I recently upgraded from 11.04 to 11.10 and I am running gnome-session-fallback.

Everything is working perfectly fine for me except that in the workspace switcher at the bottom left there is no white border around the active workspace. Non-minimized windows in workspaces appear as white boxes inside the workspace, and a maximized window will appear as a white box (although without the program icon inside as I am used to with programs such as eclipse and firefox). The active window does have a very slight glow inside it, but if your active window is small (e.g. a terminal window, calculator, nautilus, upgrade-manager, etc) it is difficult to discern this as the borders don't change, the interior of the box just gets a shade lighter.

There is no indication at all of which workspace you are on and I'd like to restore this functionality as currently there is no way to differentiate between maximized windows (as both the program icon and the active workspace highlight functionalities are gone).

enter image description here

This shows an image of my workspace switcher. When this was taken I was on workspace 4. Firefox was open full-screen in workspace 1 and eclipse was open full-screen in workspace 2 with a VM in a small window on top of it. As you can see there is no indication that you are currently on workspace 4.

Does anyone know how to restore either the white border around the currently active workspace or the program icon inside maximized windows in the workspace switcher (or both)?

2 Answers 2


This is a known bug affecting the Radiance and Ambiance themes on gnome-fallback-session on 11.10.


  • Press Alt+F2, type

    gksudo gedit /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/apps/gnome-panel.css

  • The first line will say: /* Fallback Mode Panel */
  • Add the following 4 lines after it:

    *:selected {
    background-color: @selected_bg_color;
    color: @selected_color;
  • It will look like the following:

    enter image description here

  • Do the same for the Radiance theme, with

    gksudo gedit /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/apps/gnome-panel.css

  • Logout and log back in.


enter image description here

  • Notice the active workspace is highlighted orange for Ambiance (color may vary for Radiance).

  • Couldn't find anything about showing icons for maximized applications, sorry.


This is a problem with the default ambiance theme that does not really work well with gnome-classic in 11.10.

Note - this is fixed in 12.04.

If you switch to adwaita you'll see that the workspace switcher highlights the current workspace correctly:

enter image description here

The image shows my current workspace is workspace 2.

If you don't like Adwaita - try another theme such as Zukini.

Linked Question:

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