Wednesday, 26 October 2011

How-to: Change Icon Theme Ubuntu 11.10


Change icon set using Dconf-editorIn yet another frankly dumb-ass move, Canonical stripped out the controls in Ubuntu 11.10 to allow you to change icon sets independently of your desktop theme. Yet more ability to customize your system taken away. WHY???!!!

It's not like this is something that is going to break your system (unlike the utterly stupid inclusion of system janitor by default -  good riddance to that one).

So the among the first things you'll want to do is restore some lost functionality now that Appearance Properties have been dropped in Ubuntu 11.10 and the System Settings doesn't support a change the icon theme.


The Gnome Tweak-UI Tool is still an option except for dependencies on some Gnome Shell-related libraries which makes things messier than they should be.

I'm trying Dconf-editor (formerly gconf-editor) as a tool to adjust  Ubuntu configuration settings, although I'm still asking why I need an extra utility to perform a simple task such as changing an icon theme!!

Install Dconf-editor
Search on Dconf-editor in Software Center or revert to the command line using:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Change the icon theme in Dconf-editor
  • Launch dconf-editor from a command line, search in the Dash or using the alt-f2 run line.
  • Select org, Gnome, Desktop, Interface
  • Enter the name of your desired icon theme into the value field "icon-theme." Type carefully and remember this is case-sensitive.
  • If you don't know the exact name of your icon theme, go to /usr/share/icons where you can copy the Folder names for installed icon sets.
In Conclusion
Given this is an ad-hoc evolution of an administrator tool, it's not exactly mine of information or user friendliness, but then Dconf-editor wasn't designed as an end-user tool. Although in the right pane below each group of values, you get a description of how it applies, even then you have to know the name of the icon set to edit in.

Just the need to do this to achieve a basic task prompts me to quote my podcast pal Dave Wilkins, "this is madness!"  RC