I tried gnome-shell out recently, and since the ambiance theme just looks plain ugly on it, I used gnome-tweak-tools to change the window and gtk theme to Adwaita.

So, after that, I went back to unity and obviously changed it back to Ambiance, still using gnome-tweak-tools.

Now, in certain apps, I find white space between the window borders and content. Due to my limited English, I won't be able to properly describe what happened, so I guess I'm just going to show it using a screenshot.

enter image description here

It's like, nothing that bad. But it just looks so ugly.

So, can anyone help me?

I'm on ubuntu 12.04 also.

  • Did you reboot or at least log out and log in again? Sometimes, that helps. Also, is it just the gtk3 apps or just the gtk2 apps or does the white space appear for both? – user25656 Jul 2 '12 at 18:25
  • @vasa1 I rebooted like 10 times already. And I have no idea how to find out if an app is written in gtk2 or 3, sorry. – tolUene Jul 3 '12 at 13:55
  • Okay. gtk2 ones are browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Opera (that I know). LibreOffice is also gtk2. gtk3 would be things like Nautilus and gedit. One way to know which is which, if you have not uninstalled or turned off the overlay scrollbars is this: gtk3 apps will have the overlay scrollbars. gtk2 apps will have the conventional ones. – user25656 Jul 3 '12 at 14:43
  • @vasa1 Thanks. Then apparently it only happens to gtk3 apps. – tolUene Jul 3 '12 at 15:50
  • What happens if you log into a Unity 2D session? Or, since you have installed Gnome Tweak Tool, you will also have GNOME Classic (no effects). These two don't use compiz. So if you still see the problem in either of these two sessions it may indicate that compiz is not to blame. If the problem does persist when you return to Unity 3D, then you could try running unity --reset from a terminal and a reboot. – user25656 Jul 3 '12 at 16:16

Today after installing Gnome Shell from the Software Center in Ubuntu 12.10 my Ambience and Radiance themes got corrupted as well. I found this post on the Ubuntu Forums which lead me to the solution for the problem.

The problem seems to be that after installing Gnome Shell the default theme is Adwaita (in gnome-tweak-tool). It tells me that Adwaita is the default and before it was Ambiance. And because of this when I select the theme Ambiance some components of Adwaita persist, especially selected items in the menu bar in Gnome Classic appear as gray text on gray background.

I noticed that this, in contrast to what nils8950 said, only happens with GTK2 applications, not with GTK3 applications.

So after reading that Ubuntu Forum post, I looked at the contents of the file ~/.gtkrc-2.0 which is a hidden file in your home directory. The contents of this file looked as follows:

# -- THEME AUTO-WRITTEN BY gtk-theme-switch2 DO NOT EDIT
include "/usr/share/themes/Adwaita/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"
include "/home/serrano/.gtkrc-2.0.mine"
# -- THEME AUTO-WRITTEN BY gtk-theme-switch2 DO NOT EDIT

Which explains the problem. You can see that it loads a theme file for the Adwaita theme. You could simply remove the line that reads include "/usr/share/themes/Adwaita/gtk-2.0/gtkrc" to solve this problem, though the file clearly states DO NOT EDIT. You can see that this file was auto-written by a tool named gtk-theme-switch2. As an alternative, we can simply use that tool to change the theme back to Ambiance. If you don't already have it installed:

sudo apt-get install gtk-theme-switch

Then execute the tool from the terminal:


Select Ambiance from the dropdown menu and press the Apply button. Make sure Ambiance is also selected in gnome-tweak-tool. You may need to restart some applications to see the changes (no need to reboot the system).

  • oh god finally something that works so i don't have to delete .config/dconf every time – Riki137 Apr 15 '16 at 7:39
  • That solved my issues with breeze components being displayed in KDE applications and GIMP among others after installing some KDE apps on 16.04 with Unity. I knew how fix the cursor theme issue, but this was new. Thanks and great background info. – LiveWireBT Feb 17 '17 at 23:52

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