Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

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stefan_o
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Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by stefan_o »

Hello,
I just freshly installed Linux Mint 21 and noticed something annoying for me: You cannot set individual themes for window borders and controls anymore. I always used the combination numix (window border) and and a modified greybird for controls.
Is there still an option to set these options individually or is it possible to merge these two themes?

BTW, there is no simple setting to change the colors of a theme? Greybird is a bit too grey for me, I prefer a slightly warmer grey, the only option is to modify it's files?

Best regards
Stefan
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sebastjava
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by sebastjava »

stefan_o wrote:
Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:27 pm
You cannot set individual themes for window borders and controls anymore.
That's right. That's because Metacity is gone. All the window borders are now created with GTK, and they are part of the main GTK theme, i.e. "Controls".

IMHO this is better. Before, some window borders, the ones with CSD, as with the calculator for example, well, these window borders were part of the GTK theme, and the other ones were made in Metacity, and thus were a separate choice. This was inconsistent. Worse, some newbies got confused between "Window borders" and "Controls". Now things are simpler, without any inconsistencies, and you can be sure you always get a perfect match between window borders and the main GTK theme because, huh, you can't do otherwise, hahaha.

But that's just my personal opinion.

On the negative side, i find my old themes are not working perfectly anymore. I will have to update, sometime later.
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by stefan_o »

Thanks, I see. Is there a simple way to combine two themes together? Or a simple way to edit an existing theme, so I can adjust greybird to have dark window borders?
choochooal
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by choochooal »

I've got a theme, sweet amber, that works up to a point to change the min/max/close buttons. It has the metacity folder but if I remove it, it still works.
I'm digging into it to try to figure out what part is doing the job. There is an assets folder in the main directory and all the needed icons are there, and in the gtk3-0/gtk.css file they are coded. But I just can't separate them and put them in my own custom theme.

I'll probably get it, but I know it will be painful.
Linux Mint 20.2 Cinnamon 64-bit. Dual boot with Windows 10
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sebastjava
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by sebastjava »

choochooal wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:46 pm
I'll probably get it, but I know it will be painful.
It could possibly be a bit less painful, and a bit more fun, if you get some nice and powerful tools.

Check this: Technical documentation here in this forum.
And, in that same thread, my links to WidgetFactory: viewtopic.php?p=2163767#p2163767

That's a good place to start. Next, you can explore every front end GTK on every application using the GTK inspector:
https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/GTK/Inspector

Now that all window borders are just a part of the GTK theme, i guess you could find all the CSS selectors you need using this GTK inspector?

Also, you can do some quick experiments in ~/.themes, without going sudo all the time... But you may have to logout and login for each try... Much better, you can also make instant testing directly in the WidgetFactory inspector, under the CSS tab...
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by Cosmo. »

sebastjava wrote:
Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:47 pm
stefan_o wrote:
Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:27 pm
You cannot set individual themes for window borders and controls anymore.
That's right. That's because Metacity is gone. All the window borders are now created with GTK, and they are part of the main GTK theme, i.e. "Controls".
You can still change borders and controls between Mint-Y and Mint-X. What you can not in LM 21 is to change them independently. The switch to GTK does not explain, why the separate setting is not more possible.
Mint-Y for borders makes much sense, because only this theme provides a maximize button, which changes its shape depending if the window is maximized or not. On the other site the Mint-Y theme for controls looks terrible (of course such a opinion is always subjective). I don't see a valid reason, why the user cannot choose on the one side the Y borders and on the same time the X controls.

So this is the second regression in LM 21 and pitifully also not documented.

That gives: Mint 20.3 (Cinnamon) is superior to LM 21.
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by sebastjava »

Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my explanation...
Cosmo. wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:56 am
You can still change borders and controls between Mint-Y and Mint-X.
Of course, yes, nobody said you can't do that...
Cosmo. wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:56 am
What you can not in LM 21 is to change them independently. The switch to GTK does not explain, why the separate setting is not more possible.
As said before, all the window borders coding is now just a part of the main gtk.css file. In other words, all the window borders are now just a part of the main GTK theme, i.e. the "Controls". I'm not a programmer, but I can imagine it would be difficult to make the window borders a separate choice from the controls choice. They are both in the same file, if I got this correctly. Well, at least for the Mint-Y case. And the metacity directory is still there for, huh, retro-compatibility, I guess!? I can't be sure I understood all this right, I am not into LinuxMint 21, yet.

And to sum up the design issues on this, let me give you an example, again. Before, on LM 20.x, you could choose Mint-Y for controls, and Mint-X for window borders. I am not sure that was so good... You ended up with Mint-X window borders on your text editor, and Mint-Y window borders on your calculator, for example. On the same screen at the same time! That was very inconsistent, IMHO. Now, on LM 21, things are just made simpler and better.
Cosmo. wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:56 am
On the other site the Mint-Y theme for controls looks terrible (of course such a opinion is always subjective).
I appreciate seeing only the essentials, not too many details. It's zen, relaxing. And I want perfectly white backgrounds: #FFFFFF.

But I somewhat understand the objections of some users. This "flat design" is so flat, it's almost "zero design". I would like to move towards material design, or something else. I certainly don't want to go back to a Mint-X that is too detailed and too gray. But I dream of a "flat design" that would be just a little less "flat"...

● ● ●
By the way, on a more personal note, I'm still waiting for some fixes before I install LinuxMint Cinnamon 21... So all I'm saying here is just my personal assumptions and opinions, as I haven't started to look seriously into this LM 21 yet.
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by Cosmo. »

sebastjava wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:00 am
And to sum up the design issues on this, let me give you an example, again. Before, on LM 20.x, you could choose Mint-Y for controls, and Mint-X for window borders. I am not sure that was so good... You ended up with Mint-X window borders on your text editor, and Mint-Y window borders on your calculator, for example. On the same screen at the same time! That was very inconsistent, IMHO. Now, on LM 21, things are just made simpler and better.
I do it in LM 20.3 the other way round: Mint-Y for border, Mint-X for controls and it works perfectly. (Apart from the not existing color choice for better distinctness of active / inactive windows, but that does not belong to here.) I cannot see anything inconsistent.

Another point is: From the perspective of a user the case is simply this: LM 21 allows fewer accommodations than 20.3. A user does not ask for the code, but for the result. And fewer means: regression. The topic here is not the only regression in Cinnamon 5.4.9.

Fact is, that the new Cinnamon reduces the anyway not so great adaptability further more. I belong to the older people and therefor I suffer from reduced eyesight. That makes, that the regression is serious for me. This is not disputable, because my eyesight cannot get discussed to something better.
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by sebastjava »

Cosmo. wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:14 pm
I do it in LM 20.3 the other way round: Mint-Y for border, Mint-X for controls and it works perfectly. (Apart from the not existing color choice for better distinctness of active / inactive windows, but that does not belong to here.) I cannot see anything inconsistent.
Okay. So, I tried it your way: Mint-Y for border, Mint-X for controls:
Mint-Y-Mint-X (click to enlarge)
Mint-Y-Mint-X (click to enlarge)

See? I get Mint-Y window borders on the cinnamon-settings themes, while my calculator gets Mint-X window borders instead. That is what I call "inconsistent", or "incoherent". IMHO, this is not perfect. And this is just one example amongst many others.

But you could say this is just a subtle design preference of mine, and I am just being too perfectionist. But now, imagine you'd want Mint-Y-Legacy-Dark borders combined with Mint-X controls:
Mint-Y-Legacy-Dark-Mint-X (click to enlarge)
Mint-Y-Legacy-Dark-Mint-X (click to enlarge)

That's quite incoherent...


Anyway, I was just talking from a designer perspective, but the LinuxMint root team was probably more concerned about the system evolution. They had to migrate to a new window manager called Mutter. This implies that now all the window borders are based on GTK. So, I guess it was a logical choice to group all the window borders and controls into just one big GTK theme. Some window borders were already done that way anyway. That is AFAIK... I haven't done much on LM 21 yet, so this is still a bit abstract to me.

As for your reduced eyesight issue, i agree we could dream of a Mint-Z theme that would combine different qualities such as being nice, readable, understandable, and where things would not always necessarily be as small and low contrast as possible... :)
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by Cosmo. »

sebastjava, I see, what you mean.
But the problem is, that I did in my previous description a mistake. I use Mint-X not for controls, but for icons. Sorry for that. (Small excuse: What in the past has been named as Controls is now named Applications; additionally comes the difficulty by translating back and forth.)

I add a screenshot, where you can see my theme settings and the result with the calculator.
Bildschirmfoto vom 2022-08-04 21-56-54.png
(The mouse theme is a custom one, but should not matter for the rest.)

You see, that the combination of Y borders and X icons does not give a problem, also no inconsistency. The LM 21 problem is the inability to set both differently, although also with the new window manager both themes are obviously doable for both parts.

To make it easier for you to interpret my picture I give you some translations:
Fensterrahmen = Window border
Symbole = Icons
Steuerung = Controls
Mauszeiger = Mouse Pointer
Schreibtisch = Desktop

(In LM 21: Applications = Anwendungen)
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by sebastjava »

Cosmo. wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:26 pm
You see, that the combination of Y borders and X icons does not give a problem, also no inconsistency. The LM 21 problem is the inability to set both differently, although also with the new window manager both themes are obviously doable for both parts.
No problem. You can get exactly what you want:
Window Borders and Controls = Applications: Mint-Y
Icons: Mint-X

I have LM Cinnamon 21 on VirtualBox. I can test everything in there. I have installed the official release and the system is all up-to-date. So, here is a screenshot showing how everything works perfectly for you:

LM21-Icons-Apps (click to enlarge)
LM21-Icons-Apps (click to enlarge)

Oops! Well, no, things are not perfect. In fact, I got totally puzzled, buzzed when trying this screenshot.

The thing is... I still get that issue of a different set of minimize-maximize-close buttons for different windows. But now, obviously, that's not because i choose different themes for Window Borders and Controls, as I just can't make this mistake anymore, it's now all in that same Applications theme. So, where does that problem comes from? From choosing Mint-X as my icon theme. The icon theme you choose causes some window borders to be different. That's new to me. I think this is... not normal. I am totally confused, puzzled, buzzed. I better go back into the non-virtual world to catch up on my household cleaning for a while... :)
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by Cosmo. »

sebastjava wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 6:34 pm
From choosing Mint-X as my icon theme. The icon theme you choose causes some window borders to be different.
In 20.3 this is not the case, as my screenshot shows. In 21 this is so, because of the compulsory combination of icon and border theme. And that is actually my complaint, which I name a regression.

For getting in 21 the superior Y-border icons for the title bar I have to accept the ...(not publishable words)... Y-icons in the menu and in the panel-launcher (I use the classical design).
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by sebastjava »

I hope I don't sound too stubborn to you. I find this is a bit complicated and confusing. I am not sure I got it all right. And yes, as you were saying, there could be some possible translation issues on top of that: German <-> English <-> French... :)

To sum up my way of seeing this, I say you should be able to get exactly what you wanted. You wrote it, and you posted this screenshot, up here.

You want:
Window borders: Mint-Y
Icons: Mint-X-Aqua
Controls: Mint-Y-Aqua
Mouse Pointer: lil-polar (?)
Desktop: Mint-Y-Dark-Aqua

In LM 21, this should translate into:
Icons: Mint-X-Aqua
Applications: Mint-Y-Aqua (Applications = Window borders + Controls)
Mouse Pointer: lil-polar (?)
Desktop: Mint-Y-Dark-Aqua

Sooo... I had started writing a positive and triumphant reply, demonstrating you can still get exactly what you want, on LM 21, and was posting screenshots from my LM 21 install on VM. To prove this. But then... I found a bug.

So, I agree with you. You can't get what you want, on LM 21. But I say that's not because of some GUI limitation. This rather looks like a bug, IMHO. The way I see it, just by looking at the cinnamon-settings themes GUI, LM 21 version, you should be able to select Mint-Y for Applications (i.e. window borders and controls), and Mint-X for icons. Independently. (LM-21-screenshot)

I don't know. Maybe i am just having some trouble understanding. I find it strange that I can choose Mint-X for Icons, and Mint-Y for all the rest, but then my choice of icons alters the window borders. But not all window borders, just some of them... :?

Anyway, I opened an issue on GitHub about this: LM Cinnamon 21 minimize-maximize-close buttons are not the same for all windows when choosing the icon theme Just hoping someone will eventually tell me if this is a bug of some new feature I just can't understand...
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by Cosmo. »

sebastjava wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:58 am
But I say that's not because of some GUI limitation. This rather looks like a bug, IMHO.
Isn't a regression not also a bug?
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by sebastjava »

Cosmo. wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:22 am
Isn't a regression not also a bug?
In developer's terms, yes. "Regression" refers to something that was previously working fine, and then got broken after some update. "Regression" = new bug.

But here I was talking about a "GUI limitation". The themes chooser (cinnamon-settings themes) in LM 21 now offers only 4 different drop-down menus to choose from, instead of the 5 drop-down menus you had on LM 20.x In my opinion this is not a bug, but a choice made by the team. And this choice is a design choice, but it is also based on the need to move to a new window manager called Mutter, AFAIK.

But here we digress slightly from the OP. Invading stefan_o's OP with our discussions. Sorry about that. :) But, hey, this is kind of related. Just not exactly the same.

To sum up, I thought this "GUI limitation", this downsizing from 5 categories to 4 categories to choose from, I thought this would not affect you. I thought you could still get the exact same look that you prefer. But then I found out, aside from this "GUI limitation", that there is also a new bug. So, yes, you can call this a regression.

In LM 21, amongst many other things, some good, some bad, amongst all these there is this GUI downsizing. I think this is better, IMHO. But, aside from this downsizing described here in the OP, there is also what seems to be a new bug, IMHO. And, yes, that is a regression, IMHO.
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Re: Different themes for window borders / controls in LM Cinnamon 21

Post by Cosmo. »

sebastjava wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:09 pm
In LM 21, amongst many other things, some good
Except the wallpapers I did not find any.
sebastjava wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:09 pm
But here we digress slightly from the OP.
You are right, I stop here.
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