Automate the download and installation of new theme components

Any Ubuntu user worth her/his salt knows about personalization. By clicking System ^ Preferences ^ Appearances, you can change just about any aspect of Ubuntu's look. You might also have discovered the website, which offers many more widgets and wallpapers for download.

But downloading and installing new themes can be a time-consuming pain. Wouldn't it be nice if you could see a preview and then just click once to both download and install? As I'm sure you've probably guessed, Ubuntu Kung Fu has found a solution, and its name is GnomeArtNg (short for Gnome-Art Next Gen). This is a program that provides a front-end to the website in a desktop window and shows thumbnails of themes (or theme components). You can then click to download and install any items you're interested in.

Unfortunately Gnome-Art Next Gen isn't yet provided in the Ubuntu repositories so you must download and install it manually. Start by visiting Click the Download link alongside the Packages heading (not Source or Binaries!). Then click to download the latest .deb file. Save the file to the desktop. Then issue the following command in a terminal window to install the software:

$ sudo dpkg -i ~/Desktop/gnomeartng-0.5.1-a11.deb

Obviously you should replace the filename with that which you downloaded. Once installed, the program will appear on the Applications ^ System Tools menu. When it first runs the program will automatically download the latest thumbnails from the site. This takes some time to complete and will happen each time you click on the selection tabs in the program window. However, it only needs to be done once in each case—following this, the information is merely updated with any new components that have become available.

Running down the left-hand side of the program window are the various categories of GUI items that can be personalized. Clicking each will show previews in the main program window of each component. To download, install and activate any of them, simply select them and then click the Apply button. In some cases additional options are available— in the case of wallpapers, you can set whether the wallpaper centers on screen, or is stretched, for example. If these options are available they will be listed above the Apply button.

See also Tip 21, on page 79; Tip 79, on page 138; Tip 147, on page 192; Tip 199, on page 237; Tip 220, on page 255; Tip 274, on page 313; Tip 74, on page 131; and Tip 289, on page 338.

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