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How to set up the Bubble GTK theme on Linux

Bubble is a variant of the famous Arc GTK theme. It looks very similar to Arc in a lot of ways in the overall design. However, the Bubble GTK theme is not Arc’s identical twin. For starters, the Bubble GTK theme offers users a Mac OS style window control buttons. It also does away with the 2D look of Arc in favor of a more modern, 3D design style. Additionally, the blue color used in Arc is slightly darkened, and the theme pack also includes a red variant, which Arc doesn’t provide.

Bubble is a beautiful looking GTK theme, and one to check out if you’re a fan of Arc, but dislike some of the original design choices or color options it provides. Here’s how to install the theme on Linux.

Download Bubble GTK theme

The Bubble GTK theme is downloadable via the Gnome-look theme website. To start the download of the Bubble GTK theme, click this link. Then, after following the link, click on the “Files” button on the page.

Upon clicking “Files,” you’ll see several different “Bubble” releases. For the generic version of Bubble, find “Bubble-Dark-Blue.tar.xz,” and click the icon under “DL,” followed by the “Download” button. Alternatively, for the other blue releases of Bubble, download “Bubble-Darker-Blue.tar.xz” or “Bubble-Light-Blue.tar.xz.”

Want the red variant of the Bubble GTK theme on your Linux PC? Find and download “Bubble-Dark-Red.tar.xz,” “Bubble-Darker-Red.tar.xz,” or “Bubble-Light-Red.tar.xz.”

Feel free to download as many releases of Bubble as you want!

Extract Bubble GTK theme

Each of the Bubble GTK theme files downloaded from Gnome-look.org is distributed in a compressed TarXZ archive. These TarXZ archives must be fully extracted before we continue, as Linux can’t read themes that are compressed in archive files.

To extract the TarXZ archives for Bubble, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, with the terminal window open and ready to go, use the CD command to move into the “Downloads” directory.

cd ~/Downloads

Once inside of “Downloads” follow the extraction command that matches the Bubble GTK theme you downloaded to your computer.

Dark Blue

tar xvf Bubble-Dark-Blue.tar.xz

Darker Blue

tar xvf Bubble-Darker-Blue.tar.xz

Light Blue

tar xvf Bubble-Light-Blue.tar.xz

Dark Red

tar xvf Bubble-Dark-Red.tar.xz

Darker Red

tar xvf Bubble-Darker-Red.tar.xz

Light Red

tar xvf Bubble-Light-Red.tar.xz

Install Bubble GTK theme

With the Bubble GTK archive extracted to the “Downloads” folder on your Linux PC, the installation process is ready to begin. To start, go to your terminal window on the Linux desktop. Then, follow the detailed instructions outlined below to get going.

Single-user

Installing the Bubble GTK theme as a single-user means that only one user will have access to the theme files on the Linux desktop. Setting up the theme using this method is best if you don’t plan on giving any other access to Bubble.

The installation of the Bubble GTK theme for a single user starts by creating a new directory called “.themes” in the home folder. To do this, use the mkdir command below in a terminal window.

mkdir -p ~/.themes

Once the new “.themes” directory is created, move the terminal session to “Downloads” (if it’s not there already) using the CD command.

cd ~/Downloads

Lastly, install the Bubble GTK theme for single-user use by using the mv command.

mv Bubble-* ~/.themes/

System-wide

The Bubble GTK theme can be installed in “system-wide” mode. This mode will make the theme files available to every single user on the system, rather than just one. For this reason, system-wide is best if you plan on making Bubble accessible to multiple users.

Installing the theme in system-wide mode is a little different than single-user, as no directory needs to be created. Instead, all that is required is placing the extracted Bubble theme files from “Downloads” into the “/usr/share/themes/” directory.

Using the mv command, place Bubble GTK theme files into the system theme directory. Keep in mind this must be done with sudo, so be sure to use a user account that has access to sudo privileges!

sudo mv ~/Downloads/Bubble-*/ /usr/share/themes/

Activate Bubble GTK theme

Now that the Bubble GTK theme is installed on your Linux PC, it must be set as the default theme to be experienced on the desktop. Setting Bubble as the default theme on your Linux PC starts by opening up the “System Settings” app. Then, with “System Settings” open, look for “Appearance,” “Themes,” or something similar. From there, use the settings area to switch the default look to “Bubble.”

Can’t figure out how to swap out the default theme on your Linux desktop for the Bubble GTK theme? Take a look at the list of tutorials linked below. In each one of the tutorials, we go over how to customize and set up GTK themes.

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