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Here are two applications that use tabs: gedit and gnome-terminal

  • gedit: It is relatively easy to see which document is being edited
  • terminal: It is difficult to tell whether I am using the left or right terminal, because both of the tabs are very dark.

Dark tabs

Is it me having bad eyes, or the choice of colors is questionable here?
I tried all settings in the gnome-terminal application, to no avail.

I am using the "Ambiance" appearance, which is default. In "Customize theme", I tried to change the "controls" setting to "Radiance", it solves the problem but it also turns the indicators bar to silver, which does not fit with the launcher's dark background.

Gnome-terminal users, how are you dealing with this problem?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Since things have changed a bit in 11.10 and editing gtkrc (which worked in 11.04) may not be relevant, here's what I did to improve contrast between the active and inactive tabs in gedit:
I opened /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/gtk-widgets.css and in the section titled with ".notebook tab", I replaced

background-image: -gtk-gradient (linear, left top, left bottom,
                                 from (shade (@bg_color, 0.97)),
                                 color-stop (0.80, shade (@bg_color, 0.95)),
                                 to (shade (@bg_color, 0.92)));


background-color: #222222

One will obviously use a suitable color in place of #222222. It's also possible to just tweak the values after "bg_color" and retain a gradient effect for what it's worth.

Please note that I'm using a laptop (Dell Inspiron 1545) and I don't know about how this will work on desktops or other devices.

On my kit, it also gives nice contrast in the terminal.

Edit: this workaround is valid for 12.04 for both gnome terminal and gedit.

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It might be better to override the style/CSS in your user profile, instead of replacing it in the system file. See this answer: – blueyed Nov 10 '13 at 14:11

There is already a bug report for this, please mark it as important to you as well:

The workaround is described here: How to make selected tab in terminal more prominent

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I found an even better fitting bug (in light-themes): – Christoph May 31 '11 at 11:29
Thanks! I subscribed to the bug. The workaround works perfectly! – Nicolas Raoul May 31 '11 at 14:34

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