Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.


WebUpd8 reader Lu Wang sent us an email about a beautiful (and very popular) color theme for various applications called "Solarized".

Solarized comes with both light and dark colorschemes and what makes it so special is that the contrast is "low in lightness but the colors are still well distinguishable due to the different hue values used" says Lu Wang. But that's of not all. Check out the Solarized homepage for a lot more info and screenshots.

There are Solarized color schemes available for many applications: Vim, Emacs, IntelliJ IDEA, Netbeans, Mutt, GIMP and more. Below I'll tell you how to set up Solarized for Gnome Terminal (and Guake) as well as Gedit.

Here are some light/dark Solarized theme screenshots for Gedit and Gnome Terminal:

Solarized light

Solarized dark

Set up Solarized for Gnome Terminal and Guake

To install get a `fix` for "ls", open a terminal and copy/paste the following commands:

- Solarized Dark:
wget --no-check-certificate https://raw.github.com/seebi/dircolors-solarized/master/dircolors.ansi-dark
mv dircolors.ansi-dark .dircolors
eval `dircolors ~/.dircolors`
-Solarized Light:
wget --no-check-certificate https://raw.github.com/seebi/dircolors-solarized/master/dircolors.ansi-light
mv dircolors.ansi-light .dircolors
eval `dircolors ~/.dircolors`

Then, set up Solarized for GNOME Terminal:
sudo apt-get install git-core
git clone https://github.com/sigurdga/gnome-terminal-colors-solarized.git
cd gnome-terminal-colors-solarized

And now you can set it to light or dark using the following commands:

And for Guake:
git clone https://github.com/coolwanglu/guake-colors-solarized.git
cd guake-colors-solarized

And use ./set_light.sh and ./set_dark.sh to set the color scheme.

Note: for Gnome Terminal in Ubuntu 11.04, I've also had to edit some settings to remove the transparency: Edit > Profile Preferences, on the "Background" tab uncheck "Use background settings from system theme" and then select "Solid color".

Solarized for Gedit

The (unofficial yet) Solarized Gedit themes are still work in progress but you can install them already. Download Solarized for Gedit: light | dark

To install them, in Gedit select Edit > Preferences, go to the "Fonts & Colors" tab, select "Add" and browse for the light/dark Solarized themes you've downloaded.

Update: There's another Solarized color scheme for Gedit HERE which uses more orange (it basically uses the same colors but differently) so check out this one too. Here's how the Gedit Solarized alternative looks:

Solarized gedit


Want Solarized color schemes for other applications? Check out the links below:

Many thanks to Lu Wang for the info!