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No matter what I use, e.g. gtk-ctheme, and the other apps availible in the repos, gtk applications running under Awesome WM stay ugly.

The same apps look fine when I use unity.

Any thoughts?

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Did you try to start gnome-settings-daemon ? –  user49503 Mar 6 '12 at 23:09
    
Possible duplicate? askubuntu.com/questions/82095/… –  fossfreedom Mar 6 '12 at 23:12
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2 Answers

Try installing lxappearance

sudo apt-get install lxappearance

screenshot

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You can edit the gtk config files, like described here http://awesome.naquadah.org/wiki/Customizing_GTK_Apps

lxappearance works fine too, but if you can't get it done with gtk-ctheme then it probably doesn't work for you either

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