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I have a dark GTK theme installed in my Ubuntu 10.10 install and a persona installed for Firefox that I also like.

The problem is that Firefox is using my dark GTK theme for items like buttons and text fields on common web pages, and this commonly creates unreadable menus, text areas, and buttons. (white text on white backgrounds, or black text on black buttons).

I don't want to change either theme, because they look great in every other application, and I don't want to have to do something crazy to my Firefox install like use custom user scripts or CSS overrides.

All I want to do is tell Firefox to stop using my GTK theme completely. This appears to be what Google's Chrome browser does and it makes the most sense by far.

How can web developers possibly work around all the possible GTK themes out there?

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I wonder if anyone has a permanent solution for this so I can just launch firefox from my Gnome 3 activities tab/window... – MDeSchaepmeester Dec 16 '12 at 14:42
@MDeSchaepmeester: See the answer I added here for KDE, maybe it works for Gnome as well: – Igor Rodriguez Oct 13 '13 at 10:56
There are further solutions, including the one that worked for me, on the related question – JasonMc92 Mar 14 at 22:33
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Start Firefox with one of the following command:

  • GTK3 Firefox 46+: env GTK_THEME=Adwaita:light firefox
  • GTK2 Firefox <46: env GTK2_RC_FILES=/usr/share/themes/Simple/gtk-2.0/gtkrc firefox

This will launch Firefox using the Simple/Adwaita:light theme, which is pretty basic and should blend with your Persona. You can try other themes, by replacing Simple with the theme name, but this doesn't work with all themes.

So far I have successfully tested with Simple and Redmond themes...





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this worked for mw with the 'new wave' and 'redmond' themes only, but it still worked, so I'm very greatful. screenshots are always appreciated, too :) – tamale Oct 21 '10 at 13:56
You are welcome. – lovinglinux Oct 21 '10 at 14:22
this is awesome!!! – RolandiXor Jan 16 '11 at 21:32
What is the most recent version of firefox this is known to work with? I'm using Firefox 31 on Ubuntu Utopic and, I swear this worked for me once, but I must be hallucinating because it is no longer working no matter what I try. – Robru Jul 17 '14 at 23:01
This no longer works with Firefox 46 because of the switch to GTK 3. – Konstantin Pereyaslov May 1 at 13:47

I would like to add to the great answer of @lovinglinux a way to make Firefox to load the theme when opened from a launcher in the taskbar instead of command line:

  1. Edit /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop as sudo,
  2. In the "Exec" line, replace the value after the "=" with a command using the instructions provided by the mentioned @lovinglinux:

    bash -c 'GTK2_RC_FILES=/usr/share/themes/Redmond/gtk-2.0/gtkrc firefox %u' Kate editing firefox.desktop

And the result is this:

Firefox with Redmond theme and all other applications with a dark theme

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Thank you for showing how to modify the .desktop file. That makes it very convenient! I'm using your solution for LibreOffice. – user25656 Dec 30 '13 at 7:11

You could start Firefox with a different user and the same profile. Copy your current profile (~/.mozilla/firefox/profile) to that different user's folder, chown it to the user, and then on your console run:

su newuser
firefox -profilemanager

This sounds a bit overkill, but you can put it into a script. Firefox will use the theme on the profile, but keep the unthemed GTK from the new user.

Also, this is the kind of stuff that makes it fun to use Firefox and Ubuntu :P

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You can add another theme to Firefox that you like from Tools -> Addons -> Themes. Then just use that theme instead of the default one.

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You can't use a different Firefox theme while using Personas – lovinglinux Oct 19 '10 at 20:01
Oh wow, thanks. Did not realize. (Also glad you are here, Firefox users should be helped a great deal! :)) – NightwishFan Oct 19 '10 at 20:04

The best solution to tell Firefox that it should use the light theme instead of the dark is by specifying the GTK_THEME variable prior to launching.

So, 4 ways you get for doing this..

1- from terminal you can do:

GTK_THEME=Adwaita:light firefox

2- if you hate the terminal and wanna close it once firefox works:

GTK_THEME=Adwaita:light firefox &

3- from firefox about:config you can set the following setting to false:


WON'T WORK FOR localhost SITES! so if you are a web developer/designer it won't work out that well for you.

4- if you want this to be the defualt behavior:

Just add two lines to the Firefox launcher script located at /usr/lib/firefox/

in the terminal type down:

sudo gedit /usr/lib/firefox/

look at the beginning of the script for this:



and change it to this:


export GTK_THEME

Finally, restart Firefox.

Hope this helps.

Please help me by voting this up.

Thank you :)

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