Changing the Ubuntu look
Window borders, icons, splash images and other graphical user interface (GUI) preferences are largely a subjective thing. Still, it’s nice to have the tools available to transform the GUI into something that is more pleasing to your eye. Fortunately, GNU/Linux makes it relatively easy to mould your desktop environment into whatever suits your taste, and Ubuntu is no exception.
For the purposes of this discussion, I'll stick to Ubuntu’s default Gnome desktop, but Ubuntu’s KDE desktop (Kubuntu) is every bit as flexible.
How it works
Ubuntu’s Gnome desktop comes with a number of pre-installed themes, and a built-in theme manager. You can access the “Theme Preferences” by selecting System → Preferences → Theme from the Ubuntu menu (as shown in figure 1a). You will then be presented with the Theme Preferences window (as shown in figure 1b).
I became a user of Red Hat Linux for my desktop machine (and yes, it was a bit of a challenge!), and a couple of months later, when I had to choose what distribution I should use for my server, I chose the one I was most accustomed to: Red Hat Linux.
A number of things happened in the following years (1997 to 2005). Here are a few of them, in chronological order: the packaged version of Red Hat Linux flopped (why would anybody buy it, if you can download it? Plus, yes, it was overpriced...). Red Hat went public, and started having a number of investors that wanted to see good, realistic plans to make money—which meant focusing more on the corporate market. Then, the split: Fedora came along, but it was underfunded and the “community involvement” was patchy and disorganised. Eventually, Red Hat effectively abandoned its desktop audience, to focus on the more lucrative corporate market. Then, a very smart man called Mark Shuttleworth made 500 million dollars in the .com boom, learned Russian from scratch, went to space, came back in one piece, funded several charities focussing on South Africa, and... oh yes, he created Ubuntu Linux.