Tweaking themes to save space on the screen top

Hi, I’m using the GNOME desktop with the Yaru theme for some time now and I would like to discuss about thick windows decorations. This is clearly not a problem of Ubuntu alone, but the theme is where Ubuntu can deviate from upstream.

Thick windows decorations have a clear purpose in GTK3 apps that use the GTK3 header bar, and I suppose they are maintained so thick also for other apps for consistency purposes. It is my intention to question such choice, as it comes with higher screen usage. This is mainly a concern on laptops, where the screen size is lower. Part of the screen on the top is wasted for mostly blank space in the top bar and for the window decoration.

While a better use for that space coming from upstream is desirable, I think that making windows decorations which don’t use the headerbar be thin would be a sensible space saving policy.

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Example of bad space usage in a Qt5 application which doesn’t make use of Headerbars.

Ambiance uses less space, even if the window is still very thick.

Yes that is a really disadvantage of gnome.

What Ubuntu would need is to include (in my opinion)

by default. This would remove the titlebar (for applications NOT using gtkheaderbar) if the window is maximized


Comparing the top bar thickness in Ambiance and Yaru. Also, this app takes advantage of the GTK Headerbar and the thick window decoration is useful.

It could be an option as well. But the thick decorations also take screen space when not maximised.

One other thing I sometimes use is the Hide Top Bar extension, but it gets frustrating to always make it appear again.

Comparison with Mac OS Mojave. The windows not having buttons on the decoration, are thin.

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Comparison with Mac OS Mojave. The windows having buttons on the decoration, are thick.


Comparison with Windows 10. The windows having buttons on the decoration, are thick.

Comparison with Windows 10. The windows not having buttons on the decoration, are still thick.

Comparing thick and thin decorations using Ambiance.

Since the last 8 comments in this thread is from you @fcole90, maybe you’re not aware that you can add more than one image to each post and you can also edit your post after posting it :wink:


Except for the sake of keeping with upstream I don’t think Ubuntu should include this, it’s another extension that would alter the GNOME experience significantly.

@fcole90 I think part of the reason why the title bar is so tall, even for non-CSD apps, is for the sake of consistency (and I suspect GNOME is, by keeping it that way, encouraging app devs to use CSD).

Ubuntu could deviate from upstream by default which would make some people happy but would make GNOME fans very angry that another deviation was made…

I actually knew it, I just thought that separate comments were more appropriate :sweat_smile:

Yes, I agree about consistency. But still, I’m questioning whether it is a good idea to sacrifice usability for the sake of consistency. Also, what I’m proposing is not a fork and neither an extension, but a theme setting. I think this is still among the things that can be tweaked without causing concerns of causing anger to anybody.

I’m now using the extension you suggested, and it was definitely worth. But I don’t see the Yaru decorations among the available ones. Do you think they can be included? I think it uses the old-style gtk2 decorations :confused:

I made a pull request there but the maintainer does not respond :confused:
I think I will try to upload my fork soon

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my PR got accepted :smiley: but I made a mistake with the color :man_facepalming: , and made another PR now with the correct color :slight_smile:
So you need to wait to more updates to have the correct icons!



Any chance we could put this extension into 19.4?
I think every unity7 user would love this:

Screenshot from 2018-11-05 14-38-24