GNOME is a desktop environment found in various Linux distributions, one example is Fedora. By default you only get the Adwaita theme but what if you want to install more? 6 Best GNOME themes cover the most popular, beautiful and visually appealing. GNOME 42 themes are basically the same however, their version is different.
What is GNOME and what are GNOME Themes
It stands for GNU Object Model Environment which is a popular desktop environment. It is open-source and comes in free. For now it is being used in some major Linux OS such as Elementary OS 7 and Ubuntu.
GNOME themes are styles built specifically to be installed on systems running GNOME. These offer a wide range of icon packs, wallpapers and animations resulting in a whole desktop refresh.
To put the long story short, this is all you see on your screen, from lock screen to home screens and also individual elements such as app launchers and applications icons, when tied together to form a desktop environment.
Like the standard desktop edition is that Ubuntu uses GNOME, The developers of Ubuntu have however customized its interface in order to fir for their reasons so that it does not look exactly like you there on the site of GNOME and also in other Linux distros.
Now, this is not the only desktop environment present. There are many other variations with different desktops in the world of Ubuntu, each appealing to a certain kind of audience.
The History of GNOME and its Themeing
It came out as a free software back in 1997 and gave competition to KDE Plasma desktop which at the moment was the star of the show. Its first version got a great success as the project soon beat the K desktop environment if we talk about popularity.
Then in the year 2002 its version GNOME2 came out which brought in a massive set of customizations, quality of life improvements to desktop environments and features.
Version 3.0 came out six years later which streamlined elements such as header bar, maximize and minimize buttons and others, but with this is also got a lot of criticism from the community due to changes in few designs. This version in the end played pivotal role in shaping what exactly a desktop environment looks like today all by introducing a user experience that is more consistent.
Version 40, 41 and 42 came out in the year 2021 which streamlines the user interface look and feel and also added in many useful features. The creators also continue to patch and improvise experience. Distros such as Ubuntu and Fedora continue to make it to their main environment. GNOME theme development began as a hobby and side project by open source developers to develop this environment as they saw its potential.
GNOME 43 is currently the latest version.
List of 6 best GNOME Themes for Linux
- Arc – Overall Best GNOME Theme for Linux
- Numix – Best Free GNOME 42 Theme
- Layan – Best GNOME 43 Theme for Linux and Ubuntu
- Adapta – Best Free GNOME GTK Theme
- System76 Pop – A GNOME Theme with modern looks
- Adwaita – Aesthetic GNOME Theme
Arc – Overall Best GNOME Theme for Linux
This was the very first theme to gain so much popularity as it gives best look with its look. This is a simple 2D interface along with a basic flat across the desktop. Look of the flat is designed in a way that it shall give a perfect modern desktop look without any kind of gradient of glossy effects, moreover it shall also provide you with a great touch of sidebars in Nautilus and other sidebar-based applications with the dark version.
It comes in different versions like light, dark and darker. You can easily install it as it can be found in the official repo.
Now, if you want to install it through source then you can grab the files on GitHub and follow compilation instructions.
Once it has been installed, you need to set the theme by using Tweaks tool and pair it by using any Yaru-blue icons there in Ubuntu to have the best look.
Numix – Best Free GNOME 42 Theme
This one has similarities with the one mentioned above but if talk about color tone then yes it is different, in this the primary highlight color is complemented by its flat design. It also comes with light and dark variants but it can be downloaded and installed in light version. If you have an interest in dark variant then you need to get it through the instructions on the developer’s home page.
Layan – Best GNOME 43 Theme for Linux and Ubuntu
This is based on the material design and thus gives you a flat layout for the complete GNOME shell. It also comes with some more rounded corners in the windows and larger shadows. The best part it has light and dark variants which means you have the choice to select as per your taste.
Among many features, the unique one is the sidebar in Nautilus which is a sleek vertical bar with a little mountain icon present at the top. We may say the truth that it enhances the complete desktop with this little touch.
We suggest that you pair this up with Yaru-Prusiangreen icon and a nice gradient wallpaper to achieve the best results.
Adapta – Best Free GNOME GTK Theme
This is a GTK theme that is quite popular among users and has its inspirations from child themes. The creators of the theme base their theme on this and then further modify it. From this we can say that it is both flexible in nature and comes with many features. Moreover, it is based on Google’s Material Design principle.
Now, if you enjoy the Android interface then this one shall bring you a lot of joy. It also brings in ample padding, well-placed shadows and layers, better contrast and much more.
Now, before you make a decision to install it, keep in mind that it has a slightly bigger size than for a regular theme.
System76 Pop – A GNOME 42 Theme with modern looks
If you are looking for an elegant yet modern look that too with real zing then this is your go to option. It was developed and maintained by Linux laptop makers System76 and is being used in Pop!_OS Linux distro by default.
To talk it out it is based on Adwaita, for those who do not know this is the default GNOME theme to be sure that the applications looks and functions just as expected when used with it.
Now what makes it popular with Ubuntu users? Well, the color scheme which comes in brown and orange. Though it is a flat theme but it comes with a great personality.
Get this on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and above from the repos directly, for this no PPA in needed.
Adwaita – Aesthetic GNOME Theme
This one is a default GNOME theme which ships out of the box in Fedora Workstation. For those who do not know this is considered as “reference” theme for GNOME application develop and is the option which Linux app devs would love you to use.
It comes with a steely grey tone which is a part of its refined color scheme, accented by a blur companion color. If we talk about the complete feel then it is utilitarian.
As we are talking about touches then its liberal use of padding in header bars, menus and pop overs does not mean that it is better suited to “touch friendly smartphones or tables” devices than the other options which are mentioned on the list.
Well-Known GNOME themes are built on this including the default Yaru theme and System76’s pop theme. If you are looking for the definitive Linux look then this is all you need.
The best part it comes pre-installed in Ubuntu 22.04 and above.
GNOME Themes FAQ
What are the best GNOME themes for Linux?
GNOME themes come in various different configurations and will carry on your personal preference such as if you like dark mode or simple aesthetic themes. The best GNOME themes are Arc, Numix, Layan, Adapta, System76 Pop and Adwaita.
Are GNOME themes free to use?
GNOME Themes are mostly open source and free to use by their developers. You can however at your own will make a small donation for their efforts.
Can I Install GNOME themes on any Linux distribution?
GNOME has to be the default desktop environment for you to be able to install GNOME themes.
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Conclusion: Best GNOME Themes for Linux and Ubuntu
GNOME 40/42 is the best desktop environment you can possibly get for your Linux distribution. There is also KDE Plasma but it does not have such a diverse theme collection. 6 Best GNOME Themes for Linux and Ubuntu will allow you to explore a more exciting, beautiful and colorful side of Linux desktops. Let us know in the comment section of which one you like.