairo.

  24. numpty Says:

    Yuck… keep all that low performance shiny stuff for, and leave Clearlooks as the plain, elegant, fast theme that its gtk counterpart is (and any default theme should be).

  25. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    numpty, don’t worry, the “old” clearlooks is still out there, and won’t dissapear! In fact, you can install it just fine on your new GNOME!

    But I can’t let such counter-informative feedback hold us back. I’m trying to get the attention of a bigger audience by giving them what they want.

  26. priyank Says:

    Richard, Thanks a lot for the xfwm port :)

  27. Ben Goodger Says:


    I just don’t like the shininess of the buttons. What font are you using for these screenshots? If it’s sans, can you please tell me what settings you’re using for Font Rendering > Details ?

  28. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    Ben, it’s Bitstream Vera Sans Roman (which is just Bitstream Vera Sans, really) at 8 something (probably point, gnome-font-properties doesn’t care to mention what metric it uses, which is *cough* probably good for usability, or something) at 96 dpi.

    So, in short: Bitstream Vera Sans, 8 @ 96dpi.

  29. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    Oh, and using ‘Best shapes’ font rendering.

  30. bvc Says:

    @Richard and Spark regarding numpty’s performance comment

    I checked that out and sure enougn it is slower than most pure metacity themes and even slower than my recent SystemGX’s and Unity’s that are gradient and use pixmaps for buttons. I think I can tell you the reason though, so that you can optimize Clearlooks a little.

    SystemG has no lt and rt titlebar_edge, but it draws a button_bg. For instance in the Unity’s I needed a lt and rt edge so I ditched the button_bg and changed the title to a titlebar_middle so that metacity only has to read and draw;
    and not

    The button_bg is unnecessary code that is having to be read and drawn. Obviouslly the idea is to remove as much code as possible. Hope this helps!


  31. Daniel Borgmann Says:

    Pixmap themes are always faster in metacity, since apparently it doesn’t do any caching yet. It’s the same issue as with pixmaps vs. SVG. The most complex part of Clearlooks2 are the buttons, so using pixmaps instead would speed it up considerably (but lose the scalability).

    Still it’s faster than Human (Industrial), so it should be fine. We are talking about a few milliseconds after all.

  32. Brad Griffith Says:

    This new metacity theme made me notice something about the new clearlooks engine. With the colored scrollbars, I think it might be nice if both the scrollbars and the window titlebar switched to gray when the window was inactive. This would apply to any other widget using the blue/active color as well, I suppose. This is already done for selections in a tree view, for instance; however, in many other GTK themes the scrollbar is just gray/beige so a similar active/inactive wouldn’t make sense. It would work perfectly with the new engine, though.

  33. Zammi Says:

    H, Is it possible to add an option to give same effect (look and feel) of the metacity buttons to clear look gtk push buttons as well. (exclude toolbar buttons).

  34. bvc Says:

    I didn’t say anything about using pixmaps in Clearlooks2, only removing unnecessary code.

  35. bvc Says:

    nevermind….I see what you’re doing with the button_bg now and how you would have interpreted my post into using pixmaps.

    Sorry! I should have tore into the code a little more before trying to help.

    Keep up the good work!

  36. Sakari Koivunen Says:

    Good work. Thank you.

  37. Scott Says:

    I’d just like to see the return of Fancylooks and Simplelooks to the Clearlooks BigPack.

  38. Stu Says:

    The “Copying” and filename parts should probably be different fonts might be worth seeing what its like if their changed to look more like the from/to part at the top

  39. Stu Says:

    I also have to go with right-to-left on the animation front, it works on osx on slow moving bars they appear faster, whereas ltr makes already long tasks seem even longer

  40. MrRoboto Says:

    Where should I append HAVE_ANIMATION??

  41. Shishir Says:

    Is it possible to have use clearlooks if I do not have root permissions?? I installed it ina directory at home and then set GTK_PATH to the the directory where the clearlooks module was located.
    But I get the error :
    Gtk-Message: Failed to load module “/home/sh/.gtk-2.0/lib/gtk-2.0/2.2.0/engines/”:`gtk_module_init’
    : /home/sh/.gtk-2.0/lib/gtk-2.0/2.2.0/engines/ undefined symbol:gtk_module_init
    Any suggestions??

  42. Wout Says:

    Hi Richard,

    Is there any way of making clearlooks-cairo use glitz as a backend. I’m usingxgl and compiz now and I’m curious if the glitz backend to cairo will improve gtk rendering.



  43. jeh Says:


  44. graig smith Says:

    i liked clearlooks better when the bottom edges were rounded.