Material design themes are a favorite on the Linux desktop as of late. One of the best implementations out there is the Paper GTK theme. It’s a minimal, flat theme that adheres very strictly to the Google material design specifications.Â This GTK theme is primarily focused around the GTK 3 toolkit, and works best with it. However, despite this, Paper still manages to work pretty well with GTK 2 based applications and desktop environments.
Install Paper GTK Theme
In this tutorial, we’ll cover building Paper from scratch, as it’s the best way to get the absolute latest version without much issue. The first step to building Paper from source is to install all of its dependencies. Specifically, Paper needs Git, GTK Engine Murrine, and a few other things.
sudo aptÂ install gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbufÂ git autoconf
sudo apt-getÂ install gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbufÂ git autoconf
sudoÂ pacman -S gtk-engine-murrine gtk-engines git autoconf
sudo dnfÂ install gtk-murrine-engine gtk2-engines git autoconf
sudo zypperÂ install gtk-murrine-engine gtk2-engines git autoconf
In this tutorial we focus primarily on the most popular Linux distributions (like Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, etc.) however that doesn’t mean Paper won’t work on other Linux distributions. Given that in this guide Paper is being built, there’s no need to worry. If you’re running a lesser known Linux distribution, track down the following dependencies. Keep in mind that they may have different names.
Search your operating system’s package manager for “Git,” “Autoconf,” “GTK murrine engine,” and “GTK engines.”
To start building Paper, open up a terminal and use the Git command to download the latest source code to your Linux PC.
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git cloneÂ https://github.com/snwh/paper-gtk-theme.git
Downloading all of the Paper theme’s source code may take a bit of time depending on your internet speed. When it finishes, use theÂ CDÂ command and move the terminal from the user home directory it started at into the newly clonedÂ paper-gtk-themeÂ folder.
Inside of the Paper GTK source code folder, the building can begin. The first command you’ll need to run during the build process is theÂ autogen.sh script. This script will scan your Linux PC, determine if you’ve got all the correct libraries to start the build process, and generate the necessary files.
Running autogen.sh also generates a configure script. Run it to finish the configuration that autogen.sh started.
After theÂ autogen.shÂ script finishes up, the next step in the building process is to use theÂ makefile. In the terminal, runÂ theÂ make command. The compilation will start when this command runs, and it’ll take a bit of time, so be patient.
At this last step, you’ll useÂ makeÂ again. However, instead of running it to build, you’ll use it to install the code. RunÂ make installÂ with theÂ sudoÂ command, to install the theme system-wide.
sudo make install
Install For Single User
The Paper GTK theme builds and installs to the Root file system, in /usr/share/themes/.Â A lot of times runningÂ make installÂ without sudo privileges will install everything for a single user inside of ~/.themes instead. However, the Paper GTK Theme doesn’t work this way. Instead, if you’re looking to make this theme available for one user on the system, you’ll need to follow the traditional installation procedures, then move the files to the right place manually.
First,Â cdÂ into your Linux PC’s theme directory. Then, using the mvÂ command, move Paper toÂ ~/.themesÂ directory.
mkdir -p ~/.themes sudo mv Paper ~/.themes
After moving Paper to the right folder, it should be useable to only the user who holds the theme. Repeat this process for as many users as desired.
Paper GTK icon theme
No GTK theme is complete without an icon theme. Luckily, the developer of the Paper GTK theme also has an icon theme to use. It’s designed to be the perfect companion for the desktop theme. Like Paper GTK, the icon theme needs to be built.
To install the theme, grab it from Github, with theÂ git cloneÂ command.
git cloneÂ https://github.com/snwh/paper-icon-theme.git
Move the terminal into theÂ paper-icon-themeÂ folder with theÂ CDÂ command.
Inside the Paper icon sources folder, the building process is identical to the GTK theme instructions. First, runÂ autogen.shÂ to generate theÂ configureÂ file andÂ makefile.
./autogen.sh ./configure make
Finally, install the icon theme intoÂ /usr/share/icons/.
sudo make install
Install Icon Theme For Single User
RunningÂ theÂ make installÂ command withÂ sudoÂ installs the icon theme globally, for all users. If you’re not interested in making the icon theme available for everyone on the system, you’ll need to install it locally, to the ~/.iconsÂ folder. Unfortunately, the build scripts with the Paper icon theme don’t work that way. Just like the GTK theme, you’ll need to move the files manually.
To get started,Â CDÂ intoÂ Â /usr/local/share/icons
Next, make a newÂ ~/.iconsÂ folder inÂ ~/.
mkdir -p ~/.icons
Lastly, useÂ mvÂ to install the icon theme.
mv Paper* ~/.icons