How to Make Your Linux Apps More in Line With the Rest of the Chrome OS System (Using Linux Themes)

Published by Jesse Afolabi on

Linux themes on Chrome OS 1

The announcement and subsequent arrival of Linux apps over the past year within the Chrome OS ecosystem has ushered the community into a new era of wild possibilities. These range from the ability to install professional applications as well as diversifying the set of features and perhaps, more importantly, app repositories otherwise app stores available to the platform.

It is such that Google took this initiative to bolster the image of the Chrome operating system thereby making it a worthy competitor to the major operating systems in the desktop space.

As the platform matures, the Android and Linux containers that are practically – for all intent and purposes – non-native to the browser-centric operating system but are bound to become better integrated such that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a progressive web app to an Android and Linux app if Google’s track record is to be put into consideration

Pending that time, however, we’re delighted to offer a “temporary” solution to what is the absolute blandness of the UI elements of the Linux applications in their default state in Chrome OS.

The material themes and icon selection below will make for a more unified system that does justice to the familiar UI experience of Chrome OS. On a second note, you could simply install the themes to match your current Chrome browser theme or the system-wide theme that’s based on your current wallpaper.

Installation process

Fire up your Linux Terminal from the app launcher and if you don’t already have Linux enabled, head over to your settings as click on the hamburger menu wherein you’ll find the Linux option as indicated in the image below. Go ahead and enable it and and the length of time for the download process will be relative to your internet connection connection speed.

Enable Linux in Chrome OS

Provided you already have Linux installed or you’ve completed the installation, you’d proceed to the Linux terminal and download the Gnome Tweak Tool which is an essential tool that will help you manage your installed themes and icons. You may need to run the Gnome tweak tool from the terminal using “gnome-tweak-tool” that is if you don’t find it in app laucher.

sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool

Then proceed to copy and paste the script below to your Linux terminal. The script has a provision of 42 distinct combination of GTK 2+ and 3+ Gnome themes.

git clone https://github.com/tliron/install-gnome-themes ~/install-gnome-themes

List of themes packaged in the script

If for some reason you don’t already have git installed, use the command below in your Linux terminal to get git onto your system.

sudo apt install git

Then proceed to use the following commands below to update any theme that needs updating. The process does take sometime and might seem that your system is unresponsive but don’t fret.

git -C ~/install-gnome-themes pull
    ~/install-gnome-themes/install-gnome-themes

You might need to rerun the command multiple times just in case your themes don’t populate in the Gnome-tweak-tool right away. I’d also advise that you restart your system after the initial install is complete because I had the experience on my Pixelbook wherein I had to restart my system before the theme I selected applied to the entirety of the Linux apps I had installed.

After you might have been done installing the themes of your choosing, then it might delight you to know that you can as well install alternative Linux app stores to the Play Store on your Linux-enabled Chromebook.

Should you come across any issue, be sure to let us know in the comments!


Jesse Afolabi

Having been a technical writer for over 4 years, and co-founded Fossmint.com in 2016, I took my passion to the next level with the founding of Itschromeos.com which so happens to revolve around my love for open-source technologies and Chrome OS. It's my hope to venture into new avenues in the tech universe and take you with me on that ride.

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