Customizing karmic 9.10 for Mac4Lin

  • Mushfiq Khalid

    Mushfiq Khalid - 2009-11-26

    Okay, my first post so I thought I'd make it worthwhile. Incase you're
    wondering how to customize the grub boot menu, the usplash boot screen and
    then the xsplash GDM login screen in karmic koala (9.10), this should help you
    out considerably.
    This is supposed to be a general How-To. I used this process to make my
    desktop look like a Mac and so can you.
    (I'll post my screenshots in a while and also link the files I used.)

    1- Change the GDM theme and background (xsplash) goes.

    Press Alt + F2 and type this:

    gksudo gdm -u dbus-launch gnome-appearance-properties

    This pops up the GNOME Appearance settings window, just install your theme by
    clicking on "Install" Under the "Themes" tab, similarly click on "Background"
    and then on "Add" and select whatever background you would like when the login
    input screen comes up.

    (Note: If for some reason your theme still doesn't show up under the Theme
    tab, select a theme and click on "Customize", then select your theme under the
    "Controls" tab and similarly under the "Windows borders" tab.)

    To get rid of the irritating dark brown background with the white ubuntu logo
    and progress bar, do this:

    Move the background image file or whatever image file you would like to
    /usr/share/images/xsplash/ and rename it as bg_screenresolution.jpg, so mine
    is bg_2560x1600.jpg

    If you open up the /usr/share/images/xsplash/ folder you'll also see some
    files starting with logo_, you can let them remain as is they are if you like
    to see the ubuntu logo, i changed mine to look like a mac logo. Incase you
    want to change them just replace them with your own logos and size the
    dimensions to match, so logo_large.png is 302 x 110, just make sure your image
    file has the same dimensions. (Backup the existing logo_ files too btw)

    Now moving onto the the usplash screen with the black background and white
    ubuntu logo on it, this comes up after the grub boot selection menu.

    2- Change the usplash boot screen:

    First off you need to download a few things to get started.

    james@james-desktop:~$ sudo apt-get install cdbs debhelper dpkg-dev fakeroot autotools-dev libusplash-dev

    Now you need to download the source of usplash-theme-ubuntu package.
    You'll need to goto and download the usplash-theme-ubuntu_releaseNumber.tar.gz
    (I downloaded 0.27). apt-get did not seem to work for some reason. Anyway,
    untar the package by:

    james@james-desktop:~$ tar xvzf usplash-theme-ubuntu_releaseNumber.tar.gz

    If you look in the usplash-theme-ubuntu folder, you'll see there are 4 files
    starting with the logo_ prefix and .png extension, you need to either edit
    these files or make your own image files making sure that the color mode is
    Indexed and not RGB or Grayscale or anything else (see how in the paragraph
    below, i use gimp btw), they also need to be one layered and the same
    resolution as the logo_ image files. You can completely discard the throbber_
    files because they have been dropped in 9.10 (karmic).

    What I did was to take an image I already had (1208 x 1024) and resize it down
    to 139 x 139 and 222 x 222 and so on until i had 4 files. If you want to edit
    the file already provided, open up gimp or your favourite image editor and
    click on image > mode > RGB and then you can edit the files, once you're done,
    click on image > Flatten image and then image > mode > Indexed, and select the
    normal optimum palette with 256 colors. Save the file and you're done.

    Heres a small trick incase you're using an image that doesn't have a black
    background and you don't want to go through the hassle of making 4 versions of
    the same file in different sizes.

    Just breeze through the usplash-ubuntu-theme.c file and see what file (i.e.
    logo_large.png or logo_small.png and so on) is selected for your screen
    resolution and then resize that file to the same resolution (so, in my case
    screen resolution is 1280 x 1024 and the logo_med.png file is used ,
    therefore, i used an image with dimensions of 1280 x 1024, naming it to
    logo_med.png). This is what it looks like:

    struct usplash_theme usplash_theme_1280_1024 = {
    .version = THEME_VERSION,
    .next = &usplash_theme_1440_900,
    .ratio = USPLASH_4_3,

    / Background and font /
    .pixmap = &pixmap_logo_med,

    / position of pixmap /
    .pixmap_x = 664,
    .pixmap_y = 350,

    Just change the .pixmap_x = 664, to .pixmap_x = 0, same for .pixmap_y and
    bingo, you should have your own image after the grub boot screen.

    Once, youre done fiddling around with the images, open up a terminal, cd into
    the usplash-theme-ubuntu directory and type these commands out:

    james@james-desktop:~/usplash-theme-ubuntu$ dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -us -uc

    Once it finishes, backup your existing usplash .so file by typing:

    james@james-desktop:~/usplash-theme-ubuntu$ sudo cp /usr/lib/usplash/ /usr/lib/usplash/

    and then copy the new .so file that you've just created by typing:

    james@james-desktop:~/usplash-theme-ubuntu$ sudo cp /usr/lib/usplash/

    then do:

    james@james-desktop:~/usplash-theme-ubuntu$ sudo update-initramfs -u

    and you're done.

    Note: To check up on your new usplash screen just type "sudo usplash -c" and
    it'll come up, you can come back to gnome by pressing Alt + F7

    3- Changing the grub boot screen.

    Back up your /boot/grub/menu.lst file first, by:

    james@james-desktop:~$ sudo cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst.old

    then open up the menu.lst file in /boot/grub/ (Press Alt + F2 and enter
    gksudo gedit /grub/boot/menu.lst)

    scroll down till you see:

    #A splash image for the menu

    Download or copy a image of your liking in the /boot/grub/splashimages/ as
    root and just substitute the FileName.xpm.gz for your image file name, make
    sure its extension is .gz and its .xpm file type, e.g.

    #A splash image for the menu

    save the file and close gedit.
    Open up a terminal and do:

    james@james-desktop:~$ sudo update-grub

    and you're done. Everything customized to your needs and liking. :D


  • Mushfiq Khalid

    Mushfiq Khalid - 2009-11-26

    Okay, so I've uploaded my screenshots on Flickr as attaching them here was
    The link is:

    Let me know what you guys think and if ANY step is unclear or you're confused
    do let me know and I'll try to help you out.
    maybe infra_red_dude could make this a sticky if its possible.
    I was also thinking of writing a detailed HOW-TO on how to do all those nifty
    little things which the Mac4Lin install script left out (e.g. adding global
    menu, changing the gnome icon to the apple icon and so on..).

    Anyway for now, hope this helps.

  • Peng Hardin

    Peng Hardin - 2009-11-26

    Sorry, I tried to respond earlier but logins were disabled. The documentation
    should say that we haven't compiled Usplashes yet. The bottom line is that
    I've never been able to get a Usplash compiled that would work despite
    numerous attempts. I haven't gotten a chance to see what it will take to
    create an Xsplash.

    Unfortunately none of us are able to work with Mac4Lin full time and we're
    having to work on it as we're able. I apologize for our not having them ready
    yet. I had a Usplash working for Jaunty but since Karmic came out I haven't
    been able to figure out why my Usplashes are borked.

  • Anirudh Acharya

    Anirudh Acharya - 2009-11-27

    Yes, same here. I wasn't allowed to login.

    I think this is a good step-by-step guide. In fact, with your permission I'd
    like to include it in the documentation.

    As bostonpeng mentions, we aren't getting much time. Its my last semester and
    its almost end of sem. So I'm laden with loads of work. I hope to get some
    work done after my exams and release an update to the current version.

    Thanks for detailed post :)

  • Peng Hardin

    Peng Hardin - 2009-11-27

    If you could fix the splash issue it would totally rock, bargle. I ended up
    connection with Mac4Lin because at the time I had a lot more time on my hands
    and I didn't mind rooting around to get the info I needed to make splashes, I
    just kept running into a brick wall on getting the splash to work under

    I'm pretty sure I have a GlobalMenu tutorial on my blog, but feel free to
    update our docs if you find something that is missing or no longer correct.

  • Mushfiq Khalid

    Mushfiq Khalid - 2009-11-30

    okay so i've compiled the usplash package with three new backgrounds, do i
    need to have some special permissions to upload the source to the svn or cvs
    of this project?
    @bostonpeng i couldnt find your blog address :(

  • Anirudh Acharya

    Anirudh Acharya - 2009-11-30

    The SVN hasn't been updated of late. You mail me the usplashes. I will test
    them and include them in the next update with due credit to you in the
    documentation :)


  • Thai Dang vu

    Thai Dang vu - 2010-01-17

    First, thank you for this theme, border and icon set. I tried many others but
    this one is my only favourite.
    I just tried Window 7 and I like its transparent task bar. I'd like to modify
    mac4lin so that it has a transparent task bar. After about 4 weeks dealing
    with the gtkrc file, the result is not as expected.

    I am really thankful if somebody can show me how to do these things with
    mac4lin (i.e. which files need to be changed and where the changes are):

    • make the whole top panel transparent by using a transparent png image (I created a transparent png, set it as the background of the top panel, but the menu bar (Applications Places System) has its own background image, so I went to the gtkrc file and changed the image for the menu bar, but that changed the menu bar in the window applications also; until now I still don't know how to differentiate the menu bar on the panel and the menu bars in the applications with class or widget or widget_class)

    • change the text color of the calendar on the top panel only (i.e. this change will not effect anything rather than the calendar on the top panel; it's black right now).

    • change the text color of the weather icon I added to the top panel (it's black right now).


  • Anirudh Acharya

    Anirudh Acharya - 2010-01-23

    1) Metacity themes do not support transparency as of now. So if you want a
    transparent title bar, you should create Emerald themes.

    2) Unfortunatley, GNOME changed something in their latest release which breaks
    the panel transparency. You can try older version of Mac4Lin to see if the
    transparency can be enabled.

    The trick here, is to assign all the panel widgets (there is a section in
    gtkrc) a background that is NOT transparent. Then apply the theme to see if it
    correctly works. Now, rename/delete the non-transparent panel background
    pixmap and manually the transparent pixmap (this is included in Mac4Lin /
    Panel directory in gtk themes directory). If you however, don't use the
    menubar applet instead use the Main menu applet you don't need this deleting
    hack. Just setting the transparent pixmap as background works.

    The text you are talking about are global setting and you cannot individually
    change the text color out of the box.


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