Call for participation: an ubuntu default theme lead by the community?

Not trying to scare everyone, just worth keeping an eye on the GNOME debate around custom CSS stylesheets (‘themes’) as it progresses :slight_smile:

( Also engaging in the debate where appropriate, there’s a comment section on this one if people want to engage with Bernard’s thoughts :slight_smile: )

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Indeed, we were multiple people from different perspectives at GUADEC (and even apps developers!) to try to argue for a selected and maybe more restrained theming, but still allow for some modifications on the lookout. This is what was mostly shared at GUADEC, but it seems Tobias (not Bernard, his family name) has changed his opinion on this.

One of the idea was to integrate some Yaru changes in Adwaita btw. I guess step 1 would be to look at the diff, try to comment/categorize them and see what could be upstreamed. Anyone wants to engage with Tobias on this?

Then, the benefit (what was discussed at GUADEC) would be to have a clear API and avoid broken situations (which I personnally disagree on the degree of them, I think there is bigger QA challenges in existing applications to tackle first than theming).


Very interesting @ads20000, thanks for posting. I’d heard about the drive to do away with theming and thought it sounded outrageous. After reading that explanation, I now understand why many feel the status quo to be broken.

Really, I was just scared of having to use the default Gnome theme in Ubuntu. But it sounds like it would be possible to solve this problem in a way that includes customisation. Gnome just need a safe API for themes (or even one theme with lots of variables) where distros and individual users can tweak variables like:

  • Rounded corners or straight (but you can’t increase the radius so much that it breaks anything);
  • Flat vs. non-flat buttons with a few basic styles for each;
  • Colours including gradients;
  • Borders;
  • Fonts (if necessary, these could be offered from a list of tested “safe fonts” in specific sizes);
  • Window drop shadows (or not);
  • A few global options like left window buttons versus right window buttons.

I’m guessing this could be achieved by making a vanilla theme that’s perfectly functional, and then making sure none of the variables can be changed to the extent that things break?

If it was done well, I actually think many users would probably prefer this to the current CSS hack, because it would be possible to integrate the variables I’ve described into Gnome Tweaks or a Gnome Styles app. That would make customisation possible for the average user.

In fact, themes as we know them probably would die a death in this scenario. Your distro would have its own style settings out of the box, and you’d change them if you didn’t like them, rather than installing a new theme. Or maybe a theme could be as simple as a text string that you paste into a box (and can share online) if you don’t want to fiddle with toggles and number variables individually.

If this happens, then I hope that it happens slowly enough for Yaru to have a long and happy life of its own :slight_smile: before the Ubuntu style is eventually recreated using a new system for Gnome themes.

In either case, I would certainly prefer what I’ve described above, to every distro looking the same as every other distro that uses Gnome, which IMO would be very sad :\


As far as I understood Tobias blog post, I am afraid that the changes we made on Yaru actually fall into what Tobias referred as stylesheet hacking :smiley:
we made pervasive and spread changes, following our design intentions and guidelines, more than functional changes.

For example, to make flat buttons, we didn’t improve the “button” mixin to allow both flat and 3d style, we litteraly twisted the stylesheet :slight_smile:
So, from this point of view, it’s hard to say what we can upstream from Yaru, if not the design ideas more than the code, unless I misunderstood something

Short break-break note: I would appreciate to help adwaita becoming a little bit more modern and more 2018-ish.
/afk again


Today is Ubuntu 18.10 release day, featuring Yaru as the default ubuntu theme! The isos are still being validated as I write, but I want to go ahead and thank everyone involved in this huge community effort.

Eleven months ago, this topic started, which was a consequence of some comments on the “GNOME Shell transition” and related blog posts: it was maybe time to change and refresh our theme. A lot has happened since then, and you can read the 1828 posts on this thread startedj, without counting other dedicated work topics! We now have a very beautiful theme as a default, fresh new look for ubuntu 18.10! The theme even goes beyond the initial scope, thanks to the motivation of participants: it’s spreading from GNOME Shell, GTK, icons and even a new whole set of sound effects!

I think we should take some time to thank everyone involved: all volunteers who said “I’m in” when the call for participation was made or who came along the way, all benevolents who contributed to the various parts of the theme and everyone who contributed via feedbacks here or in the bug report. I wouldn’t have enough thanks to say to all of you who spent countless hours on this. You know who you are. :wink:

A full community-based approach for definining, and then realizing, the new ubuntu desktop default look sounded crazy, but we did it, and let’s celebrate that!

Of course, this is far from being the end of the journey. We’ll likely have adjustements to be made, leading release after release slowly to the next LTS when even more users will have the benefits of this default, new, elegant theme!


Congratulations team, and well said Didier!

Watching the theme and the community around it develop has been inspiring.

Thank you for all your hard work.


A i’ve filled a bug not sure if this is only happening to me

EDIT: after system updated I can’t replicate

Want to start by congratulating everyone on the successful release of Yaru with 18.10.

I am seeing one issue and am not sure if this is the right place to ask. I am seeing snaps using incorrect icons for min, max and close buttons on Ubuntu 18.10. I reported a bug here:

It says fix released for gnome-calculator, but i still see the issue. Can anyone else confirm if it is just me or this is a valid issue?

Thanks for your time.

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Guys, I’ve been using the betas of the theme for a while, but seeing it for the first time as the default in 18.10 really made me appreciate just what a wonderful job you’ve all done. Congratulations!

(Any chance you could all work your magic on a new look for LibreOffice next? :wink: )


Could you +1 my Issue and final comment here (use the emoji thumb button on the post)? :slight_smile:

I thought it might be a bug in a themes snap but it’s bugged on Flatpak too so I don’t know where the issue is.

Upgraded to Ubuntu 18.10 (from 18.04) today and the GTK theme has changed to Adwaita, the desktop icons text colour is wrong, the font seems wrong, the Adwaita icons are being used… Might be a bug with having both the communitheme snap and gnome-desktop (the vanilla GNOME session) installed and then upgrading? Where should this bug be filed? Is it a problem with the release upgrader, with Yaru, or with gnome-desktop?

Screenshot from 2018-10-21 14-13-10Screenshot from 2018-10-21 14-11-28

I note that there’s no name for much of the Tweaks entries, maybe the problem is that Yaru replaced Communitheme and the Shell didn’t change those options with the name change on the upgrade from the 18.04 snap to the 18.10 Deb, so the Shell fell back to Adwaita?

Screenshot from 2018-10-21 15-11-36

Also, it would’ve been good if the communitheme snap (which only works on 18.04?) was automatically uninstalled during the functionality but I suppose snapd doesn’t allow that yet, should I make a topic on the snapcraft forums asking for that functionality?

Yeah, communitheme should be automatically uninstalled and Yaru set as default on upgrade, but maybe that’s more difficult that it seems. Also communitheme snap was always a “beta” test so I guess it is ok to do some manual work after upgrade.

For me, what is weirder is that in 18.10 snap apps (including the ones that come preinstalled like gnome-monitor) seems to be using a older version of yaru. For example the window controls are slightly different (the icons are bolder). Also, some gtk2 snaps which correctly used the yaru theme in 18.04 don’t use it in 18.10… but I guess that’s more a problem of snapd.

Hmm except it was a snap available in the snap store for anyone to search for an install, it’s not like it was hidden as an edge snap or anything (I was on edge, as it happens). Having said that, it was hosted on didrocks’ account, not Canonical’s account, so I guess it’s unofficial in that sense.

Yes, @jamesh has been doing the work ( still in progress! :slight_smile: ), see here :slight_smile:

If you have played with GNOME Tweaks manually, there is a chance indeed that it’s set to Communitheme and you don’t revert to default (as Adwaita is the hardcoded GNOME default).
This is typically one of the reason we don’t install Tweaks by default, as it’s another example where people can shoot on their feet :slight_smile: This is why I added session for communitheme snaps and such so that people never have to change their gsettings key via Tweaks or directly.

Removing the snap on upgrade was discussed, but it creates a lot of upgrade complexity. It could be done post-next-LTS without any issue, or we remove the snap with a hook at startup after upgrade, which isn’t really elegant (we have spent an afternoon discussing and thinking about all the alternatives and all edges cases which can break).
I think the best for now is that people who want to have it remove can remove it. This is still the “very edgy” version for those who want to test what’s in Yaru master.
This can create some issues for regular users, knowing that we “only” have 30k people using the snap today, which is a small amount compared to our user base.


I guess there’s a good chance that I played with it manually yes and I guess you can’t cover all usecases. Would be more problematic if the snap were more official but it wasn’t so that’s OK I think! Plus, given that I had played with it, I’ve clearly demonstrated that I know how to fix the issue myself, and others with the same problem will be in the same boat :slight_smile: So any bug related to this would be Won’t Fix.

Good to know, I think there’s at least a few people wondering why there was a separate session for a theme so it’s good to know why! :slight_smile:

Yes no worries, if I’ve manually installed the snap I probably know how to remove it! :slight_smile:


@snwh: .txt files have a rather vertical look to them whereas .jpg files have rather a squircle look. Is that expected? Shouldn’t all “files“ look all the same?

it is intended for sure, but this is more a question for @snwh :slight_smile: maintainer of the project.

Is this with the edge snap on Ubuntu 18.04? I don’t think I have this on 18.10 unless I’m misunderstanding you? The inconsistency may have been created by the following reasoning given earlier in the thread in mpt’s theme review:

See for the GitHub Issue and to observe that the issue was not reported to upstream Suru.

Nope. Since it is part of the Suru design language even a sheet of paper should have rounded corners. In real life there are also sheets of paper with round corners available :wink: Here I tend to disagree with @mpt and I like the simplicity ot the icon a lot.

I mean another thing:

See the screenshot below. The .png icon is horizontally orientated and looks more like a squircle for an app.

The text file is vertically orientated and looks rather different. It is because it is a file and not an app. In my eyes the png should be rotated to look like the text file below it, like a sheet of paper with a drawing on it.

Bildschirmfoto vom 2018-10-25 19-07-35

@snwh: is this by design or a bug?