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Emerald Window Decorator development may have stopped and the package is no longer available in the Ubuntu repositories for a few releases, but there are users who want to continue using it, so to make it easier to install, I uploaded Emerald to the main WebUpd8 PPA, for Ubuntu 13.10, 13.04, 12.10 and 12.04.

Emerald is a window decorator for Compiz that allows full composite window decorations. There are many themes out there that come with frames, titlebars, buttons and so on that you won't see in other window decorators, this being the main reason why Emerald was so popular a while back. Emerald is also highly customizable.

Because it requires Compiz, Emerald doesn't work in GNOME Shell, but it should work with Unity (3D), GNOME Classic with Compiz or Xfce with Compiz for instance.

Here are a few of the many Emerald themes available on Gnome-Look, DeviantArt and so on:

HalfTime Emerald theme

Emerald themes
Divergence IV "A New Hope" Emerald theme


Emerald themes
Radial Emerald theme

Emerald themes
LittleGlass Emerald theme

Emerald Themes
Dark glass with Ambiance buttons Emerald theme

Emerald themes
Ordinary Emerald theme

The themes can be tweaked using Emerald Theme Manager, which allows you to change the borders size, shadows, titlebar font and alignment and so on. For instance, the LittleGlass theme above has some pretty large shadows so I've used the Emerald Theme Manager to change them - under Edit Themes > Frame/Shadows tab. You can also move the window buttons from/to left/right, as long as the theme aspect allows it - more about this, HERE.


Install Emerald Window Decorator in Ubuntu 13.10, 13.04, 12.10 or 12.04


Emerald is available in the main WebUpd8 PPA, which is a general PPA with some other packages as well. If you don't like that, you can compile Emerald from source or add the PPA, install Emerald, then remove the PPA.

Also, please keep in mind that Emerald Window Decorator is no longer developed / supported and while I've tested it for about two days in Ubuntu 13.04 (as well as some brief testing under Ubuntu 12.10 and 12.04 in VirtualBox) and I didn't encounter any issues, there might be bugs or it may not work at all.

That said, let's proceed with the Emerald installation:

1. To add the main WebUpd8 PPA and install Emerald Window Decorator in Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.04 or 13.10, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install emerald


2. Once installed, get some Emerald themes via Gnome Look, DeviantArt and so on and install them using Emerald Theme Manager: either select "Import" and browse for the .emerald file or simply double click an .emerald theme file and Emerald Theme Manager should install the theme. There are no Emerald themes installed by default so make sure you've installed at least one before proceeding with the next step.

3. Start Emerald (this will replace your current window decorations) by pressing ALT + F2 and entering: "emerald --replace" (without the quotes).


4. To continue using Emerald after a logout / restart, install CompizConfig Settings Manager:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Then open CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM), click the "Window Decoration" plugin and under "Command", enter: "emerald" (without the quotes):

CCSM Emerald

That's it!

Important: if after changing the theme in Emerald  Theme Manager, the window decorations theme doesn't change, restart Emerald using "emerald --replace".



Reverting the changes


If you want to go back to the default window decorator, open CompizConfig Settings Manager, click the "Window Decoration" plugin again and next to "Command", click the reset button on the right:

CCSM Emerald reset window decoration

Then log out and log back in. You can also remove Emerald if you want, but make sure you don't remove it before you reset the CCSM Window Decoration command as explained above:
sudo apt-get remove emerald
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